The Valparaiso volleyball team extended its winning streak to a season-long four matches on Tuesday night, downing Chicago State 3-1 (25-15, 16-15, 25-13, 25-11) in Chicago, Ill.
None of the four sets on Tuesday contained a lead change, as the score was tied just three times total over the four frames. Valpo ran out to a 15-3 lead in the opener, including three kills from senior Mary Dent (Chicago, Ill./Von Steuben), en route to an easy first set win. Chicago State responded in kind in set two, scoring the first nine points, and while the Crusaders cut the lead to four points at 18-14, the Cougars scored seven of the final nine points to knot the match at one set apiece.
It was all Crusaders early in set three, as three kills by redshirt sophomore Kelsey Victor (Logansport, Ind./Logansport) helped Valpo to a 7-2 lead and the Crusaders never led by less than three points the rest of the way. Valpo scored the first four points and seven of the first eight in the fourth frame, and after Chicago State cut the edge to 14-9, the Crusaders ended the match with an 11-2 run to close out the victory.
Dent was the only Crusader to finish the night in double figures in kills, posting 12 terminations. Five Valpo players tallied at least seven kills, however, as the Crusaders hit .291 as a team. Victor posted eight kills on .412 hitting, joined by junior Ellen Vanden Berg (Little Chute, Wis./Little Chute) and junior Sarah Dooms (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove) with eight kills as well. Sophomore Morgan Beil (St. Louis, Mo./Marquette) added seven kills, while freshman Kelsey Berrington (Britton, Mich./Tecumseh) handed out 23 assists and junior Ariel Cudney (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) posted 17 assists.
Vanden Berg was also in on eight of Valpo’s ten team blocks, with Dooms and Dent adding three rejections apiece. Senior Taylor Root (Jenison, Mich./Jenison) led all players with 16 digs and moved into seventh in NCAA history in career digs, now with 2,613 digs.
Valeria Desiderio and Alyssa Podwell led Chicago State (2-26) with 11 kills apiece, but both hit under .200 as the Crusaders held the Cougars to just .124 hitting. Desiderio also picked up 12 digs for the match’s only double-double.
Valparaiso (17-10) continues a three-match road trip on Friday evening at 6 p.m. CDT by returning to league play at Youngstown State. Live stats and live video through the Horizon League Network will be available through www.valpoathletics.com.