The Valpo volleyball team took to the road for a matchup against Big Ten foe Illinois Tuesday evening, but fell to the host Fighting Illini, 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-19).
How It Happened
- Valpo started the opening set well, taking an early edge and leading by two on multiple occasions.
- The Beacons still led at 9-8 and were tied at 10-10 before Illinois went on a 7-1 run to pull away and eventually take the opener.
- Much like the first set, Valpo came out of the gate well for the second set, scoring three of the first four points.
- A run gave Illinois the lead, but the Beacons put together three points in a row to turn a 10-7 deficit into a 10-10 tie.
- Once again, it was at this point that Illinois put together a big run — this time an 8-2 run to put the set out of reach as the Illini took a 2-0 lead in the match.
- Illinois took control of set three from the start, scoring five of the frame’s first six points.
- A three-point run for the Beacons cut the UI lead to one at 8-7, and it was still just a one-point deficit at 10-9 before the Illini reeled off seven points in a row to go up 17-9.
- Unlike the first two sets, Valpo had one more run ready to go, as the Beacons scored nine of the next 13 points to slice the eight-point deficit to three points at 21-18. But Illinois scored four of the match’s final five points to end the contest.
Inside the Match
- Tuesday’s match was the first of two early-season matchups against Big Ten opponents for Valpo this season, as the Beacons will face Indiana on a neutral court in 10 days.
- Valpo used 15 players on Tuesday, as much like she did in the Beacons’ tournament finale against ULM last weekend, head coach Carin Avery continued to try out different lineups and players in different positions in early-season action.
- One season removed from setting Valpo’s single-season hitting percentage record, senior Mallory Januski (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais) had a stellar match on the attack Tuesday, putting down seven kills to tie for team-high honors. Januski did not commit an attack error on her 13 swings, finishing the night hitting at a .538 clip.
- Januski’s seven kills were matched by freshman Kennedy Arp (Byron Center, Mich./South Christian), who saw action in the final two sets and hit .429 with seven kills. Arp has taken 26 swings so far in college and has 16 kills versus just one attack error.
- Sophomore Emma Hickey (Granger, Ind./Penn) came up one dig shy of match-high honors, leading the Beacons with 11 digs.
Valpo (2-2) comes home to the ARC to host the Popcorn Classic this weekend. The two-day, six-match event kicks off Friday morning with the Beacons facing Western Illinois at 10 a.m. Valpo will take on Eastern Michigan Friday night as well at 6 p.m. All tournament matches will stream live on ESPN+.