Crusaders Look to Continue Hot Start at adidas Classic
Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Weekly Game Notes

Valparaiso at Indiana - Friday, Sept. 5 - 11:30 a.m. CDT  [Live Stats]  [Audio]
Valparaiso vs. Louisville - Friday, Sept. 5 - 4:30 p.m.  [Live Stats]  [Audio]
Valparaiso vs. Wake Forest - Saturday, Sept. 6 - 11:30 a.m.  [Live Stats]  [Audio]

This Weekend’s Action: After starting 3-0 for just the fourth time in program history en route to winning the Shamrock Invitational in Notre  Dame, Ind., the Crusaders face another tough task this weekend, as they travel to Bloomington, Ind. to take part in the adidas Classic, where they will face Louisville and Wake Forest in addition to the host Hoosiers.

Wrapping Up Last Weekend: Valparaiso took the Shamrock Invitational title in Notre Dame, Ind., sweeping Nevada 3-0, defeating IPFW 3-1 and taking down the host Fighting Irish 3-1.  Angie Porché was named the tournament MVP after posting 57 kills and 35 digs over the three matches, while Brittany Malicoat and Allison Sears joined Porché on the All-Tournament team.

The Matchups:  Indiana has defeated Valparaiso in each of the squads’ three previous matchups, including last year at the ARC on Sept. 7, 2007 as part of the Popcorn Classic, when the Hoosiers swept the Crusaders (30-22, 30-23, 30-25).  The Hoosiers sported a balanced offense, as six players tallied at least five kills, while Valpo was paced by 13 kills apiece from Angie Porché and Allison Sears.

Louisville bounced back from a first-set loss to beat Valpo, 3-1 (8-15, 15-6, 15-7, 15-6) on Nov. 5, 1987 at the ARC in the only prior meeting between the two programs.  The Cardinals got 12 kills from Nancy Benge,  while the Crusaders’ Jenny Duncan led all players with 15 kills.

The Crusaders hit a sizzling .478 in the first set and rode the momentum all the way to a sweep (15-5, 17-15, 15-7) of Wake Forest on Sept. 6, 1996 at the Bobcat Invitational in the only meeting between the two teams.  Cheri Hughes led all players with 13 kills and picked up 12 digs for the double-double, while Laura Kulans posted a match-high 18 digs.

Following the Crusaders:  WVUR (95.1 FM - Valparaiso) will be broadcasting all three of this weekend’s matches from the adidas Classic.  Adam Amin will have the play-by-play while Michelle Niehaus will provide color analysis.  If you’re not in the Valparaiso area, you can listen live online to all three matches at, which will also have links to live stats for each of the Crusaders’ contests this weekend.

Capturing Tournament Gold: Valparaiso’s win over Notre Dame on Sunday secured the championship of the Shamrock Invitational for the Crusaders.  It marked Valpo’s first in-season tournament title since taking the 2006 Miami Thanksgiving Invitational.  In Carin Avery’s seven seasons at the helm, the Crusaders have now won 11 in-season tournament championships.

History Repeating Itself: The win over Notre Dame was just Valpo’s second against the Fighting Irish since moving to Division I, and came just one week shy of the four-year anniversary of the first-such win.  Avery led her Crusaders into the Joyce Center on Sept. 7, 2004 and Valpo came out with a 3-2 victory that night.

Elite Company: With their win Sunday, the Crusaders became one of just two teams to earn multiple wins over Notre Dame at the Joyce Center since the start of the 2004 campaign.  Only Nebraska has also won twice on the Irish’s home court during that time span, as the Cornhuskers defeated Notre Dame on back-to-back nights on Sept. 3-4, 2004.

150: Valpo’s win over the Fighting Irish also marked another milestone for Carin Avery.  Avery earned her 150th victory at the helm of the Crusaders with the 3-0 weekend, and now sports a 150-55 (.732) record on the Valpo sideline.

2004 Redux, Part 2: Notre Dame wasn’t the only opponent that Valpo had been unable to conquer in the last four years that fell at the hands of the Crusaders this past weekend.  IPFW, which had dropped just one set to Valpo in the past three years, lost to the Crusaders Saturday evening, 3-1, in Valpo’s second match of the Shamrock Invitational.  The victory was the first over the Mastodons since 1982 in a road/neutral-site contest by the Crusaders.

Tabbed Second: Valparaiso has been projected to finish second in the Horizon League this season in preseason polling of the league’s nine head coaches.  Cleveland State, last year’s tournament champion, was a unanimous selection to capture the league crown.  Following the Crusaders were Milwaukee, UIC, and Butler.  Youngstown State was placed sixth, while Wright State, Loyola and Green Bay rounded out the polling.

Know Your Rules: The NCAA Women’s Volleyball Rules Committee and the Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a number of rule changes prior to the 2008 season.  The most visible of the rule changes will be the following:
- The term “game” will be changed to “set”
- Sets one through four will now be contested to 25 (previously 30) points
- The maximum number of substiutions will now be 12 (previously 15) per set

Picking Up Where She Left Off: Junior outside hitter Angie Porché became the first player in Crusader volleyball history to earn All-American honors last season, and has begun the 2008 campaign with a bang as well, earning Shamrock Invitational MVP honors as well as being named the Horizon League’s Offensive Player of the Week.  Porché began the week with a 13-kill, ten-dig performance in Valpo’s sweep of Nevada, and followed with 18 kills on .371 hitting to go with four aces and 15 digs in the win over IPFW.  Against the host Fighting Irish, the junior tallied 26 kills on 58 swings, matching the fifth-most kills in a four-set match all-time at Valpo, and registered ten digs as well to pick up her third straight double-double to open the season.

Digging Deep: Senior libero Brittany Malicoat, the 2007 Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year, started the season steady as always in the back line for the Crusaders and was named to the Shamrock Invitational All-Tournament squad.  Malicoat led all players with 13 digs against Nevada and 24 versus Notre Dame, and also picked up 14 in Valpo’s win over IPFW, extending her streak of matches with at least ten digs to 54.  For the week, Malicoat averaged 4.64 digs/set, and moved within 148 of Sara Silcox’s career record in the category.

Back in the Middle: Coming off of a season-ending injury suffered in mid-September last year, senior middle hitter Allison Sears stepped back onto the court at the Shamrock Invitational and immediately made her presence felt, earning All-Tournament accolades.  Sears struggled in Valpo’s first match against Nevada, but posted 14 kills on .312 hitting versus IPFW and 13 kills on .276 in the win over Notre Dame.

Setting the Pace: Junior setter Kim Bukowski, Valpo’s most experienced player at the position entering the 2008 season, showcased her ability at the Shamrock Invitational, starting all three matches and handing out 127 assists as the Crusaders’ offense hit at a .227 clip.  Bukowski also shone defensively against the Fighting Irish, picking up a career-high 15 digs in the four-set win.