For the second time in less than 24 hours, Valparaiso earned a hard-fought road victory in Horizon League play, defeating Butler 3-1 (30-20, 16-30, 30-27, 30-27) Saturday afternoon in Indianapolis, Ind. With the victory, the Crusaders find themselves alone in first place in the League standings.
“Again, it was another not-so-pretty performance by us,” said Crusader head coach Carin Avery. “But when we needed the big points, we were able to execute, which allowed us to win the match. It’s nice to see us coming away with victories when we have so many people affected by injuries or illness, that they’re still able to perform.”
The Crusaders cruised to victory in the opening game, hitting at a .225 clip while holding Butler to .065 hitting. The second game was a much different story, as the Bulldogs registered 10 blocks in the game on their way to tying the match up at a game apiece.
Games three and four were similar in nature, as the two squads combined for 18 ties and 11 lead changes over the two games. Butler held a 21-17 lead in the third game as it looked to take the lead, but the Crusaders used an 11-4 spurt, including three kills from Angie Porché (Lynwood, Ill./Thornton Fractional South) to take control and go up two games to one. Game four was tied at 17 before Valpo scored seven of the next 10 points, getting four kills during the run from Val Bollenbacher (Bremen, Ind./Bremen). Butler closed back to within two points three times, but the Crusaders ended the match on their second match point with a kill from Bollenbacher.
Porché paced the Crusader offense with 20 kills on .261 hitting, the second straight match she has reached the 20-kill plateau. The sophomore also led Valpo on the back row with 18 digs and added five blocks. Bollenbacher posted 12 kills in the win, while Jill Meyer (Crystal Lake, Ill./South) and Tara Newton (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) added nine apiece.
“It was great to see another good defensive output from Angie,” said Avery. “Not only is she leading us offensively, but she’s also taking charge defensively and forming herself into a very complete player.”
Kim Bukowski (Waukesha, Wis./West), who earned the start at setter after her superb performance Friday night at Wright State, dished out 47 assists running the Valpo offense. Katie Layman (LaPorte, Ind./New Prairie) led the Crusader defense at the net with six blocks, while Brittany Malicoat (Elkhart, Ind./Memorial) supplemented Porché’s play on the back line with 14 digs.
The Crusaders overcame a triple-double by Butler’s Michelle DeGeeter, who recorded 10 kills, 10 digs and 10 blocks in the losing effort. Porshia Allen paced the Butler (8-8, 2-3 Horizon) offense with 11 kills, while Nina Inic posted 16 digs.
Valparaiso (13-3, 4-0 Horizon) puts its perfect League record on the line Tuesday evening at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The Crusaders will host Cleveland State with first serve slated for 7 p.m. Live audio, video and statistics can all be found at www.valpo.edu/athletics.