The Crusaders dropped a tight game one and did not recover, falling 34-32, 30-21, 30-26 to tenth-ranked Notre Dame Wednesday night in Notre Dame, Ind.
Valpo jumped out early in game one, taking a 12-4 lead on the Irish before a 10-4 Notre Dame run made the score 16-14 Valpo. The two teams battled evenly from there, with the Irish not taking a lead until 32-31, and finishing the Brown and Gold off three points later. The Crusaders squandered three game points and a 27-24 lead late in the game.
Notre Dame, eighth in the nation in blocks per game, showcased their defense against Valpo, recording 16 blocks, nine solo in the match. The Crusader defense was not bad either, tying the Irish with 73 digs and recording seven blocks.
Amy Palash (Winfield, Ill./St. Francis) led the way for Valpo with 20 digs and 11 kills. Liz Mikos (Dundee, Ill./Jacobs) also reached double-digit kills with 10. Defensively, Lauren Moulton (Elgin, Ill./Larkin) and Jessie Fox (Granger, Ind./Penn) had five blocks apiece, while freshman Brittany Marks (Elkhart, Ind./Memorial) contributed 13 digs, 12 in the third game.
Adrianna Stasiuk and Lauren Kelby paced the Irish (12-1) with 13 kills. Lauren Brewster and Carolyn Cooper led the defensive charge with three solo blocks apiece.
Valpo (14-4) dropped its third match this year to a ranked opponent, and will return to the court Friday evening in Rochester, Mich. to take on Mid-Con rival Oakland. First serve is slated for 6:00 p.m.