The Valparaiso University volleyball team made it back-to-back weekends with tournament titles thanks to a pair of victories on Saturday, defeating CSU Bakersfield 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-19) and Cal Baptist 3-1 (21-25, 25-10, 25-22, 25-12) to earn the Amy Svoboda Memorial Classic championship. Senior Allison Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) was named Tournament MVP, while fellow senior Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) and sophomore Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) joined Ketcham on the All-Tournament Team.
How It Happened – CSU Bakersfield
- Valpo’s offense was rolling from the start against the Roadrunners, as it hit .562 with 19 kills in the opening set, leading start-to-finish.
- The second set proved to be more of a battle for Valpo, as CSUB led on either side of the halfway mark of the set and the two sides were still tied at 21 apiece. Sophomore Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) sandwiched a pair of kills around a Carlson kill to make it 24-21 Valpo and give the team three set points. A Carlson kill on the second opportunity closed the set as Valpo went ahead 2-0.
- Valpo again led start-to-finish in the final set, as after maintaining a small advantage for the first half of the set, a pair of McCarthy solo blocks were part of a five-point spurt that extended a 12-10 lead to 17-10. CSUB would get no closer than five points the rest of the way as Valpo completed the sweep.
How It Happened – Cal Baptist
- The Lancers took the opening frame from Valpo, as despite hitting .333 on the offensive side of the ball, the Brown and Gold surrendered 18 kills on .441 hitting to Cal Baptist in the opener.
- But the Valpo defense locked down in the final three sets, allowing Cal Baptist just 25 kills on .092 hitting over the final three frames in the come-from-behind win.
- Valpo was able to cruise to set wins in sets two and four, jumping out to respective leads of 10-2 and 10-3 in those two frames.
- The third set proved to be the swing frame. CBU led 13-11 just past the midway point of the set before a 5-0 run for Valpo – including two kills each from Carlson and freshman Haley Hart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) – put the Brown and Gold on top. Cal Baptist tied the set three times down the stretch, the latest at 22-22, but Ketcham tallied back-to-back terminations to give Valpo set point and sophomore Ally Cummings (Novi, Mich./Novi) capped the set with a kill of her own.
Inside the Matches
- The tournament titles continue to make their way to Union Street, as by claiming the championship at Air Force this weekend, Valpo has now won consecutive in-season tournaments and four of its last five dating back to last season.
- It also marks the 26th in-season tournament crown in the 17th season at the helm of the Valpo program for head coach Carin Avery.
- The three wins this weekend put Valpo’s record at 9-2 – the seventh time under Avery that the Brown and Gold have needed 11 matches or fewer to win its first nine matches.
- The theme of the early season has been Valpo’s offensive production, and the storyline was the same on Saturday. Valpo tallied 54 kills in just three sets in the win over Bakersfield, hitting at a .372 clip. The 54 kills matched the most by Valpo in a three-set match since November of 2009.
- Valpo then hit over .300 yet again in its tournament finale, posting 63 kills on .308 hitting in the win over Cal Baptist. Four times this year, Valpo has hit at least at a .300 clip after doing so just once all last season.
- The offense was led by the pair of senior outsides in the win over CSUB, as Carlson posted 11 kills on .391 hitting and Ketcham 10 kills on .500 hitting. Hart added six kills on just 10 swings as well.
- Sophomore Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) dished out 41 assists versus the Roadrunners, while Cookerly led all players with 12 digs.
- Ketcham took the lead in the tournament finale, hitting .364 with 16 kills against Cal Baptist and chipping in 13 digs. Carlson also posted a double-double with 12 kills on .310 hitting and 12 digs.
- Cummings added nine kills versus the Lancers, while senior Sydney Bronner (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth) hit .444 with eight kills.
- Cookerly shared team-high honors with 16 digs with Anderson, who contributed 51 assists in the victory.
The All-Tournament Team
- With the tournament championship, Valpo earned three spots on an All-Tournament Team for the second straight weekend.
- Ketcham was tabbed MVP as she averaged 3.91 kills/set on .350 hitting and 4.09 digs/set for the weekend. The All-Tournament honors was the sixth of her career, and it was her second MVP award (2014 Crusader Classic).
- Carlson picked up her first career All-Tournament Team accolade as she posted 3.60 kills/set on .260 hitting and 2.70 digs/set over the three wins.
- Cookerly averaged a team-best 4.27 digs/set and committed just one serve reception error in the three matches, bringing home her second career All-Tournament Team award.
Valpo (9-2) returns to the ARC for the final weekend of non-conference play, welcoming Cornell, Western Illinois and Wright State for the Crusader Classic beginning on Friday.