A game battle for second place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings went against the Valparaiso University volleyball team Friday night, as a short-handed Valpo squad fell at Illinois State by a 3-1 (25-15, 21-25, 25-22, 25-21) final.
How It Happened
- After Valpo claimed the first two points of the opening set, Illinois State scored the next five to take the lead for good. The Redbirds pulled away with a 6-2 run mid-set, which extended a two-point lead to six, and would push their advantage to the final margin to close the frame.
- Valpo led for most of the second set, but could not grow the lead over the three-point mark until late in the frame. With the edge sitting at just one point at 19-18, senior Lizzie Zaleski (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) came up with a kill, followed by a block from senior Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) and freshman Haley Hart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) which made it a 21-18 lead.
- An Illinois State attack error forced a Redbird timeout at 22-18, and out of the stoppage, Zaleski registered another kill to push the lead to five points. The teams traded side-outs to give Valpo set point at 24-19, and on its third chance, Hart converted a kill to even the match at one set apiece.
- Valpo never led outright in the third set, but would battle back late to make a contest of it. Illinois State led 18-13 before Valpo responded with six of the next seven points , including a pair of kills from senior Allison Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian), to even the set at 19-all.
- An Illinois State kill was answered with another kill by Ketcham as the score sat at 20-20. But the Redbirds finished out the set with five of the final seven points to take the 2-1 lead.
- The fourth set would be the most tightly contested of the match, as it featured 10 ties and four lead changes. ISU led for much of the first half of the frame and was up 14-12 before three straight Redbird errors gave Valpo the 15-14 lead.
- Valpo would push its lead to two points twice shortly thereafter, as it held 18-16 and 19-17 leads, but following the latter lead, Illinois State closed the match on an 8-2 run.
Inside the Match
- Friday’s loss was just Valpo’s second in a true road match this year, as it entered the night 6-1 in true road matches.
- Valpo played Friday without the services of senior middle Sydney Bronner (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth), who was sidelined due to injury.
- Hart filled in for Bronner in the middle, making her first career start and matching her career high with seven kills.
- Carlson paced Valpo up front with 15 kills on .262 hitting, while Ketcham tallied 13 kills as well.
- Sophomore Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) led Valpo’s effort on the back line with 16 digs. Carlson and Ketcham each recorded 13 digs to finish with double-doubles, while sophomore Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) also posted a double-double with 40 assists and 13 digs.
- Illinois State out-killed Valpo by a 66-48 margin on Friday night, matching Valpo’s largest deficit in the category in a match this year.
Valpo (18-4, 5-2 MVC) completes a tough road trip Saturday night at Bradley with a 7 p.m. first serve. The match can be seen live on ESPN3.