Valparaiso suffered its first loss in seven matches Tuesday night, falling in three straight games to IPFW (30-26, 30-24, 30-21) in Fort Wayne, Ind.
The Mastodons started the match strong, taking a 7-1 lead in game one and extending the lead to as many as eight points. Valpo managed to rally back, however, slowly cutting into the IPFW lead and finally tying the score at 23. But the Crusaders were unable to gain an edge, as IPFW took five of the next seven points on its way to taking the game.
The Crusaders began the second game on top, but the Mastodons quickly took control, gaining an eight-point edge at 20-12. Valpo would get no closer than six the rest of the game, as IPFW went up two games to none. The Mastodons came out in game three much like they did in game one, going up five points early and never letting Valpo close the gap to less than two points.
IPFW held a slight edge in both kills (42-41) and digs (56-54) over the Crusaders. The Mastodons took advantage of 12 total team blocks, to Valpo's 5.5, and also recorded seven service aces.
Amy Palash (Winfield, Ill./Saint Francis H.S.) led the Crusader offense with 11 kills, while Lauren Moulton (Elgin, Ill./Larkin H.S.) added ten of her own. Alex Chism (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central H.S./Miami University) and Brittany Marks (Elkhart, Ind./Memorial H.S.) tied for team-high honors with 12 digs. Jessie Fox (Granger, Ind./Penn H.S.) had four blocks in the losing effort.
IPFW (19-5) got double-doubles out of Fabiana Souza (16 digs, ten kills) and Cynara Martins (11 kills, ten digs). Souza also recorded seven blocks, while Claire Jackson had a match-high eight rejections, including three of the solo variety. Valparaiso (21-6, 10-1 Mid-Con) returns to the ARC Friday night to take on Oakland in a key Mid-Continent Conference matchup. First serve is slated for 7 p.m. The game will be tape-delayed for broadcast on WVUR, 95.1 FM, and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics, starting immediately after the conclusion of the women's soccer Mid-Con semifinal.