Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders Split Pair of Matches at Hampton Inn Drake Invitational
Katie Britton set a new career best with 16 kills against the Islanders. (Ray Acevedo)
Katie Britton set a new career best with 16 kills against the Islanders. (Ray Acevedo)

Friday, September 04, 2009

Valparaiso earned its first victory of the season Friday afternoon in action at the Hampton Inn Drake Invitational, defeating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 3-1 (25-22, 25-19, 22-25, 25-16), but the host Bulldogs swept the Crusaders in the day’s nightcap (25-22, 25-21, 25-12).

The first two sets against the Islanders were both back-and-forth affairs, as the first frame saw 16 ties and six lead changes, while the second contained ten ties and four lead changes.  Valpo never found itself trailing by more than one point in the opening set, but TAMU-CC wouldn’t let the Crusaders post any sort of cushion either, as the two squads tied at every point from 7-7 through 22-22.  Finally, following an Islander attack error, Haley Wise (Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka) posted a service ace to give Valpo a pair of set points, and an Islander error gave the Crusaders the opener.

The second set saw TAMU-CC get out to a three-point edge at 9-6 before Valpo reeled off eight of the next ten points on the strength of six Islander errors and a pair of kills from Katie Britton (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) to take a three-point lead of its own.  The Islanders rallied back to tie the frame at 18 apiece, but that was their last gasp in the frame, as the Crusaders ended the set with an offensive flurry in a 7-1 run to go into the break up two sets.  Amy Groesbeck (Wheaton, Ill./North) registered a pair of kills during the set-ending spurt, while Britton, Kim Bukowski (Waukesha, Wis./West) and Angie Porché (Lynwood, Ill./Thornton Fractional South) each picked up a termination.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi held the lead the entire third set, and while two kills by Katie Layman (LaPorte, Ind./New Prairie) sandwiched one by Groesbeck in a three-point spurt to bring Valpo back to within 22-21, the Islanders scored three of the final four points to send the match to a fourth set.  But the final frame was controlled by the Crusaders, especially following a run keyed by Jenny Pokorny (Geneva, Ill./Geneva), who picked up two assists, a kill and a solo block during a 5-0 run that put Valpo ahead 14-9.  Later in the set, with Valpo up 18-14, Porché recorded a kill to give the Crusaders the serve and Taylor Root (Jenison, Mich./Jenison) took advantage, picking up a pair of aces during her serving run to help cinch the match for Valpo.

Three Crusaders reached double figures in kills, led by Britton, who picked up 16 kills, reaching a new career-best for the second straight match.  Porché added 14 kills on .393 hitting and also posted 12 digs for a double-double, while Groesbeck also set a new career best with 12 kills.

In addition, Bukowski set a new career high in the kills category, putting down seven balls on just 12 attacks.  The senior setter also handed out 43 assists as the Crusader offense swung at a .281 clip for the match.  Defensively, Root tied for team-high honors along with Porché with 12 digs, while Valpo registered five blocks as a squad, including four of the solo variety.

“It was good just to get back on the court after last weekend, and I thought we played really well,” said Crusader head coach Carin Avery.  “Texas A&M-Corpus Christi handled the ball well and had two good outside hitters, but by the end of the match, we were able to contain them.  We made some really good adjustments as the match went on.”

Emma Ridley led all players with 22 kills for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (3-2), while Jessica Korda chipped in 14 kills.  Kandyce Nelson led the Islanders on the back line with 16 digs.

The evening match was not as kind to the Crusaders, as they hit just .058 on the match to Drake’s .231 clip as the host Bulldogs came out with the sweep.  In the first set, Valpo rallied back from a 16-12 deficit to take a lead late in the set, but Drake scored five of the final six points of the frame to take the lead.  The Bulldogs held a slim lead for most of the second set before pulling away by scoring seven of the last 11 points, and got out to a 15-3 lead in the third en route to the sweep.

No Crusader reached double figures in kills against Drake, as Porché’s nine terminations paced Valpo, marking the first time since midway through her sophomore year that the senior has failed to reach double figures in the category.  Root tied for match-high honors with 12 digs.  Emily Heffernen registered nine kills and was in on eight blocks for Drake (4-2).

“Drake did a very good job of taking us out of our comfort zone,” said Avery.  “They knew we came in as an outside-dominant team, with over half our points coming on the outside, and they were great at taking that away from us.  We didn’t do a good job adapting; we needed to find different ways to score pts, but weren’t able to do that.  On the bright side, our serve receive was pretty good all match, but now we need to focus on our attacking and blocking, which need to improve in order for us to win matches.”

Valparaiso (1-3) closes out play in Des Moines with a pair of matches tomorrow.  The Crusaders will face South Dakota at 11 a.m. and conclude with Centenary at 3 p.m.  All the action can be heard live on WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso and online at www.valpoathletics.com.

W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. #21/21 Notre Dame
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay