The Valparaiso University volleyball team stood strong with a showdown against MVC leader Missouri State on Monday evening in Springfield, Mo., but in the end, the Bears emerged with a 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-18, 25-19) victory. Missouri State entered the match just outside the top-25 in the latest AVCA national poll.
How It Happened
- With the score tied 7-7 in the first set, the Crusaders went on a big run to look to take control, scoring 12 of the next 14 points to go ahead 19-9. Junior Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) picked up three kills and a block during the run, while redshirt junior Allison Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) recorded a pair of kills as well.
- But the Bears answered in kind, scoring the next nine points to close to within 19-18 before a kill from freshman Jaclyn Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) slowed the MSU run. The Bears scored four straight to take the lead, and while a Ketcham kill brought Valpo back within 22-21, MSU scored the final three points of the set.
- The second set played out much like the first, as with the Crusaders holding a narrow 10-9 lead, they seized control with five consecutive points to pull ahead 15-9. Later in the set, a three-point spurt which included kills from Carlson and junior Lizzie Zaleski (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) pushed the Valpo lead to eight points at 22-14.
- Much like in the first set, MSU would rally, scoring six of the next seven points to close within 23-20. A kill from senior Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) gave Valpo set point at 24-20, and on their third attempt, the Crusaders would even the match on a second-touch attack by freshman Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll).
- Valpo led early in the third set at 9-7 before a 6-1 run from the Bears gave them a 13-10 lead. The Crusaders closed to within one point twice and were still within two at 17-15 before MSU reeled off seven in a roll to seize control.
- After trailing early in the fourth set, Valpo took a 12-9 lead with a four-point spurt which included a pair of blocks and a service ace from Ketcham. The Crusaders led by three points on four different occasions, but were unable to push the lead to four points, and with the score 17-15, the Bears scored 10 of the match’s final 12 points.
Inside the Match
- Missouri State was the last MVC opponent which the Crusaders faced for the first time this season.
- Valpo was facing a Bears squad which entered the week placed second among the others receiving votes in the AVCA weekly top-25 poll.
- The Crusaders limited Missouri State to just .146 hitting with 30 kills over the first two sets, but the Bears tallied 35 kills on .294 hitting over the final two frames.
- Missouri State ended the match with a 65-45 advantage in kills. The Crusaders did force 26 attack errors from the Bears, 10 of which were blocks – led by a match-high six rejections by Graboski.
- Valpo’s balanced attack was led by 10 kills from Carlson. Graboski posted nine kills, while Zaleski hit .333 with eight kills.
- The Crusaders maintained their national-best pace in the back row, tallying 83 digs over the four sets. Freshman Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) led five players in double figures for Valpo with 23 digs.
- Ketcham tallied 18 digs, while sophomore Alana Brown (Napa, Calif./Vintage) ended the evening with a career-best 15 digs. Carlson added 13 digs as well.
- Anderson posted another double-double for the Crusaders, handing out 38 assists and recording 10 digs.
Valpo (13-12, 5-7 MVC) steps out of conference play for the final time in the regular season with a 7 p.m. match Wednesday evening at Chicago State.