The Valpo volleyball team took a brief step away from early-season tournament action Wednesday night at Notre Dame, but a hard-fought three-set battle went the way of the Fighting Irish, 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-23).
How It Happened
- Valpo pulled out to a quick 3-0 lead in the opening set, but Notre Dame came back to take a lead it would not relinquish at 8-7.
- The Irish led by as many as six points in the opener on multiple occasions, the latest coming at 22-16. Valpo rallied to create late drama, going on a 5-0 run which included a kill and a block from freshman Kara Cooper (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte), to close to within one point.
- Notre Dame scored the next two points to earn set point at 24-21, but sophomore Jillie Grant (Maumee, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) came up with consecutive kills to make it 24-23. The Irish finished out the set on their third set point chance, however, on a kill by Lauren Wenzel.
- The second set saw Valpo hold a slight lead at the halfway point before Notre Dame scored 10 straight points to take control and eventually take a 2-0 lead in the match.
- The third set was back-and-forth throughout the first half of the frame, and again it was Valpo with a slim advantage halfway through. A three-point spurt, including a kill by junior Jaclyn Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon), gave the Brown and Gold some separation with a 16-13 lead.
- Much like set two, however, Notre Dame went on a long run. This one was an 8-1 spell which gave the Fighting Irish a 21-17 advantage.
- The teams traded sideouts for the next six points, giving ND match point at 24-20. But one point at a time, Valpo kept the match alive – first on a block by Bulmahn and junior Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton), then on an ND attack error, and then on a McCarthy kill. Finally, with Valpo having closed within one point, a long rally went the way of the Irish on a kill by Charley Niego to end the match.
Inside the Match
- Wednesday marked the 28th meeting all-time between Valpo and Notre Dame, one of the Crusaders’ most-common non-conference opponents in program history.
- Valpo’s offense was limited to 31 kills on .067 hitting on Wednesday, as the Irish held Valpo below a .100 hitting percentage in all three sets. Notre Dame finished with 46 kills on .176 hitting
- A pair of freshmen tied for team-high honors in kills. Cooper posted seven kills on .263 hitting while also recording a team-best three blocks. Meanwhile, Bella Ravotto (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) also amassed seven kills and added 12 digs while playing in front of a sizable hometown contingent.
- Junior Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) finished with her second consecutive double-double, tallying 16 assists and 13 digs.
- Junior Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) tallied a team-best 19 digs.
- The Valpo back row did its job in serve receive on Wednesday, as Notre Dame did not tally a single ace. Through four matches and 15 sets, Valpo has been aced just eight times so far this season.
Valpo (2-2) heads to Kent State’s Golden Flashes Classic this weekend. The tournament opens for the Crusaders with a pair of matches on Friday – 11 a.m. CT versus Idaho State, and then 6 p.m. CT against the hosts. Both matches will have live video and live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.