November 11, 20221st2nd3rd4th5thFinal
0.161Hitting Pct.0.175
223Total Attacks229
Johnson - 15
KillsBoyer - 20
Camlin - 56
AssistsKois - 36
Sparks - 3
AcesBulmahn - 2
Januski - 2
Sparks - 30
DigsHickey - 42
Coggin - 5
BlocksJanuski - 8

November 12, 20221st2nd3rd4thFinal
Illinois St.251825273
0.24Hitting Pct.0.224
179Total Attacks165
Shadewald - 16
KillsKuckkan - 18
Weber - 25
AssistsKois - 30
Weimerskirch - 3
AcesBulmahn - 2
Weimerskirch - 28
DigsHickey - 24
Haith - 3
BlocksJanuski - 5
Volleyball Hosts Senior Night Saturday as Part of Home Weekend
Wednesday, November 9, 2022
Volleyball Hosts Senior Night Saturday as Part of Home Weekend
Jillie Grant is one of four Valpo players who will be honored on Senior Night.

Valparaiso (20-7, 8-7 MVC)
Friday, Nov. 11 - Bradley (9-18, 5-10 MVC) - 6 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 12 - Illinois State (11-15, 4-11 MVC) - 5 p.m.

Next Up For Valpo Volleyball: The Valpo volleyball team will play its final three matches of the regular season at home at the ARC, starting this weekend with matches against Bradley on Friday and Illinois State on Saturday. The match versus the Redbirds will serve as the program's Senior Night, as the Beacons honor four players wrapping up their collegiate careers.

Previously: Valpo split its final road trip of the regular season last weekend, winning at Belmont in four sets before falling in a five-set affair at Murray State. Mallory Januski was tabbed MVC Defensive Player of the Week after a record-setting blocking performance against the Racers.

Looking Ahead: Valpo closes the regular season next Wednesday, Nov. 16 at the ARC against travel partner UIC.

Following the Beacons: Both matches this weekend will be broadcast live on ESPN3. In addition, both matches will have live stats available via

Head Coach Carin Avery: In her 21st season as head coach at Valparaiso, Carin Avery has won 469 matches (469-224, .677) at the helm of the program and has led Valpo to three league regular season and tournament titles. The program has made five postseason appearances under Avery, including three NCAA Tournament appearances, and advanced to the championship match of the 2021 NIVC. A two-time league Coach of the Year, Avery has coached 58 All-League recipients over her tenure at Valpo, which has spanned three different conferences. She is Valpo’s all-time leader in both victories and winning percentage, and owns a 524-248 (.679) record overall as a head coach.

Series History: Bradley - A pretty even series, Valpo holds a slim 14-12 advantage over the Braves, including a 7-5 mark since joining the MVC. Earlier this season, the Beacons went up 2-0 in Peoria before Bradley rallied to force a fifth set, but Valpo won the final frame 15-9 to earn the 3-2 victory. Miranda Strongman hit .405 with a team-best 15 kills and five blocks in the win, while Elise Swistek and Mallory Januski added 14 kills apiece.

Illinois State - The Redbirds own a 12-4 advantage in the all-time series over Valpo. Earlier this year, the Beacons earned just their second victory in 12 matchups since joining the Valley, downing Illinois State in front of a crowd of over 3,200 fans in Normal, 3-1. Bella Ravotto led Valpo with 13 kills in that win. Defensively, Elise Swistek tallied 27 digs and Emma Hickey 23, while Miranda Strongman and Mallory Januski tied for match-high honors with seven blocks apiece.

Scouting the Opposition: Bradley - The Braves are in a battle to try to qualify for the MVC Tournament, currently sitting just outside the cut line at 5-10 in conference play and 9-18 overall. Kendall Minta ranks second in the Valley, averaging 1.10 blocks/set, while Carlee Camlin is ninth in the conference with 7.60 assists/set.

Illinois State - The Redbirds have work to do if they want to make the conference tournament, entering the weekend at 4-11 in MVC action and 11-15 overall. Kaity Weimerskirch is third in the Valley with 4.78 digs/set and Emily Weber ranks 10th with 7.08 assists/set.

