The Valparaiso University volleyball team earned its first victory as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference on Sunday afternoon, going on the road to Loyola and downing the Ramblers in four sets (25-19, 25-15, 18-25, 25-16).
How It Happened
- Valpo used an early 11-3 run to gain control of the first set, pulling out to a 12-5 lead. Loyola would get no closer than four points the rest of the way as the Crusaders claimed the opener.
- Loyola hit at a negative rate in the second set as Valpo was never threatened in taking a 2-0 lead in the match. The Crusaders reeled off the first five points of the frame and put together another five-point spurt in the middle of the set to go ahead 14-4.
- The third set started off on a positive note for the Crusaders as well, as they scored four of the first five points of the set. But Loyola responded with a 5-1 run and would never trail again. Tied at 9-9, the Ramblers went on an 8-2 run to go ahead 17-11, and after Valpo scored three straight to close within three, Loyola scored the next five in eventually forcing a fourth set.
- But the Crusaders would not be denied their first MVC win, hitting at a sterling .500 clip with 17 kills in the final set. Redshirt junior Allison Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) put down six kills on just eight swings in the decisive frame, while freshman Jaclyn Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) needed just six attacks to record five kills.
Inside the Match
- Bulmahn matched her season best for kills with her fourth-set effort alone, finishing with five kills on .444 hitting for the match.
- Senior Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) again led the Crusader offense, registering 13 kills on .281 hitting.
- Ketcham ended the win with her fourth double-double of the year, totaling 12 kills and 14 digs.
- Freshman Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) handed out 43 assists in the victory while fellow rookie Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) tied for match-high honors with 19 digs.
- Valpo finished with a 50-43 advantage in kills over the Ramblers and hit at a .214 clip to Loyola’s .121 hitting percentage.
- While Loyola holds a 27-16 edge in the all-time series, the Crusaders are 11-2 all-time against the Ramblers within conference play. Valpo and Loyola previously shared league membership from 2007 through 2012.
Valpo (8-8, 1-3 MVC) continues this road swing in conference play on Friday evening from Peoria, Ill. as the Crusaders take on Bradley. First serve is set for 7 p.m. and the match will be broadcast live on The Valley on ESPN3. Links for the live video, as well as live stats, will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.