The Valparaiso volleyball team dropped a hard-fought four-setter (21-25, 25-19, 24-26, 22-25) to league leader Milwaukee on Friday at the ARC.
The Crusaders couldn’t capitalize on 12 Panthers’ reception errors as they dropped their fourth game in six tries. From the opening set everything was close, as neither team had a lead of more than three until back-to-back kills from Kayla Price gave the Panthers a 24-19 lead as they would take the opening frame.
It was more of the same in the second set before Valpo seized control behind consecutive kills from freshman Allison Ketchum (Mishawaka, Ind./Penn) and sophomore Emily Campbell (Grand Rapids Mich./Forest Hills Central) to make it 17-13. Senior Morgan Beil (St. Louis, Mo. Marquette) killed any chance of a Panthers comeback when her monster kill made it 22-17.
The Brown and Gold jumped out to an early 5-1 lead in the third set, forcing Milwaukee to take an early timeout. After stretching their lead to 11-4, the Panthers began to claw back in, tying it up at 16. Leading 23-20, the Crusaders fought back. Two consecutive kills from Campbell brought them within one and a monster kill by senior Kelsey Victor (Logansport, Ind./Logansport) tied the game at 24. Valpo was unable to hold serve as they dropped the next two points.
The Horizon League preseason top-two teams continued the slugfest into the fourth set. Tied at 15, Milwaukee slowly gained control after a kill from Myanna Ruiz gave them the lead that they would not relinquish. Ruiz would finish it off with two kills to give the Panthers the match and set.
Campbell led the way for the offense as she recorded a team-high 20 kills while swinging .268. Ketchum was all over the floor defensively, amassing 26 digs, while Campbell added 19. Junior Kelsey Berrington (Britton, Mich./Tecumseh) dished out 38 assists.
Valpo (18-6, 4-4 HL) looks to rebound quickly as they return to the court Saturday afternoon to take on Green Bay. First serve is set for 4:00 pm CT, with live video via the Horizon League Network, live audio on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) and live stats all available through ValpoAthletics.com.