The Valparaiso University volleyball team closed out action from the Jackrabbits Invitational in Brookings, S.D. on Saturday on a winning note, sweeping host South Dakota State in three straight sets (25-15, 25-23, 25-23).
The Crusaders held off the Jackrabbits late in both sets two and three to avoid going to extra points and to complete the sweep.
How It Happened
- Valpo limited SDSU to just eight kills in the opening set and forced the Jackrabbits into eight attack errors as well. Trailing 6-5 early in the frame, the Crusaders ran off a 13-4 spurt to go ahead 18-10 and cruised to the win in the opener.
- Neither squad ever had more than a two-point advantage in a second set which featured 14 ties and five lead changes. Trailing 20-19, the Crusaders scored three straight points - including a kill from junior Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) and a block by senior Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) and freshman Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) - to go ahead 22-20.
- The two teams traded sideouts the remainder of the second set, giving Valpo its first set point chance at 24-22. An error cut the advantage to just one point, but junior Sydney Bronner (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth) came up with a kill to close out the second frame for the Crusaders.
- Valpo maintained control of the third set from almost start to finish, extending its lead to 12-7 approaching the midway point and keeping the lead around five points most of the way. The Crusaders reached match point at 24-18, but SDSU reeled off five consecutive points to close to within one at 24-23 before Graboski completed the Valpo sweep with a kill.
Inside the Match
- The Crusaders put together a strong defensive match, limiting SDSU to just 30 kills on .091 hitting over the three sets. Bronner was in on a team-best five of Valpo's eight team blocks, while freshman Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) tallied a match-high 15 digs.
- Anderson picked up the fourth double-double of her young career, tallying 34 assists and 14 digs.
- Carlson posted a team-best 10 kills in the sweep, while freshman Ally Cummings (Novi, Mich./Novi) added nine kills on .471 hitting. Bronner chipped in seven kills as well, hitting at a .385 clip.
- This marks the second straight year Valpo has swept South Dakota State, as the Jackrabbits visited Northwest Indiana last season as part of the Popcorn Classic.
Valpo (2-4) heads east for next weekend's tournament action, visiting Ithaca, N.Y. for the Cornell Invitational. The Crusaders' third weekend of play commences on Friday afternoon, Sept. 8 versus St. John's at 4 p.m. CT.