The Valpo volleyball team suffered its first home loss of the 2021 campaign on Friday evening, as visiting Illinois State came into the ARC and dealt the Beacons a 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 18-25, 25-14) defeat.
How It Happened
- Valpo got out to a quick start to the match, scoring five of the first six points in the opening set.
- Valpo’s lead was still three at 15-12 before Illinois State put together a 9-3 run to flip the score in its favor, 21-18.
- The Beacons scored three of the next four to move within one point at 22-21, but could not even the score as Illinois State took the opening set.
- Much like the first set, Valpo opened the second set with four of the first five points to take an early edge.
- The Redbirds turned a 9-5 Valpo advantage into a 14-11 lead of their own with a 9-2 run.
- Unlike the first set, Valpo was able to battle back to even the frame, turning a 19-15 deficit into a 20-20 tie with a 5-1 spurt.
- Illinois State scored the next four to earn set point at 24-20, but Valpo held off three chances thanks to kills from Elise Swistek (LaPorte, Ind./New Prairie) and Maddy Boyer (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) and a service ace from Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll). The Beacons were unable to fend off the fourth opportunity, however, as the Redbirds went up 2-0 in the match.
- Valpo never trailed in the third set, scoring six of the first nine points en route to leading by as many as seven points.
- Illinois State put together a 6-2 spurt to cut Valpo’s lead from 18-11 to 20-17, but Valpo would not let the Redbirds get any closer than that, scoring five of the final six points on three kills and a pair of service aces to extend the match.
- The fourth set would not be as favorable, however. Illinois State led from the outset, and after the Beacons rallied from a 10-4 deficit to close to within 11-9, a 14-5 stretch from the Redbirds closed out the match.
Inside the Match
- The home loss was the first of the season for Valpo after winning its first seven matches of the season at the ARC.
- Valpo now sits at 9-6 in conference play, one game up on Evansville for fourth place in the standings.
- Senior Haley Hart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) enjoyed a strong match on both sides of the ball, leading Valpo with 15 kills on .364 hitting and tying for team-high honors with five blocks.
- Hart was the only Valpo player with more than seven kills on the evening, however, as Valpo hit just .106 with 42 kills and was at a 12-kill disadvantage compared to the Redbirds.
- Anderson tied for match-high honors with 25 assists and registered three service aces.
- Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) notched a match-best 18 digs on Friday and moved within five digs of hitting the 3,000 mark for her career. Swistek added 16 digs as well to tie her season best.
- Kara Cooper (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) matched Hart for team-high honors with five blocks, just one off her career best.
Valpo (18-8, 9-6 MVC) looks to rebound with a win in its home finale on Saturday evening as the Beacons host Bradley at 6 p.m. It will be Senior Night at the ARC as Valpo honors the five players playing in their final home match.