November 05, 20211st2nd3rdFinal
Loyola Chicago2116240
LoyolaTeam StatsVALPO
0.116Hitting Pct.0.218
112Total Attacks101
Barnes - 9
Ajanovic - 9
KillsHart - 10
Appel - 18
AssistsAnderson - 21
Barnes - 1
Venuto - 1
Murczek - 1
AcesMcCarthy - 2
Bulmahn - 2
Hinchman - 16
DigsCookerly - 12
Watson - 4
BlocksMcCarthy - 4
Cooper - 4
Hart - 4
Volleyball Hosts Loyola Friday Night
Wednesday, November 3, 2021
Volleyball Hosts Loyola Friday Night
Abby Boyle and her teammates look to remain perfect at home this year on Friday.

Valparaiso (17-7, 8-5 MVC)
Friday, Nov. 5 - Loyola (16-4, 6-3 MVC) - 6 p.m.

This Week in Valpo Volleyball: Just one match is on the docket for the Valpo volleyball team this week, but it’s a big one, as conference-leading Loyola comes to town. The Beacons look to remain perfect on their home court at the ARC this season with just three home matches remaining.

Previously: Playing three matches in four days, Valpo came away with a 2-1 record last weekend. The weekend opened with a 3-1 victory at Evansville on Friday before the Beacons fell 3-1 to Indiana State on Saturday. Returning home to the ARC, Valpo took down UNI by a 3-1 final Monday evening.

Looking Ahead: The penultimate weekend of the regular season features Valpo’s final two home matches next weekend, as the Beacons host Illinois State on Friday, Nov. 12 and Bradley on Saturday, Nov. 13.

Following the Beacons: Friday’s match against the Ramblers can be seen live on ESPN3. Links for the live video, as well as live stats for all matches, are available via

Head Coach Carin Avery: In her 20th season as head coach at Valparaiso, Carin Avery has won 440 matches (440-214, .673) at the helm of the program 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 55 All-League recipients over her tenure at Valpo. She is Valpo’s all-time leader in both victories and winning percentage, and owns a 495-238 (.675) record overall as a head coach.

Series History: The second-most common opponent in program history, Valpo and Loyola will meet on the volleyball court for the 52nd time on Friday evening. The Ramblers hold a 31-20 advantage in the all-time series, but Valpo leads the series 17-9 under Coach Avery and is 5-4 since joining the MVC. In the first meeting of the season last month in Rogers Park, Loyola prevailed in straight sets. Peyton McCarthy led Valpo with 11 kills on .360 hitting in that contest, while Haley Hart posted six blocks.

Scouting the Opposition: The Ramblers enter Friday night’s match atop the MVC standings with a 12-1 record in conference play and are 19-6 overall, most recently earning a trio of wins over Indiana State (3-0), Evansville (3-2) and Drake (3-0) last weekend. Loyola’s lone loss in conference came in a 3-1 defeat at Illinois State. Taylor Venuto leads the conference in hitting percentage (.370) and ranks second in blocks/set (1.24), while Grace Hinchman sits fourth in digs/set (4.45).

Valpo Picked Seventh in Preseason Poll: For the fourth time in five seasons as an MVC member, Valpo has been picked to finish in seventh place in the conference standings in preseason polling of the conference’s head coaches. Illinois State topped the poll with 79 points and three first-place votes, narrowly edging out Drake, which tallied 77 points, including three first-place votes. Valpo has outperformed its ranking in the preseason poll in each of its first four seasons in the MVC and is one of two programs (Illinois State) to post top-half finishes in the MVC standings in each of the last four seasons.

Looking Back at the Spring: The spring 2021 campaign saw Valpo post an 11-9 record and finish fifth in the MVC standings with a 10-8 mark in conference action. Rylee Cookerly repeated as MVC Libero of the Year, was named the MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and was an AVCA All-Region honoree, while Victoria Bulmahn was tabbed the MVC Freshman of the Year. Included among Valpo’s 11 wins were the program’s first victory over Illinois State since joining the MVC and the first wins in program history over traditional power UNI.

Who’s Back and Who’s New: The Beacons return 10 letterwinners, including four starters and the libero, from the spring 2021 campaign - a group which accounted for 75% of the team’s kills, 90% of aces, 82% of digs and 86% of blocks last season. Valpo also returns a pair of players who didn’t see action last season, while welcoming in one transfer and four freshmen.

Digging Deep: Valpo continued its long tradition of strong back row play in the spring 2021 season, finishing the season ranked third nationally and second in the Valley with 20.37 digs/set. Valpo has ranked among the top-30 nationally in digs/set in each of the last 10 seasons, including leading the nation with 20.03 digs/set in 2017 to go along with a fourth-place rank in 2010 and a sixth-place finish in 2015. Since the move to 25-point scoring, only seven teams have averaged more than 20 digs/set over the course of a season, and Valpo is the only program to have done it twice. 2018 saw Valpo lead the nation with 2,613 total digs - a mark which set a program single-season record and a Division I record in the 25-point era. Valpo currently sits 28th nationally in digs/set this season with 16.68/set and leads the MVC in the category.

