Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Balanced Offense Stands Out in Valpo Sweep of UIC
Taylor Root led all players with 21 digs. (Ray Acevedo)
Taylor Root led all players with 21 digs. (Ray Acevedo)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Six Crusaders tallied between seven and nine kills Saturday evening as the Valparaiso offense hit at a .254 clip in a 3-0 (25-19, 25-10, 25-22) sweep of UIC in Horizon League play at the ARC.

The Crusaders were led by nine kills from freshman Sarah Dooms (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove), but she had plenty of help offensively.  Opposite Dooms was freshman Kelsey Victor (Logansport, Ind./Logansport), who registered seven kills on .333 hitting.  Junior Amy Groesbeck (Wheaton, Ill./North) also posted seven kills from the right side, hitting .350 for the match as she did not commit an attack error.

Both Valpo middles, senior Tara Diebler (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) and senior Katie Layman (LaPorte, Ind./New Prairie), recorded seven kills as well.  Running the offense all night was junior Jenny Pokorny (Geneva, Ill./Geneva), who handed out 32 assists on the evening and also put down seven kills on .438 hitting to add to the balanced attack.

“Having a balanced attack like we had tonight is going to be a key to our success down the stretch,” said Crusader head coach Carin Avery.  “When we spread the ball around offensively like this, we make ourselves a hard team to scout because we’re so balanced.”

Meanwhile, the Crusader defense got the job again Saturday, both at the net and in the back row.  Layman posted six blocks on the evening, three of them of the solo variety and five of them coming in a 10-point stretch to open the second set, as Valpo tallied eight total team rejections.  When the ball got to the back line, the Crusaders picked up 70 digs, out-digging the Flames by 18.  Sophomore Taylor Root (Jenison, Mich./Jenison) led the way with a match-high 21 digs, while fifth-year senior Val Bollenbacher (Bremen, Ind./Bremen) tallied 14 digs and Pokorny added 13 for her 12th double-double of the year.

“I think that again our defensive effort, both blocking and picking up digs behind the block, was wonderful tonight,” said Avery.  “Our defensive execution has been really sharp these last three matches and is a big reason why we’ve won the last three times out.”

Valparaiso maintained a lead throughout the opening frame, but after jumping out to an 8-3 advantage, the Flames fought back to within 11-10.  The Crusaders used back-to-back kills by Diebler and Victor after a UIC service error later in the frame to push the lead to 17-13, but the Flames hung around, crawling back to within two points at 20-18.  But another service error turned the serve over to Valpo, and Dooms stepped back to serve back-to-back aces, two of her four aces on the night, to give the Crusaders breathing room.  Valpo eventually ended the set on a kill by Layman to take the opener.

Pokorny and Dooms had kills and Diebler a service ace in a 9-2 run to start the second set, but the story of the opening part of the frame was the play of Layman at the net.  The senior picked up five blocks, including three solos, in the opening run and was joined by Dooms on the other two stuffs.  Valpo cruised to the set victory from there, as a three-point spurt on kills by Dooms, Victor and Layman sent the Crusaders into the locker room up two sets to none.

It looked like Valpo would cruise to the sweep as it took a 10-5 lead nearing the midway point of the third set, getting kills from all five hitters during the first half of the frame.  But the Flames fought back to make a game of it, putting together a 7-2 run to tie the frame at 12-all.  The Crusaders responded, as sophomore Mary Dent (Chicago, Ill./Von Steuben) posted a pair of kills around a UIC hitting error to take a three-point edge at 15-12.

UIC answered with a 5-1 spurt to take its first lead of the set at 17-16, and the two sides would trade sideouts for the next six points as the Flames continued to hold off the Crusaders.  A Valpo attack error gave UIC a two-point lead at 21-19, but the Crusaders dug their heels in and got a kill from Dooms followed by another service ace from the freshman to again tie the set.  Out of a UIC timeout, the Flames committed an attack error and the Crusaders then got back-to-back kills from junior Katie Britton (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian), in for her first rotation of the match, to earn match point.  On their second chance, the Crusaders closed out the sweep as for the third time in the match, Layman tallied a kill to end the set.

Valpo out-killed its opponent by double figures for the third straight contest, picking up 48 kills to just 30 for UIC (11-13, 6-6 Horizon).  The Flames were led by eight kills and 11 digs from Kelsey Safranek, while Taylor Szatkowski picked up 14 digs from the libero spot for UIC.

Valparaiso (19-5, 7-4) finds itself just one win shy of the 20-win mark for the ninth straight season with Saturday’s win.  The Crusaders will attempt to earn the milestone victory on Monday evening, as they travel to SIU Edwardsville for a non-league showdown.  First serve is set for 7 p.m., and all the action can be heard live on WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso and online at www.valpoathletics.com, which will also have a link for live stats.

M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 5th/17 (20)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 9th/18 (12)
M Tennis Valpo 5 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 11 Detroit 2
Baseball Youngstown State 7 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 11 Valpo 10
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
M Soccer St. Joseph's College Eastgate Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Youngstown State 1 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 13
Softball Cleveland State 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 2
Volleyball Western Michigan/Butler/Eastern Michigan ARC
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo
Softball Cleveland State 4 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 6
Baseball Youngstown State 12 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 4
W Tennis Valpo 1 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Detroit 6
M Soccer Benedictine Brown Field
Apr 12, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Soccer Haitian National Team Brown Field
Apr 12, 7:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
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
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19, 1:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20
Baseball Kalamazoo Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Ohio Northern Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 5:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25 Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
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
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M 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
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W 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