On a night where all 14 active players saw playing time, the Valparaiso volleyball team extended its winning streak to eight matches with a 3-0 sweep (25-22, 25-23, 25-18) of Chicago State Monday evening in Chicago, Ill.
13 of the 14 Crusaders appeared in at least two sets, including six freshmen, as Valpo matched its season-long winning streak. In fact, this is the first season that the Crusaders have had two separate winning streaks of at least eight matches since 2005.
Valpo took control fairly early in the first set, as trailing 8-7, the Crusaders went on a 11-3 run to go ahead 18-11. Chicago State rallied back to within 23-22 late, but a kill by redshirt junior Kelsey Victor (Logansport, Ind./Logansport) gave Valpo set point, and a block from sophomore Nicole Lambert (St. Charles, Ill./East [Radford]) and freshman Rachel Bruinsma (New Era, Mich./Western Michigan Christian) ended the opener in the Crusaders' favor.
Chicago State controlled the early part of the second set, going ahead 9-1 quickly. The Cougars still led 16-8 before an 11-2 Crusader run put Valpo ahead 19-18. It was 23-all late before back-to-back kills from senior Ellen Vanden Berg (Little Chute, Wis./Little Chute) made it two sets to none for the Crusaders.
The Crusaders took control early in the third set, as a kill by senior Sarah Dooms (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove) made it 3-all, and fellow senior Janelle Hobbs (Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead) then served five straight points to give Valpo the lead for good. The Cougars cut the lead to one at 8-7, but Valpo scored seven of the next nine points and cruised to the sweep from there.
With 14 players seeing action on Monday night, the final stat sheet was balanced, with Dooms and junior Morgan Beil (St. Louis, Mo./Marquette) tying for team-high honors with eight kills apiece, the latter doing so on .667 hitting. Hobbs chipped in seven kills on .500 hitting as well. Sophomore Kelsey Berrington (Britton, Mich./Tecumseh) tallied 20 assists, while senior Ariel Cudney (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) handed out 10 assists and recorded three service aces as well.
Freshman Morganne Longoria (Burlington, Wis./Burlington) led the effort in the back row with 12 digs on Monday evening. Meanwhile, at the net, the Crusaders continued their strong play with 10 total team blocks, paced by four rejections from Hobbs.
Paula Sioto led Chicago State (2-22) with 12 kills, while Valeria Desiderio and Rachel Levitt added nine kills each. Julia Menhart posted a match-high 13 digs.
Valparaiso (21-4) challenges Milwaukee for the top spot in the Horizon League standings Friday night on the road. First serve is slated for 7 p.m., with live stats and video available via ValpoAthletics.com.