Valparaiso (4-6, 0-0 MVC)
at Jackrabbit Invitational (Brookings, S.D.) - 9/20-21
Friday, Sept. 20 - at South Dakota State (3-6) - 1 p.m.
vs. Kansas City (2-5) - 4 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 21 - vs. Milwaukee (8-1) - 10 a.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 24 - at Milwaukee - 6 p.m.
This Week in Valpo Volleyball: The Valpo volleyball team heads to Brookings, S.D. this weekend for its final early-season tournament of the 2019 campaign, as it takes part in South Dakota State’s Jackrabbit Invitational. Valpo will kick off tournament play against the hosts before taking on Kansas City and Milwaukee. The Brown and Gold then close out non-conference play on Tuesday with a mid-week rematch at Milwaukee.
Previously: Valpo posted a 1-2 mark at last weekend’s DePaul Invitational, earning a victory over Holy Cross before falling to Central Michigan and DePaul. Junior Jaclyn Bulmahn represented Valpo on the All-Tournament Team.
Looking Ahead: Valpo opens up MVC action next Friday, Sept. 27 with its second trip to Chicago this year, taking on Loyola. The home slate then opens up Monday, Sept. 30 versus defending conference champion UNI.
Following the Action: A pay video stream will be available for the match against South Dakota State, while the Tuesday match at Milwaukee will be broadcast live on ESPN3. Live stats for all four matches will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Carin Avery: In her 18th season as head coach at Valparaiso, Carin Avery has won 402 matches (402-184, .686) at the helm of the Crusaders and has led Valpo to three league regular season and tournament titles, as well as three NCAA Tournament appearances. A two-time league Coach of the Year, Avery has coached 59 All-League recipients over her tenure at Valpo. She is Valpo’s all-time leader in both victories and winning percentage, and owns a 457-208 (.687) record overall as a head coach.
Series History: South Dakota State - Valpo owns a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series with SDSU, and this marks Valpo’s second trip to the Jackrabbit Invitational in the last three seasons. Valpo swept the Jackrabbits in the most recent meeting on Sept. 2, 2017, highlighted by nine kills on .471 hitting from Ally Cummings.
Kansas City - Former Mid-Continent Conference opponents, Valpo holds a 22-8 advantage in the all-time series over the Roos. The two squads have met just once since Valpo left the Mid-Con - a 3-1 victory for Valpo on Sept. 5, 2014 in Brookings at that year’s iteration of the Jackrabbit Invitational.
Milwaukee - Former Horizon League rivals, the Panthers lead the all-time series over Valpo, 26-18. The two sides met regularly in the league tournament, battling seven times in Valpo’s 10 seasons as a league member, with Milwaukee holding a narrow 4-3 edge in those matchups.
Valpo Picked Seventh in Preseason Poll: In its third season of Missouri Valley Conference play, Valpo has been selected to finish in seventh place in the conference in 2019, acording to preseason polling of the conference’s head coaches. Valpo tallied 42 points in the polling, while UNI was a unanimous choice at the top, receiving all 10 first-place votes. Valpo has outperformed its preseason poll placement in each of its first two seasons in The Valley. In addition, junior Brittany Anderson was tabbed a preseason All-Conference selection.
Looking Back at 2018: Valpo enjoyed one of the best seasons in program history in 2018, winning 27 matches, tied for the second-most matches in program history. The Crusaders earned their first postseason berth since 2005 as they received an at-large bid to the NIVC, and took full advantage, winning a pair of matches to advance to the tournament quarterfinals - the first postseason victories in program history. Brittany Anderson earned First Team All-MVC honors, while Katherine Carlson was a Second Team selection.
What’s Back and What’s New: Valpo returns 10 letterwinners from last year’s 27-win squad, but is also replacing four starters from that team this season. Coach Avery welcomes a large contingent of newcomers as well, as nine new faces dot the Valpo roster this year - eight true freshmen and one senior transfer. In fact, the 19-player roster is not only the largest in Avery’s tenure, it is the largest in program history. It is also the largest roster among MVC teams this season.
Digging Deep: Each of the last two years has seen Valpo lead the nation in a digs category. Valpo led Division I in 2017 in digs/set nearly all season long, ending the year averaging 20.03 digs/set to lead the nation. Valpo’s 2017 campaign was only the second since the move to 25-point rally scoring in 2008 where a team averaged at least 20 digs/set, coming in behind only Penn’s 2012 season. Then last year, Valpo posted 2,613 digs to lead the country in total digs, setting not only a Valpo single-season record, but a Division I record in the 25-point rally scoring era. The Crusaders have a long tradition of strong defensive play, as they have ranked among the top-20 nationally in digs/set in each of the last nine seasons - including a sixth-place placement in 2015 and a fourth-place finish in 2010 in addition to 2017’s statistical championship.
Bulmahn Earns Accolade: Junior Jaclyn Bulmahn received the first All-Tournament Team honor of her career last weekend at the DePaul Invitational. Bulmahn averaged 3.00 kills/set on .258 hitting – both team-high marks – over the course of the three matches. She opeend the weekend with a team-high 10 kills in the win over Holy Cross, matched her then-career best with 11 kills and set a career high with five blocks against Central Michigan, and closed out the tournament with a career-high 12 kills on .480 hitting against DePaul.
Anderson Hits Milestone: The third set of the tournament finale last weekend against DePaul saw junior setter Brittany Anderson reach the 3,000-assist mark for her career. Anderson needed just 81 matches to hit the milestone and became just the sixth player in program history to have dished out at least 3,000 assists in a career. Anderson enters this weekend just 55 assists away from cracking the program’s career top-five in the category.
Cookerly Keeps Digging: Junior libero Rylee Cookerly is closing in on sixth place all-time in program history in career digs, which will leave her trailing just Valpo’s previous four liberos and Allison Ketcham. Cookerly tallied 61 digs over last weekend’s three matches, including a season-high 25 digs against Central Michigan, and now owns 1,611 career digs - just 42 shy of Sarah Dooms for sixth position. With two 20+ dig efforts last weekend, Cookerly has now tallied 20 or more digs in 39 career matches.
Doubling Up: Four Valpo players have combined to post 16 double-doubles through the season’s first 10 matches. Leading the way is sophomore outside hitter Jillie Grant, who owns six kills/digs double-doubles this year after never cracking 10 kills last season as a freshman. Junior setter Brittany Anderson has five assists/digs double-doubles, while her cohort setting in the 6-2, freshman Leah Pease, has two such double-doubles. Freshman outside Bella Ravotto has tallied three kills/digs double-doubles as well.
Avery Reaches 400: Valpo head coach Carin Avery hit another milestone in her distinguished career on Aug. 31, picking up her 400th win at the helm of the Valpo program as Valpo closed its first weekend of action with a win against IUPUI. Early in her 18th season as head coach at Valpo, Avery is far and away Valpo’s all-time leader in victories, as second place has just 92 wins. In fact, Avery has more wins in her time at Valpo than all of the program’s other head coaches combined (301).