The Valparaiso University volleyball team closed out its 2017 non-conference slate at Chicago State Wednesday evening, sweeping the host Cougars in straight sets (25-17, 25-18, 25-23).
How It Happened
- Following a brief pre-match delay, the Crusaders steadily pulled away throughout the first set – a set in which they held Chicago State to seven kills on .000 hitting. Trailing 5-4, a four-point spurt gave Valpo the lead for good. Later in the frame, leading 14-11, the Crusaders put together an 8-2 run – including back-to-back service aces by senior Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) – to put the set away.
- Valpo gained control early in the second set, opening on a 7-2 run which featured six kills – led by two each from junior Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) and freshman Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton). Chicago State would get no closer than three points the rest of the way.
- After Chicago State led in the early stages of set three, the Crusaders pulled away with a 7-1 run which extended their lead to 13-7. Valpo led by as many as eight points, and while CSU rallied late to within 24-23, junior Sydney Bronner (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth) came up with a kill to secure the sweep.
Inside the Match
- After starting the season 2-5 against non-conference opposition, Valpo will close the 2017 campaign with seven straight victories outside of conference play.
- For the third time this season, the Crusaders won via sweep despite having no player reach double figures in kills.
- Leading the way offensively were Carlson and McCarthy, who each picked up nine kills in the victory Wednesday – McCarthy notching a new career best along the way. Carlson swung at a .368 clip, while McCarthy needed just 15 swings for her nine kills as she hit .600.
- As a team the Crusaders led CSU in kills, 43-35, and hit at a .291 clip – their third-best hitting percentage of the year. All three of Valpo’s top efforts in the category this year have come within the last five matches.
- Graboski added seven kills, while fellow middle Bronner chipped in six kills on .333 hitting.
- McCarthy also set a new career high on the defensive side of the net, racking up a match-high six blocks as Valpo totaled nine rejections as a team. Bronner was in on four blocks, while freshman Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) picked up three blocks.
- Anderson also recorded 37 assists to push her season total to 975, just 25 assists shy of reaching four figures in the category.
- In the back row, the Crusaders needed just 52 digs in Wednesday’s sweep. Freshman Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) tied for match-high honors with 16 digs and redshirt junior Allison Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) added 15 digs of her own.
Valpo (14-12) returns home to the ARC Friday night for another weekend of MVC action as it hosts Illinois State at 7 p.m. The match can be seen live on The Valley on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app, with links for the live coverage available via ValpoAthletics.com.