The Valpo volleyball team opened its spring 2021 home schedule in style Monday afternoon at the ARC, putting together a strong offensive performance to claim a 3-1 (27-25, 25-18, 22-25, 25-21) victory over Loyola in MVC play. Three Valpo players finished the match in double figures in kills, led by 16 from senior Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton).
How It Happened
- Much like Valpo’s Friday afternoon match against Butler, the first set was extremely tight, featuring an astounding 18 ties and six lead changes. Valpo’s largest lead came at 12-9 after a three-point spurt, while Loyola never owned more than a two-point edge in the opener.
- Trailing 21-20 late, the key back-to-back points came for Valpo on a setter dump from freshman Victoria Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) and a Loyola error to regain the lead.
- The teams then started trading kills over the next eight points. A McCarthy kill gave Valpo set point at 24-23, but the Ramblers got a kill of their own to send the set into extra points. The senior followed with another kill, and Valpo finished off the set on its second attempt thanks to a Loyola attack error.
- After a tight first set, the second frame proved to be less stressful at the end, as Valpo used a .394 hitting percentage in the set to lead almost the entire way.
- The key stretch in the second set started with Valpo owning a 12-10 lead, as it extended the lead to six points with a 6-2 spurt which included three kills by McCarthy.
- The Ramblers scored the next three to close within 18-15, but the Brown and Gold responded with three of the next four to keep Loyola at bay. A kill from junior Jillie Grant (Maumee, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) on the first set point attempt closed out the frame in Valpo’s favor and put it up two sets to none.
- Loyola scored the first five points of the third set and looked like it would take the set late, leading by four at 21-17 before a Valpo run. Senior Jaclyn Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) started the run with a kill, which was followed by back-to-back blocks by senior Ally Cummings (Novi, Mich./Novi) and junior Haley Hart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East).
- A service ace by Victoria Bulmahn tied the set for the first time since the opening serve, and when Jaclyn Bulmahn tallied another kill, Valpo had taken its first lead of the frame at 22-21.
- Loyola had the final push in the third set, however, as it scored the final four points to push the match to a fourth set.
- The fourth set started with Valpo scoring five of the first six points before Loyola responded with four straight of its own, the first of multiple times throughout the set that the Brown and Gold tried to pull away, but were reeled back in by the Ramblers.
- Finally, leading 19-16, Valpo surrendered a 5-1 run as Loyola gained its first lead of the set at 21-20.
- But just as the Ramblers looked poised to potentially send the match the distance, Valpo put together one final push to close out the victory. Kills from Jaclyn Bulmahn and Hart started the run, and a Loyola attack error made it 23-21.
- Cummings and Hart then combined on yet another rejection to make it match point for Valpo, and a final Rambler error closed the match in Valpo’s favor.
Inside the Match
- The match closes out Valpo’s home-and-home series with Loyola to open the MVC schedule, with each squad winning on its home floor.
- Despite having to play out of system last week, Valpo pushed Loyola to five sets in the opener in Chicago before coming back and defeating the Ramblers on Monday. This comes one season after the Ramblers swept both matches 3-0 from Valpo.
- Valpo’s offense hit at a .242 clip in Monday’s win and owned a 58-52 advantage in kills over Loyola.
- McCarthy led all players with 16 kills on .333 hitting, her best offensive effort of the year so far, and tallied four blocks as well.
- Both middles were cooking on offense Monday, as Hart notched 12 kills on .308 hitting. The junior was strong on both sides of the ball, coming up one shy of her career high as she finished with seven blocks.
- Cummings matched Hart with seven rejections in the win, setting her career best in the process. The duo’s prowess at the net led the way as Valpo totaled 11 team blocks Monday, its second double-figure effort in the category in as many matches with Loyola this season.
- Jaclyn Bulmahn rounded out Valpo’s trio of attackers with 10+ kills as she hit .393 with 12 kills in the win.
- Playing just the second match of her collegiate career, setter Victoria Bulmahn registered 50 assists and 13 digs for her first career double-double.
- For the 50th time in her career, senior Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) tallied at least 20 digs, as she led all players with 23 digs on Monday.
- Grant posted 14 digs and also was strong on serve receive, as 13 of her 24 serve receptions were transitioned immediately into kills. Sophomore Bella Ravotto (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) picked up 11 digs as well as Valpo out-dug Loyola by 10.
Valpo (2-1, 1-1 MVC) continues Valley play next weekend with a two-game series at Missouri State. The first match will be played on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.