The Valpo volleyball team found itself on the wrong end of a three-set match for the first time this year on Saturday evening, as host Evansville earned a 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-22) victory in the regular season’s penultimate match.
How It Happened
- Evansville took the lead for good in the opening set with an early five-point run.
- Trailing 14-9, Valpo strung together four straight points — including a kill and a block from junior Haley Hart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) — to close to within one. But Evansville scored the next three, and Valpo never got back to within one point in the opening set.
- The two squads vied for control early in a second set that featured nine tie scores. With the score 11-11, the Purple Aces reeled off four consecutive points to pull ahead 15-11.
- Valpo came right back with the next four points, two of which were courtesy of kills by senior Jaclyn Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon), to tie the set at 15-15.
- Evansville closed the second set on a 10-2 run to take the 2-0 lead in the match.
- Senior Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) got off to a huge start to the third set, recording four kills and a block during an early 7-0 run which gave Valpo a 9-5 lead.
- Valpo had a 16-12 advantage before Evansville scored five in a row to take its first lead since early on in the frame. Valpo responded with five of the next six points — including two blocks by McCarthy — to lead 21-18 in its attempt to extend the match.
- But the final run of the match closed out the Purple Aces’ sweep, as Evansville went on a 7-1 run to finish the third set.
Inside the Match
- The loss was the first in straight sets for Valpo this year, which entered the weekend with a 4-0 record in three-set contests this spring.
- The Brown and Gold now sit at 9-8 in Valley play, and combined with Saturday’s other results, will end up as either the fifth or sixth seed for next week’s MVC Championship.
- McCarthy led Valpo at the net on both sides of the ball Saturday, posting 15 kills on .333 hitting and setting a season best with six blocks.
- McCarthy was the only Valpo player with more than seven kills, however. The Brown and Gold tallied a season-low 33 kills as a team, while their .117 hitting percentage was the squad’s worst since the season’s second match.
- Freshman Victoria Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) handed out 30 assists on Saturday.
- Senior Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) notched a match-high 18 digs, moving past Missouri State’s Emily Butters for third place in MVC history and moving up to 16th in NCAA history with 2,494 career digs.
- Senior Melissa Flynders (Mokena, Ill./Providence Catholic) added 10 digs as well.
Valpo (10-9, 9-8 MVC) closes the regular season against the Purple Aces on Sunday. First serve is slated for 4 p.m., and the match can be seen live on ESPN+.