Valpo Picked Fifth in Preseason Poll: The Beacons have been picked to finish in fifth place in the MVC standings in 2022 in preseason polling of the conference's head coaches. Valpo garnered 95 points in the polling, including one first-place vote, to rank fifth in a tight bunch in the middle of the pack. Valpo was just four points behind Bradley in fourth position, but on the other side, was just one point ahead of UNI in sixth place. Notably, Valpo has outperformed its preseason projection in each of its first five seasons in the Valley. Illinois State received five first-place votes and totaled 134 points to lead the poll ahead of Evansville (121 points, two first-place votes). UIC (3) and UNI (1) also picked up at least one first-place nod.

Looking Back at Last Season: Valpo enjoyed one of the top seasons in program history last year, finishing the campaign with a 26-10 record. The Beacons posted a 12-6 record in MVC action to finish tied for third place in the regular season standings - the program's best record in conference play and best finish since joining the Valley. Valpo then earned a berth in the NIVC and swept each of its first four matches to advance to the tournament championship match. Haley Hart was a First Team All-MVC recipient, while Peyton McCarthy and Rylee Cookerly each earned Second Team All-MVC honors. Cookerly also became the first student-athlete in program history to be named a CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American.

Another 20-Win Campaign: With their win over Belmont last Friday, the Beacons reached the 20-win mark this season. It's a milestone that has become routine for the program, yet still impressive in its totality as Valpo has now won 20 or more matches in 17 of Carin Avery's 21 seasons as head coach. Even more remarkably, one of the four seasons Valpo didn't reach 20 wins was the shortened spring 2021 campaign, when the program played just 20 matches total. The Beacons have also clinched their 19th winning season in Avery’s 21 seasons at the helm. In addition, Valpo has finished in the top half of the MVC standings in each of its first five seasons in the conference - a feat only matched by Illinois State - and has posted top-half conference finishes in 28 of the last 29 years.

A Look at the Standings: With three matches to play in the regular season, a lot is still up in the air for the Beacons. Valpo needs one more victory to officially clinch a berth in the MVC Tournament, as only the top eight teams in the standings qualify for the postseason. The Beacons enter the week in a tie for fifth place, with fourth place still within reach - a critical line of demarcation in the final standings, as seeds five through eight have to play in the tournament's opening round on Sunday, while three and four await the winners from the opening-round matchups on Monday.

2,000 Assists: Junior setter Victoria Bulmahn reached a career milestone in last Friday's win at Belmont, registering the 2,000th assist of her Valpo career on a Mallory Januski kill early in the fourth set against the Bruins. Bulmahn became just the 11th player in program history to hit 2,000 career assists. Fittingly, the setter reached the milestone in one of Valpo's strongest offensive matches of the year, as the Beacons hit .300 with 67 kills over the four sets, narrowly missing cracking the program's top-five for kills in a four-set match in the 25-point era.

Big Blocks From Januski: Junior middle Mallory Januski had a match-high five blocks in the Beacons' win over Belmont last weekend, but that proved to be just the appetizer prior to Saturday's main course at Murray State. In that match, Januski did something no Valpo player other than Hall of Famer Liz Mikos has accomplished, racking up an incredible 13 blocks - nearly doubling her previous career best of seven. It had been over 19 years since Mikos recorded the last of her three matches with 13+ blocks. Needless to say, Januski now holds the Beacons’ single-match high in the 25-point era, surpassing the previous mark of 11. Januski’s 13-block performance is also the highest tally by any MVC player since Meg Viggars registered 14 for Southern Illinois at Loyola on Oct. 30, 2015. Trailing two sets to none, Januski turned up the heat in sets three and four against the Racers to help extend the match to a fifth set. 10 of Januski’s 13 blocks came in sets three and four, including an incredible four rejections in a row with Valpo trailing 22-21 in the third set to close out the come-from-behind set win and send the match to set four.

Consistency From Hickey: A big part of Valpo's strength in the back row has been its run of standout liberos, and freshman Emma Hickey has slotted right into that role this season and maintained the prolificacy. Hickey continued to rack up the digs last weekend with match highs in both contests, posting 28 digs in the win over Belmont and 30 digs - her second match this year with 30+ digs - at Murray State. Hickey has registered 20 or more digs in 21 of Valpo's 27 matches. She ranks fifth nationally in digs/set, averaging 5.65 digs/set ‑ the only freshman among the top-50 in the nation - and is third nationally with 605 total digs - the second-most by a freshman in Valpo history and already in the top-40 MVC single-season dig totals with at least three matches remaining.

