The Valparaiso University volleyball team earned its fourth sweep in the last five matches on Friday evening at the ARC, using a balanced team effort to take down Loyola, 3-0 (25-19, 25-12, 25-22), in Missouri Valley Conference action. With her final dig of the night, redshirt junior Allison Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) moved into a tie for tenth place in program history for career digs.
How It Happened
- Valpo scored the first four points of the match to open the first set, but Loyola rallied back and took the lead briefly approaching the halfway point of the frame.
- Tied at 11-all, the Crusaders scored seven of the next eight points to take control in a run which started on a kill from senior Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) and ended on a kill by freshman Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll).
- Valpo cruised to the opening set win, as the Ramblers got no closer than four points the rest of the way.
- An 8-1 run early in set two put Valpo in front for good, a spurt jump-started by back-to-back Ketcham kills. Loyola would score consecutive points just once the remainder of the set, while the Crusaders had three more spurts of at least three straight points – including a 4-0 run to close out the second frame.
- The third set would be the tightest of the match, as the Ramblers led for a good bit of the set. The Crusaders looked to seize control, as just past the midway point of the frame, they scored four straight points – including two straight kills by junior Sydney Bronner (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth) – to go ahead 17-15.
- Three straight Loyola points returned the lead to the Ramblers, 20-19, and after the teams traded sideouts, Loyola still held the advantage. But the Crusaders received kills from junior Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) and Anderson, and Carlson recorded a service ace to make it 23-21 Valpo.
- A Rambler kill cut the Valpo lead to just one point before Graboski responded with a kill of her own to give Valpo match point. The Crusaders needed just one chance to end the match, closing out the sweep thanks to a Loyola attack error.
Inside the Match
- Ketcham tallied 12 digs on Friday, reaching double figures for the 22nd time in 24 matches this season. The redshirt junior now owns 1,308 career digs, tied with Katie Bova for 10th-most by a player in Crusader history.
- Valpo enjoyed a 39-34 advantage in kills over the Ramblers on Friday night and out-hit Loyola, .293-.114.
- The Crusaders were especially efficient in the first two sets, hitting better than .350 in both frames as they committed just three attack errors over the stretch.
- Valpo’s balanced offensive effort was led by nine kills from Carlson, who also recorded a team-best 13 digs.
- Graboski hit .429 with eight kills in the win, while Ketcham also recorded seven kills. Bronner chipped in six kills on just 11 swings, while junior Lizzie Zaleski (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) added six kills as well.
- Anderson finished the sweep with 28 assists, while fellow rookie Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) tallied 12 digs in the back row.
Valpo (13-11, 5-6 MVC) makes the longest trip within conference play for a Monday night match, heading down to Springfield, Mo. to take on conference leader Missouri State. The contest is slated for a 7 p.m. first serve and can be seen live on The Valley on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app. Links for the live coverage will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.