Valparaiso (19-6, 5-4 Horizon)
Crusaders head to northeast Ohio this weekend
Friday, Oct. 31 – at Cleveland State (11-11, 4-5 Horizon) – Cleveland, Ohio – 6 p.m. CT
Saturday, Nov. 1 - at Youngstown State (15-9, 6-3 Horizon) - Youngstown, Ohio - 4 p.m. CT
This Week in Crusader Volleyball: The Valparaiso volleyball team continues the second half of Horizon League play this weekend with the always-difficult swing through northeast Ohio, taking on Cleveland State Friday night before facing Youngstown State Saturday afternoon.
Previously: The Crusaders split a pair of matches at the ARC last weekend to start off the second half of Horizon League play. Valpo fell Friday evening to Milwaukee, 3-1, but rebounded with a three-set sweep of Green Bay on Saturday.
Following the Crusaders: Live video through the Horizon League Network, as well as live stats, will be available for both matches this weekend through ValpoAthletics.com. HLN will carry free live video of each of the Crusaders' league matches and all home non-league matches, while select matches will be covered by Valpo's student radio station, WVUR [95.1, Valparaiso], as well. In addition, most matches will have live stats available online.
Head Coach Carin Avery: In her 13th season as head coach at Valparaiso, Carin Avery has won 305 matches and has led Valpo to three league regular season and tournament titles, as well as three NCAA Tournament appearances. A two-time league Coach of the Year, Avery has coached 40 All-League recipients over her tenure as Crusader head coach. She is Valpo’s all-time leader in both victories and winning percentage, and owns 360 career victories overall as a head coach.
Series Notes: Cleveland State - Valpo is up 18-13 in the all-time series against CSU, but since joining the Horizon League, the Vikings have enjoyed an 11-6 advantage. The Crusaders are on a three-match winning streak, however, including a 3-1 win in Valpo in early October. Morgan Beil set a new program record for hitting percentage in a four-set match (.737) in that win.
Youngstown State - The Crusaders have dominated the all-time series against the Penguins, carrying a 24-7 advantage into Saturday's matchup. Valpo is 14-3 versus YSU since joining the Horizon League, including a 3-1 win earlier this year at the ARC. Emily Campbell led three Crusaders in double figures with 15 kills as Valpo hit at a .256 clip for the match.
Scouting the Opposition: Cleveland State - The Vikings enter Friday night's contest at 11-11 overall and 4-5 in Horizon League play. Maggie Hannon averages a team-best 2.71 kills/set and hits .291, while Nikki Holmes ranks among the league leaders with 4.67 digs/set.
Youngstown State - The Penguins, who take on UIC on Friday before the Crusaders come to town on Saturday, enter the weekend at 15-9 overall and 6-3 in Horizon League play, just one game out of the league lead. Four YSU players are averaging at least two kills per set, while Aly Ryan and Shannon Watson each are tallying better than one block per set.
A Look at the Standings: With one win this weekend, Valpo would secure itself a berth in the 2014 Horizon League Championship. While the Crusaders enter the weekend in a tie for fourth place at 5-4 with UIC, there's still plenty of room for movement, as they are just one game back of third place and two games back of first place.
Campbell Continues to Crush: Sophomore Emily Campbell continues to rank among the league's leaders in kills after pacing the Crusaders in both matches last week. Campbell tallied 20 kills against Milwaukee and posted a match-high 17 terminations in the win over Green Bay. On the season, Campbell has registered 4.21 kills/set, good for second in the league and 33rd in the nation. Campbell also owns the top-10 single-match kill totals for the Crusaders this year.
Beil Heads Toward the Top-Ten: Senior Morgan Beil enters this week with 1,052 career kills, just 25 terminations shy of the Crusaders’ all-time top-ten in the category, while she is also in second place in program history in hitting percentage (.278). Once she reaches the top-ten in kills, Beil will be just the fourth player in program history to rank in the top-ten in both categories. The senior is also just 30 blocks shy of the Crusaders' top-ten all-time in that category.
Victor Cracks the Block Chart: Senior Kelsey Victor combined for 11 blocks in the Crusaders' matches against Milwaukee and Green Bay last weekend to continue her march up Valpo's career blocks chart. Victor has totaled 332 career blocks, moving past Carrie Goodrich for ninth place in Crusader history. Victor enters this week 19 blocks behind Jill Rychecky for eighth place all time.
Berrington Racks Up the Assists: Junior Kelsey Berrington, setting in all six rotations for the first time in her career this season, has taken advantage and is nearing the 1,000-assist mark this year. Berrington needs just five more assists to reach four figures in the category for the first time in her career. The junior surpassed 2,500 career assists last time out against Green Bay, and is just 67 assisys shy of moving into seventh place in Valpo history in the category.
Players of the Week: Buoyed by her record-setting performance against Cleveland State, Beil earned Offensive Player of the Week honors from the Horizon League office, the first career weekly honor for the senior since she was a freshman. Beil became the third different Crusader to earn a league weekly award this year, as Emily Campbell and Allison Ketcham earned accolades in back-to-back weeks in mid-September.
Trio of Titles: Capturing the Crusader Crossroads of America Classic gave Valpo a third consecutive in-season tournament title and continued a tradition of picking up hardware early in the season. The triumph was Valpo’s 20th tournament victory in the 13-year tenure of head coach Carin Avery. The Crusaders have now brought home at least one in-season championship in 10 of the last 13 years, and have captured multiple titles in seven of those seasons. This year’s three titles match the 2006 and 2010 teams for most championships in a single season.
Best Start: The Crusader volleyball team had never gone as deep into a season before sustaining its second loss as they did this season, winning 14 of its first 15 matches before suffering the loss at Milwaukee. This season also set a new mark for the most wins Valpo has had in a season before losing for the third time (16-2), as the 2010 squad previously held the best mark at 13-2 before losing its third match. This year’s team has a few more wins to go to reach the mark for most victories before a fourth loss, as the 2004 team opened the season 20-3 before suffering its fourth defeat.
Crusaders Picked Second in Preseason Poll: The Crusaders have been picked to finish in second place in the Horizon League standings this season, according to preseason polling of the league’s head coaches. Valpo claimed one first-place vote and 39 points, trailing only Milwaukee, which tallied 47 points, including six first-place nods. The Crusaders edged out Oakland by two points for second position.
12 Straight 20-Win Seasons: The Crusaders’ 25 victories last season helped the program continue a tremendous streak of success. Valparaiso has won 20 or more matches every year since 2002, Avery’s first at the helm of the Crusader program. Valpo is one of just 10 programs nationwide to have won at least 20 matches in each of the last 12 years, a group which also includes Colorado State, Florida, Hawai’i, Nebraska, Ohio, Penn State, Stanford, UNI and Western Kentucky.