Record Book Watch: Hickey cracked Valpo's single-season top-10 in digs in the 25-point era with her performances last weekend, joining a few of her teammates who are in position to make moves onto the program's single-season top-10 charts. Hickey is only 56 digs away from moving into the overall top-10 in digs in a single season as well. Mallory Januski is on pace to easily best the program's single-season hitting percentage record, as her .357 clip would best the overall record of .334 (Nicole Schulz, 2006) and far surpass the 25-point era record of .307 (Kelsey Victor, 2014). Meanwhile, fellow middle Miranda Strongman might challenge that record as well, as she is now hitting .322 on the season. Also, with a team-best 26 service aces, Victoria Bulmahn is just four aces shy of moving into the top-10 in the 25-point era in that category.

Reaching Milestones: Bulmahn's 2,000th assist last weekend marked the second major statistical milestone reached by a Beacon player this season. Earlier this year, Bella Ravotto became the 23rd player in program history to record at least 1,000 career digs. With 1,224 digs entering this weekend, Ravotto currently ranks 18th in program history in that department.

Players of the Week: Not surprisingly, Mallory Januski was tabbed the MVC Defensive Player of the Week for her record-setting performance last weekend, her second weekly award of the season. Januski was named Player of the Week earlier this year after her MVP weekend at the Roadrunner Classic, making her the only MVC player to earn both PoW and DPoW honors this season. Emma Hickey has earned a trio of weekly awards from the MVC office this year to lead the Beacons, as she has twice been named Defensive Player of the Week to go with one Freshman of the Week honor, while Bella Ravotto was named Defensive Player of the Week Sept. 12. In all, Valpo players have earned six conference weekly accolades this season, and 27 in all since joining the MVC prior to the 2017 season.

Standout Performances: A number of standout efforts this year have cracked Valpo's single-match records, most recently Januski's blocking performance at Murray State. Led by Januski, Valpo posted 17 team blocks on Saturday, tied for fourth-most in a five-set match in the 25-point era.
Miranda Strongman hit .588 in Valpo's win at SIU Oct. 22 - the fifth-best hitting percentage in a four-set match in the 25-point era.
In Valpo's Oct. 8 win over Belmont, the Beacons totaled 117 digs - fourth-most in a five-set match by Valpo in the 25-point era. Valpo was led in that match by Emma Hickey, whose 37 digs are second-most by a freshman in program history and fifth in a five-set match in the 25-point era. And while it didn't impact the record book, Elise Swistek also had 31 digs in that match, as it was the first time in program history two Valpo players have both tallied 30+ digs in the same match.
Mallory Januski found her way into Valpo's record book in the UIW match Sept. 16, posting a hitting percentage of .688 - the second-highest in a five-set match by a Valpo player in the 25-point era.
It was a team performance which cracked the record book Sept. 9, as the Beacons posted 15.5 total team blocks in their win at Akron - fourth-most in a four-set match by a Valpo squad in the 25-point era.
On Sept. 3, senior Gretchen Kuckkan delivered 25 kills in Valpo's four-set win over Northern Illinois - tied for fourth-most in a four-set match by a Valpo player in the 25-point era and making her one of just five Valpo players to tally 25+ kills in any length match in the 25-point era.

Digging Deep: Valpo continued its long tradition of strong back row play last fall, finishing 15th nationally and leading the MVC with 17.13 digs/set. The program has ranked among the top-30 nationally in digs/set in each of the last 11 seasons, highlighted by the 2017 campaign in which it led the nation with 20.03 digs/set. Other top finishes include third nationally in the spring 2021 season (20.37/set), 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. It's been more of the same so far this year, as the Beacons are ranked ninth nationally and lead the MVC with 17.31 digs/set.

So Much Balance: It just goes to show how balanced this year's Valpo team is on the attack that you have to scroll all the way down to 30th place in the Valley to find the Beacons' top producer of kills per set so far this season - Kara Cooper, who's averaging 2.28 kills/set. Seven different players are averaging between 1.84 and 2.28 kills/set. The balance has been prevalent within MVC play as well, as seven different players are averaging at least 1.65 kills/set. In fact, Cooper's team-best average of 2.18 kills/set within MVC-only action doesn't even crack the top-30 in the conference.

Best Start: With the five-set win over UIW to open up the Roadrunner Classic, Valpo improved to 10-0 on the season, breaking a tie with the 2015 squad for the most consecutive wins to start a season in program history. The Beacons went on to start 12-0, the winningest start to a season by any current MVC program since Drake opened the 2010 campaign with 14 consecutive victories.

