The Valparaiso University volleyball team battled against Illinois State in Missouri Valley Conference action Friday night, but the Redbirds earned key points late in all three sets as the Crusaders fell 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 26-24).
How It Happened
- Valpo jumped out to a quick lead on Friday, enjoying a 13-5 advantage past the halfway point of the first set as it tallied nine early kills – including three terminations from junior Allison Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian).
- The Crusaders still enjoyed a 20-15 lead late in the set, but Illinois State ended the frame on a 10-1 run to pull ahead.
- Illinois State took the lead for good early in the second set and led by as many as six points, as late as 19-13. Valpo scored four of the next five points thanks to two kills each by senior Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) and junior Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep), but could get no closer than three points in the late stages.
- The Crusaders dominated early in set three, scoring the first four points en route to a quick 11-4 lead. Illinois State rallied, however, and took its first lead of the set at 17-16, setting up a back-and-forth end to the frame.
- With the score 20-20, the Crusaders scored back-to-back points, but the Redbirds responded with three straight points to pull ahead 23-22. A kill from Ketcham and an ISU error gave Valpo set point with a chance to extend the match at 24-23 before the Redbirds ended the match with three consecutive kills.
Inside the Match
- It was a relatively clean match on the attack, as the two squads combined for just 29 total attack errors over the three sets. Illinois State held a 53-46 advantage in kills and hit .257 for the match compared to a .193 clip for the Crusaders.
- The matchup of two of the nation’s top digging teams lived up to the billing, as both teams easily outpaced their season averages in the back row. Valpo finished the night with 81 digs, led by 26 digs from freshman libero Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg).
- Ketcham picked up 19 digs and also tied for match-high honors with 12 kills, while Carlson added 13 digs and nine kills on .296 hitting.
- Freshman Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) recorded a double-double with 36 assists and 10 digs as well.
- Freshman Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) came off the bench with a second straight strong performance, tallying eight kills on 24 swings.
Valpo (14-13, 5-8 MVC) faces a key Valley matchup on Saturday night as the Crusaders host Bradley at 7 p.m.