Down a pair of regulars and having to change their offensive system for the first time this year, the Valpo volleyball team fought gamely Friday evening at Missouri State before falling to the Bears, 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-17).
How It Happened
- Missouri State jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead in set one before Valpo rallied with six straight points — three coming from kills by Miranda Strongman (Wolverine Lake, Mich./Walled Lake Central [LIU]) — to even the set at eight apiece.
- The Bears scored the next three as part of a larger 8-2 run, as they pulled ahead 16-10. Valpo moved to within three points multiple times later in the set, but got no closer than that as MSU took the opening set.
- Two kills from Kara Cooper (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) and a kill and a service ace by Bella Ravotto (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) were part of an opening stretch to set two which had Valpo on top 7-4 before MSU took control of the frame with an 11-2 run.
- The Bears earned set point in the second set at 24-19. Valpo held off four opportunities to pull to within 24-23, but MSU came through with a block on its fifth chance to take the 2-0 lead in the match.
- Valpo never led in the third set, as an early 8-2 run from the Bears created separation at 11-5, and the Beacons got no closer than five points the rest of the way.
Inside the Match
- Valpo played Friday’s match without the services of outside hitter Elise Swistek (LaPorte, Ind./New Prairie) and setter Addy Kois (Osceola, Ind./Penn) due to illness.
- The absence of Kois was especially meaningful, as it forced the Beacons to play in a 5-1 offense — where one setter plays all six rotations — for the first time this season.
- Despite the system adjustment, Valpo’s offense posted numbers better than its MVC averages entering the match, as the Beacons tallied 39 kills on .197 hitting.
- Jillie Grant (Maumee, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) enjoyed her most prolific match since the start of Valley play, tallying a team-high 10 kills on .320 hitting.
- Strongman hit .471 with nine kills, while Gretchen Kuckkan (Lafayette, Ind./Central Catholic [Indiana State]) notched eight kills.
- Playing all the way around the rotation for the first time this year, Victoria Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) dished out 34 assists.
- Emma Hickey (Granger, Ind./Penn) continued her strong back-row play with a match-high 22 digs. Hickey, who is already just 11 digs shy of 500 for the season, has posted 20+ digs in 17 of Valpo’s 22 matches this year.
Valpo (17-5, 5-5 MVC) concludes a difficult stretch of four straight matches away from home on Saturday evening as the Beacons play at Southern Illinois at 5 p.m. The match can be seen live on ESPN3.