Next Up, 20 Wins: With a 17-7 record, the 2021 Valpo squad has clinched a winning record, something which has been a standard for this program. This marks the program’s 18th winning season in head coach Carin Avery’s 20 seasons at the helm. Next up would be another run at the 20-win milestone, something Avery’s teams have accomplished 15 times.

Open the Record Book: Valpo’s win at Evansville last Friday evening was notable on multiple fronts. As a team, Valpo hit at a .261 clip, allowing it to overcome the Purple Aces’ .339 hitting percentage - the highest known hitting percentage by the opposition in a Valpo victory in program history. Individually, Peyton McCarthy needed just 17 swings to tally 14 kills and finished the night hitting .706 - a career-best clip. The .706 mark was the best single-match percentage by an MVC player this season, and is second-best in Valpo history for a four-set match, surpassed by only Morgan Beil’s .737 clip against Cleveland State in 2014. It is the first time an MVC player has hit better than .700 in a four-set match since Illinois State’s Emily Schneider did so in 2014.

Glance at the Standings: With just five matches remaining in the regular season, the chase for the six postseason tournament berths and tournament seeding is heating up. Valpo currently sits in fourth place in the MVC standings at 8-5, three games clear of seventh place. The Beacons are currently one game back of Bradley in third place and are a half-game up on fifth-place Evansville.

Chasing .300: Only four players in program history have posted a hitting percentage of .300 or better for a full season, and only two of those efforts have come in the rally-scoring era. But both of Valpo’s middles this year are currently on pace to better that mark. Propelled by her big performance against Evansville, Peyton McCarthy is currently hitting .314 on the season, while Haley Hart enters Friday’s match with Loyola hitting .305 this season.

Cookerly Continues to Dig: Fifth-year libero Rylee Cookerly has checked numerous milestones off her lists of things to chase this season. First, she broke Valpo’s career digs record, previously held by Taylor Root, on Sept. 24 at Southern Illinois. One week later, on Oct. 1 against Indiana State, Cookerly surpassed former Illinois State standout Courtney Pence as the MVC’s career digs record holder. Finally, the next night against Evansville, Cookerly moved past Minnesota’s Paula Gentil for second place in NCAA history in career digs. The two-time MVC Libero of the Year next has her sights on the 3,000 career dig milestone, a mark which she enters this weekend 35 digs shy of after totaling 51 digs in the three matches last weekend. Cookerly currently ranks 34th nationally with an MVC-best 4.85 digs/set.

McCarthy Stands Out: Fifth-year middle Peyton McCarthy had standout performances both offensively and defensively over Valpo’s three matches last weekend. In addition to the aforementioned performance against Evansville, she hit .448 with a match-best 16 kills in the win over UNI. Thanks in large part to those two efforts, McCarthy not only boosted her season hitting percentage to .314, she improved her career hitting percentage to .254, among the top-10 in program history. Meanwhile, McCarthy continued her strong effort on the block, highlighted by an eight-block night at Indiana State to match her season best. McCarthy pushed her career total to 418 rejections and moved into fourth in program history in the category, just three blocks shy of third.

Hart Racks Up the Kills: Perhaps overshadowed a bit by McCarthy’s historic night on the attack against Evansville was fellow middle Haley Hart, who had a strong night of her own, tallying a team-best 15 kills on .385 hitting. She followed with a team-high 11 kills the next night against Indiana State, and was right there with McCarthy on Monday, totaling 14 kills on .444 hitting. Since the start of MVC play, Hart is hitting .318 and registering a team-best 3.00 kills/set. She has boosted her career hitting percentage to .263, currently tied for fourth place in program history.

Moving On Up: Fifth-year setter Brittany Anderson tallied 61 assists over Valpo’s three matches last weekend, pushing her career total to 4,365 helpers. Anderson moved up three more spots on the MVC’s career assists chart, cracking the top-15 in conference history in Monday’s win over UNI. She also currently ranks 11th among active D-I players in career assists.

All the Honors: Seven different Valpo players received All-Tournament Team accolades over its four early-season tournaments this season. Juniors Bella Ravotto (MVP) and Gretchen Kuckkan picked up awards for their play at the SIUE Cougar Classic. Senior Jillie Grant represented the Beacons on the All-Tournament Team at Toledo in the third weekend of action. In the second weekend of play at Tennessee Tech, fifth-year middle Peyton McCarthy was named Tournament MVP (and went on to be named MVC Player of the Week) and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by fifth-year setter Brittany Anderson and sophomore setter Victoria Bulmahn. In the opening weekend at Milwaukee, McCarthy and senior middle Haley Hart earned spots on that All-Tournament Team.