The Winning Streak: Of course, the 12-0 start meant that Valpo opened the season with 12 consecutive victories. This winning streak is one of six double-digit winning streaks in program history and stands alone as the fourth-longest all-time at Valpo. The 2004 team holds the program record with 14 consecutive wins, while the 2008 and 2014 squads both had streaks of 13 straight wins.

Winning Four Titles: Valpo's win at the Roadrunner Classic gave this year's team four in-season tournament titles this season, an unprecented accomplishment in the history of Valpo volleyball. Previously, Valpo had won three in-season tournaments on four occasions (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018). Valpo has now won 33 in-season tournament titles in head coach Carin Avery's 21 seasons at the helm of the program, including its home tournament seven times (out of 11 opportunities). The team has won at least one tournament in 16 of her 21 seasons, and multiple tournaments 11 times. Those tournament titles have come in 14 different states, with the Roadrunner Classic the first in program history in Texas.

All-Tournament Honors: Setters Victoria Bulmahn and Addy Kois joined MVP Mallory Januski on the All-Tournament Team at the Roadrunner Classic for their work running the Valpo offense. Perhaps apropos given the balance of this year's squad through the nonconference slate, nine different Beacons earned All-Tournament accolades at the three tournaments where an All-Tournament Team was named. Senior Gretchen Kuckkan was MVC of the Popcorn Classic and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by fellow seniors Maddy Boyer and Kara Cooper. On opening weekend at the Youngstown Invitational, sophomore Elise Swistek was awarded the MVP award, while senior Bella Ravotto and freshman Emma Hickey picked up All-Tournament accolades.

Leaving a Strong Legacy: Valpo graduated five seniors from last year's squad, a group which was integral in the program's transition into the Missouri Valley Conference and made a pair of postseason appearances. The group of Brittany Anderson, Rylee Cookerly, Gabby Daniels, Haley Hart and Peyton McCarthy combined for eight All-Conference honors and led the Beacons to the championship match of the NIVC in their final season at Valpo. They enjoyed numerous individual accolades as well, highlighted by Cookerly - the two-time MVC Libero of the Year finished her collegiate career as the Valpo and the MVC career record holder in digs and ranks second in NCAA D-I history. McCarthy ranks second all-time at Valpo in blocks and eighth in kills - the only player in the top-eight in both categories - while Anderson is third in program history in career assists and Hart sixth in career hitting percentage.

Who's Back: Despite the loss of such a talented group, the Beacons do return plenty of experience, as 10 letterwinners from last year's squad are back in 2022. One spot Valpo returns plenty of experience is on the pins. Outside hitters Bella Ravotto and Elise Swistek and right sides Maddy Boyer and Kara Cooper were all starters throughout MVC play and in the NIVC last season. In addition, outside hitter Jillie Grant and Gretchen Kuckkan were starters during the non-conference portion of the schedule before suffering injuries right around the start of MVC action. While Valpo loses Cookerly out of the back row, the Beacons still enter 2022 with a strong back line. Ravotto averaged over three digs per set last year, is nearing 1,000 digs for her career and was MVC Defensive Player of the Week during the spring 2021 season when filling in for a weekend at libero. In addition, Swistek averaged over three digs per set as a rookie last season as well. Meanwhile, at setter, Victoria Bulmahn split time setting with Anderson in a 6-2 last season after earning MVC Freshman of the Year accolades for the spring 2021 season setting full time in a 5-1.

Who's New: The roster is rounded out by seven newcomers to the active roster. Setter Addy Kois and hitter Sam Warren both redshirted last fall in their first season at Valpo. The Beacons welcome a pair of transfer middles to the squad - senior Miranda Strongman (LIU) and junior Olivia Blackketter (Winthrop). Three freshmen round out the newcomers, highlighted by Emma Hickey - the first AVCA High School All-American to sign with Valpo in program history. Outside Sophia Foster and middle Claire Campbell enter their first collegiate season as well.

Conference Honorees: While Victoria Bulmahn was named MVC Freshman of the Year during the spring 2021 campaign and transfer Miranda Strongman was a Second Team All-NEC choice that same season, this year's roster features zero players who have earned First or Second Team All-Conference accolades in the Valpo uniform. The last time Valpo entered a season with no players who had been named First or Second Team All-Conference at Valpo was the 2006 season - that year's team ended up featuring future Valpo Athletics Hall of Famer Angie Porché as a freshman.