The Valparaiso University volleyball team closed out the regular season Saturday evening in Milwaukee, Wis., falling to the Panthers of Milwaukee in straight sets (25-11, 25-16, 25-23). The Crusaders had already clinched a berth into the Horizon League Championship by virtue of Friday night’s results and will head to the league tournament next weekend in Cleveland as the sixth seed.
How It Happened
- Valpo trailed from the outset in the opening set, as Milwaukee started the match on a 9-2 run. Then, in the second set, the Crusaders led briefly early, but at 5-4, the Panthers went on an 11-2 run to take control.
- The third set proved to be the tightest of the set, but it didn’t appear that way early, as the Panthers hit the halfway mark of the frame leading 13-6.
- Valpo responded with a big 10-1 run to pull ahead, 16-14. Senior Lexie Bouza (Elgin, Ill./Burlington Central) had a pair of service aces and a kill during the run, while fellow senior Emily Campbell (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central) had two kills during the spurt as well.
- Milwaukee answered with three straight points, however, and while the Crusaders evened the score three more times, they were never able to re-claim the outright advantage. Tied at 22-22, the Panthers scored three of the final four points of the match to close out the sweep.
Inside the Match
- The Crusaders were limited offensively by the Panthers’ defensive performance, as Milwaukee totaled 13 blocks. Valpo posted just 25 kills over the three sets against 24 attack errors.
- Campbell led the Crusaders on Saturday with nine kills. With her final kill of the match, Campbell tallied her 1,404th career kill – moving her into a tie with Cheri Hughes for fourth-most in Valpo history.
- Bouza tallied a team-high 10 assists to go with seven digs and three aces.
- Senior Morganne Longoria (Burlington, Wis./Burlington) racked up 24 digs in Saturday’s three sets and now has 649 digs on the year – just 26 shy of sixth-most in a single season in program history.
- Sophomore Sydney Bronner (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth) led the Crusaders on Saturday with five blocks.
The Crusaders (15-18, 6-10 Horizon) will head to Cleveland next weekend as the sixth seed for the Horizon League Championship and will face third-seeded Northern Kentucky in first-round action on Friday.