Valparaiso won the key points
at the end of all three sets Friday evening at the Athletics-Recreation
Center, enabling the Crusaders to
(25-21, 25-20, 25-23) to move into a tie for first place in the Horizon League
“After last Saturday’s match, we really had a nice talk as a
team about communication and effort and how we needed to do a better job at
both,” said Crusader head coach Carin
Avery. “We talked about how, even
when things aren’t going your way, good communication and effort can help you
get back into a set or match, and we really did a good job with both tonight. Even though we trailed in all three sets, we
maintained our poise and kept communicating and were able to come out with the
Valpo got out to a slow start in the first set, as Butler, which entered
Friday’s match as the lone unbeaten team in Horizon League play, scored four of
the match’s first five points. The
Crusaders still trailed at 7-4 before a quarter of Bulldog errors helped spur a
7-2 Valpo run. Katie Britton (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) and Tara
Diebler (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin
Central) each registered kills during the run, while Angie Porché (Lynwood, Ill./Thornton Fractional South) tallied a
service ace during the spurt that put the Crusaders on top, 11-9. Valpo would never even fall into a tie for
the remainder of the set, as Jenny
Pokorny (Geneva, Ill./Geneva) eventually closed
the opener with a kill.
The Crusaders again got out of the gates slowly in the
second frame, falling behind 5-1 right away.
The Bulldog advantage was still 13-10 before Valpo put together a 6-1
run to earn the lead for the first time in the set. Porché posted a pair of terminations during
the run, while Kim Bukowski (Waukesha, Wis./West) and Katie Layman (LaPorte, Ind./New
Prairie) each added kills as well. A
solo block by Amy Groesbeck (Wheaton, Ill./North)
capped the Crusader rally, putting Valpo in front 16-14.
would never regain the advantage outright, but did fight back to tie the frame
at each point from 16-16 to 19-19. But
the latter score was just a precursor to another 6-1 run, this one to send
Valpo into the in-game break up two sets to none. Diebler started the run with a kill, followed
by a Bulldog error to make it a two-point lead at 21-19. Out of a timeout, Butler picked up a termination, but Porché
then took over, recording kills on three straight points to give the Crusaders
four set opportunities. Valpo would need
just one, as again it was Pokorny who ended the set with a kill.
For the third straight set, the Crusaders started slowly, as
itself ahead 8-3 early on. While the
five-point edge represented the Bulldogs’ largest lead of the set, they would
stay ahead of Valpo for almost the entire frame. The Crusaders looked for their first tie of
the set after a kill by Groesbeck brought them to within 16-15, but Butler scored three of
the next four points, forcing a Valpo timeout.
Out of the stoppage, Butler
committed an attack error followed by another kill by Porché to bring the
Crusaders back to within one at 19-18.
The teams traded sideouts for the next three rotations, with a Bulldog
service error cutting the Valpo deficit to one at 22-21. Groesbeck then came up with a big kill,
giving the Crusaders their first tie of the set. Out of a timeout, Butler recorded a kill to move within two
points of extending the match, but Britton stepped up with back-to-back kills,
the latter giving Valpo its first outright lead of the set and a match point
opportunity. Bukowski needed no help to
cinch the match for the Crusaders, sending over a service ace to close out the
The Valpo attack was running at high octane throughout the
match, as the Crusaders closed the match with 53 kills on .365 hitting as a
team, never hitting below .281 in any single set. Porché paced Valpo with 16 kills, swinging at
a .400 clip on the night, and also added 11 digs for a double-double. Britton added ten kills on .381 hitting,
while Groesbeck hit .500 with nine kills and Diebler chipped in eight kills of
her own. Bukowski handed out 27 assists
on the night, while Pokorny dished out 21 helpers.
Taylor Root (Jenison, Mich./Jenison)
led the Crusaders on the back line again, picking up 16 digs on the night as
Valpo outdug Butler
(12-8, 3-1 Horizon) by a 55-43 margin.
The freshman libero has paced Valpo in the category in every match in
2009 and has now led all players in digs in each of the last five matches. Diebler set a season high with seven digs of
her own, while Haley Wise (Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka) chipped in
seven digs as well.
“I thought we did a very nice job all around tonight,” said
Avery. “We really focused on defense and
serving, and we did a much better job in both areas. While we didn’t get many blocks, we got a lot
of touches at the net that made for easy transition to offense. We also did a very good job serving and
out of system more often than we were out of system.”
The Bulldogs were led offensively by Jessica Wolfe, who put
down 13 kills without an attack error.
Porshia Allen added 12 kills and a team-best 15 digs, while Maureen
Bamiro led all players with four blocks.
Valparaiso (9-6, 3-1
Horizon) begins a busy week of volleyball on Tuesday evening as the Crusader
homestand rolls on with Green Bay at the ARC.
First serve is set for 7 p.m., and all the action can be heard live on
WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso
and seen online on the Horizon League Network. Links for both the audio
and video will be available through www.valpoathletics.com,
which will also have a link for live stats.