Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders Open League Play With Sweep at Youngstown State
Amy Groesbeck posted a career-high 19 kills on .455 hitting Friday. (Ray Acevedo)
Amy Groesbeck posted a career-high 19 kills on .455 hitting Friday. (Ray Acevedo)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Valparaiso opened the 2009 Horizon League campaign on Friday evening in Youngstown, Ohio the same way it closed the league slate last year, sweeping the Penguins of Youngstown State (25-21, 25-19, 25-15).

“It was great to get league play underway, and especially to start off with a win,” said Crusader head coach Carin Avery.  “It can be tough to get road wins in the Horizon League, so anytime you end up winning on the road, it’s a good win for the team.”

The Crusaders have now won 24 consecutive sets in Horizon League regular season action, dating back to the second set against Milwaukee on October 24 of last season.  Valpo utilized a tremendous advantage on the offensive side of the ball for the sweep on Friday, outkilling the Penguins 49-28, led by a 19-kill performance on .455 hitting by sophomore right side Amy Groesbeck (Wheaton, Ill./North) and 11 kills on .556 hitting from junior middle hitter Tara Diebler (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central).

“Amy just had a special night tonight,” said Avery.  “It was one of those nights where she was on, not just in the front row attacking and blocking, but also in the back serving and digging.  She really put together an all-around phenomenal match.”

Groesbeck registered an amazing 11 kills alone in the opening set, and Valpo would need every one of them to stave off the homestanding Penguins.  YSU opened the match strong out of the gate, taking an early 5-1 lead and holding the advantage most of the frame.  The Penguins held a 17-15 lead later in the set before Groesbeck registered three kills and combined on a block with Katie Layman (LaPorte, Ind./New Prairie) during a 4-0 spurt to put the Crusaders ahead 19-17.

Youngstown State came right back with three straight points to re-gain the lead at 20-19, but Groesbeck would be the catalyst for a set-ending run, bringing Valpo back into a tie for the lead with a kill.  Angie Porché (Lynwood, Ill./Thornton Fractional South) then came up with a kill of her own and Groesbeck followed with another termination to push the lead to two points.  Back-to-back Penguin errors put the Crusaders in position to win the opening frame, and fittingly it would be Groesbeck who ended the rally on Valpo’s second set point opportunity with a kill.

Valparaiso led start to finish in the second set, taking advantage of a set-opening 8-2 run on the back of two kills by Layman, along with terminations by Katie Britton (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian), Diebler and Groesbeck.  The Penguins never got closer than two points the remainder of the set, and when they pulled back within four points late in the set at 18-14, Layman and Porché picked up kills followed by an Andrea Balsis (Benton Harbor, Mich./Coloma) service ace to secure the set victory for the Crusaders.

YSU led briefly in the final set, but a quick three-point spurt on a Britton kill, Balsis service ace and a Penguin error gave the Crusaders a lead they would not relinquish at 6-4.  Valpo slowly extended its lead out to 20-12 before Youngstown State put together three straight points to gain some momentum and cut the Crusader edge to five points.  But after a Valpo timeout, it came right back and scored the final five points, getting a kill and service ace from Groesbeck during the match-ending run, while Diebler picked up both the penultimate and clinching points on kills.

Kim Bukowski (Waukesha, Wis./West) set up the Crusader offense all night long, handing out 42 assists on the evening as Valpo hit .310 as a team, the second time this season it has hit at better than a .300 clip.  On the defensive side of the ball, Taylor Root (Jenison, Mich./Jenison) led all players with 17 digs, while Balsis far and away surpassed her previous career best in the category, picking up 16 digs to go with a pair of service aces.

“We really did a good job with our block setup tonight,” said Avery.  “Our blockers were in good position all night long, and that allowed us to get Taylor and Ann on the receiving end of a lot of digs to help transition easily into our offense.”

Youngstown State (2-8, 0-2 Horizon) was led by 11 kills from Ruth Boscaljon, but no other Penguin player tallied more than six terminations.  Boscaljon also registered a match-best three blocks.

Valparaiso (6-4, 1-0 Horizon) heads an hour further east on Saturday, traveling to Pittsburgh, Pa. to take part in the Pitt Blue and Gold Tournament.  The Crusaders will take on Maryland-Eastern Shore at noon CDT before facing the host Panthers at 4 p.m.  Both matches will be broadcast live on WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso and online at www.valpoathletics.com, which will also have links for live stats for both matches. 

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