Valparaiso rode a season-high .392 hitting percentage to a 30-22, 30-22, 30-22 sweep of UMKC Friday night in Kansas City, Mo., the Mid-Continent Conference opener for both teams.
Amy Palash (Winfield, Ill./St. Francis) led the Crusader charge, hitting .462 and recording a match-high 16 kills. Lauren Moulton (Elgin, Ill./Larkin) also recorded double-digit kills with 10 while hitting a sizzling .562. Valpo hit .485 in the first game, cooled down to .211 in the second game, and then hit .516 in the third game, recording 20 kills on 31 attacks. For the match, every Crusader with at least eight attacks hit better than .267.
The Valpo (10-3, 1-0) defense was solid also, coming up with 14 blocks led by four from all-time blocks leader Liz Mikos (Dundee, Ill./Jacobs). The Crusaders also got eight total aces from five different players and another solid effort from Katie Bova (Milwaukee, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels) who had seven kills, a match-high 45 assists, and seven digs.
Vanessa Portela and Sarah Johnson led the way for UMKC (2-9, 0-1) with 15 and 10 kills respectively.
The win was the Crusaders' 21st consecutive Mid-Con victory dating back to 2003 and including back-to-back conference tournament titles. Valpo stays on the road Saturday, looking for another conference win at Western Illinois. First serve is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.