The Valpo volleyball team made quick work of Missouri State Saturday evening to conclude its four-match road swing, sweeping the host Bears 3-0 (26-24, 25-13, 25-17). The Beacons won all four of their road matches in this two-weekend sweep and have now won five straight in conference play for the first time since joining the Valley.
How It Happened
- For the second straight night, it took extra points to decide a tight opening set, as Saturday’s opener featured 14 ties and seven lead changes. In fact, neither the Beacons nor the Bears held more than a two-point edge in the first set.
- Missouri State held a slight lead for much of the first half of the set before Valpo pushed to take control just past the halfway point. The Beacons held two-point leads at 16-14, 17-15, 18-16, 19-17 and 20-18, but all five times, MSU sided out to keep Valpo from making it a three-point edge.
- The final sideout led to four straight points for the Bears, turning the tables and giving MSU a 22-20 lead. Valpo responded with consecutive points, and an MSU kill was answered by a kill from fifth-year Bella Ravotto (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) to tie the frame at 23-all.
- The Bears earned the first set point with a kill making it 24-23, but that proved to be MSU’s final point of the set, as fifth-year Miranda Strongman (Wolverine Lake, Mich./Walled Lake Central [LIU]) finished the set with three consecutive kills to give Valpo the opener.
- Valpo held the advantage early in set two, getting out to a 9-6 lead as senior Mallory Januski (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais) had two blocks, a kill and a service ace in the early stretch.
- MSU scored back-to-back points to cut the Beacons’ edge to 9-8, but Valpo prevented the Bears from stringing together consecutive points the rest of the set, siding out on each of the Bears’ final six serves of the frame. The Beacons scored 16 of the final 21 points of the set to run away with the 2-0 lead in the match.
- A 6-0 run early in set three gave Valpo the lead for good en route to the sweep. MSU was able to close to within two points at 11-9, but the Beacons quickly shut the door on any thought of extending the match with five points in a row — three of which came on two kills and a solo block from Januski.
Inside the Match
- Saturday’s win extended Valpo’s current winning streak to five consecutive matches, its season-long winning streak.
- It is the first time Valpo has won five consecutive MVC matches since joining the Valley — the program had previously won four straight conference contests three times.
- The last time Valpo won five or more league matches in a row was a six-match winning streak in Horizon League play in 2013.
- This was the first time Valpo has played four consecutive true road matches since playing five in a row on the road in the spring 2021 season, and the first time in a “normal” season since 2017.
- This two-weekend stretch is the first time Valpo has played four or more true road matches in a row and won all of them since a six-match winning streak in 2008 which featured wins at Youngstown State, Cleveland State, DePaul, Loyola, UIC and Chicago State.
- Saturday’s win was just the third in program history at Missouri State and was the first road sweep of the Bears.
- Two of Valpo’s four victories in this road swing came in the minimum three sets, as the Beacons also won 3-0 at Indiana State. Prior to last weekend, Valpo’s last 3-0 road win in MVC play came at Indiana State on Oct. 5, 2019.
- The highlight on the stat sheet was the eye-popping 31 digs put up by sophomore libero Emma Hickey (Granger, Ind./Penn) despite the match going just three sets. Hickey’s sixth career match with 30 or more digs, the 31 digs ties for second-most in a three-set match in program history.
- The 31-dig effort leads all MVC players in three-set matches this year by a clear six digs, as Drake’s Jada Wills has two 25-dig matches in sweeps, as well as one from Illinois State’s Mari Hinkle.
- Ravotto posted 12 digs in Saturday’s win to move past Lori Barton for eighth all-time in Valpo history with 1,546 career digs.
- Once again, the balance on the attack helped the Beacons to the victory, as six players finished between six and 12 kills. Leading the way was redshirt sophomore Sam Warren (Kentland, Ind./South Newton), who surpassed her career high with 12 kills on .417 hitting while adding three blocks as well.
- Strongman tallied nine kills and hit at a .368 clip, while Ravotto and junior Elise Swistek (LaPorte, Ind./New Prairie) posted eight kills each.
- Januski added seven kills to go with a team-best four blocks and sophomore Maddie Moan (Woodstock, Ill./Woodstock [Milwaukee]) chipped in six kills as well.
- Senior Victoria Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) dished out 23 assists, while redshirt sophomore Addy Kois (Osceola, Ind./Penn) handed out 19 assists.
- The Beacons limited MSU to .103 hitting on the evening and held a 51-31 advantage in kills, the team’s first time with a 20-kill advantage since the win over Eastern Michigan in the Popcorn Classic in early September.
- Freshman Kendal Ramey (Crawfordsville, Ind./Western Boone) made her collegiate debut in the third set as a serving substitute.
Valpo (15-9, 7-4 MVC) returns home to the ARC after the grueling back-to-back road weekends and looks to extend its winning streak to six straight matches when it hosts Belmont Friday night at 6 p.m. The match can be seen live on ESPN+.