The Valparaiso University volleyball team rallied twice from one-set deficits Friday night at the ARC against Bradley and earned match point against the Braves in the fifth set, but couldn’t complete the come-from-behind win, as Bradley pulled out a 3-2 (25-23, 19-25, 25-19, 22-25, 16-14) victory. Senior Allison Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) moved into the program’s all-time top-10 for career kills in the third set Friday.
How It Happened
- The start of the fifth set was a tale of two runs, as Bradley reeled off the first four points to force a Valpo timeout. The Brown and Gold came right back with six in a row, however, courtesy of two kills apiece from freshman Haley Hart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) and senior Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) and two aces by Ketcham, to go up 6-4.
- Valpo extended its lead to 9-6 on a kill from sophomore Ally Cummings (Novi, Mich./Novi), the first of three times the advantage would be three points. Valpo pushed its lead to three points for the third time at 12-9 following back-to-back kills by Ketcham.
- Consecutive points for the Braves cut the lead to 12-11 before sophomores Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) and Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) teamed up on a big block to make it 13-11.
- A service error again brought Bradley back within one, but Hart picked up her third kill of the set to give Valpo match point at 14-12. But a service error and an attack error by the Crusaders tied things up at 14-all, and Bradley’s Erica Haslag tallied kills on the next two points to give the Braves the win.
- Valpo forced a fifth set by coming out on top in the fourth frame. The Brown and Gold turned an early 7-5 deficit around with a 7-1 run, going ahead 12-8. Bradley responded with five of the next six points to tie the frame at 13-13, but Valpo answered with five of the next seven to reclaim the lead for good.
- Valpo led 18-17 late in the first set before Bradley took control with a 6-1 run and held off the Crusaders down the stretch. Valpo led start to finish in the second set, but then committed 10 attack errors in the third set as the Braves enjoyed a 2-1 lead through three frames.
Inside the Match
- Valpo has now gone five sets in three of its last five MVC matches after going the distance in just one of its first 10 conference matches this season.
- Bradley ended the night with a 59-56 advantage in the kills column and hit .166 to Valpo’s .114 clip. Valpo did tally 13 team blocks in out-blocking the Braves by five, its third-highest block total of the season.
- Ketcham picked up her ninth kill of the match in the third set to move into the program’s career top-10 for kills with her 1,134th career termination. The senior ended the night with 1,143 kills.
- Ketcham and Carlson are the only classmates in program history to both rank within the top-10 for career kills.
- Ketcham is now one of just two players to rank among Valpo’s all-time top-10 in both career kills and career digs, joining Valpo Athletics Hall of Famer Lori Barton.
- Cracking that chart was just part of a strong night for Ketcham, who led Valpo with a season-high 18 kills and picked up 23 digs, just one off her season best. She also matched a career high with four service aces.
- Continuing to block middle in her time up front at the net, Anderson easily set a new career high for blocks, finishing the evening with a match-best eight rejection to go with 47 assists and nine digs.
- Carlson picked up a double-double with 13 kills and 16 digs. She enters Saturday with 1,159 career kills, just five shy of eighth place in program history.
- Cummings closed the night with nine kills, seven digs and four blocks, while McCarthy came off the bench with five rejections.
- Sophomore Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) led Valpo’s back-row effort with 26 digs and now sits at 571 digs on the season – just 15 shy of Valpo’s single-season top-10 in the category.
Valpo (22-8, 9-6 MVC) faces a stern test Saturday night as it hosts first-place Illinois State. It will be Senior Night at the ARC, as the program honors the five members of its senior class.