opened its second weekend of play the same way it closed out the
opening weekend, defeating USC Upstate 3-1 (25-12, 20-25, 25-11,
25-12) in the opener of the Appalachian Invitational in Boone, N.C.
Friday afternoon for its fourth straight victory.
Crusaders got the job done on both sides of the ball Friday, hitting
a stellar .304 offensively with 60 kills over the 40 sets.
Defensively, Valpo matched its season-high with 10 blocks to help
hold the Spartans to .087 hitting and just 33 kills.
pair of kills from Katie Britton (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) and
a solo block by Tara Diebler (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin
Central) gave Valpo the first three points of the match as it would
never trail in the opening set. The early lead was extended to 9-3
and the Crusader advantage never fell below four points the rest of
the way to take a 1-0 lead. USC Upstate turned the tables in the
second set to even the match, jumping out to an 8-3 advantage and
holding off a late Crusader run that cut the lead to three points at
Upstate hung around for a while in the third set, as at the midway
point of the frame, Valpo led by just two at 12-10. But the Spartans
committed a service error and the Crusaders would need just two
servers the remainder of the set. Andrea Balsis (Benton
Harbor, Mich./Coloma) got the big run going with a service ace and
the Crusaders then got kills on each of the next five points, three
off the hand of Val Bollenbacher (Bremen, Ind./Bremen).
Spartan kill cut the edge to 19-11, but Sarah Dooms (Greenwood,
Ind./Center Grove) answered with a kill of her own and Diebler
stepped back and served the final five points to help the Crusaders
close the set with a 13-1 run. The final set was almost completely
anti-climactic, as Valpo's momentum rolled into the fourth frame to
the tune of a quick 13-3 lead and the Crusaders cruised to the win.
had a standout match on both sides of the ball Friday, tying for
match-high honors with 11 kills while hitting .400 and also tallying
five blocks. Britton also tallied 11 kills, while Bollenbacher
needed just 17 swings to register nine terminations, good for .529
hitting. Bollenbacher and Katie Layman (LaPorte, Ind./New
Prairie) each posted four blocks as well.
continued her stellar job running the Crusader offense, posting a
double-double with 43 assists and 13 digs. The junior also hit .357
with six kills and chipped in on a trio of blocks. Taylor Root
(Jenison, Mich./Jenison) led all players in the back row with 22
digs. Mindy Quimby paced USC Upstate (1-3) with 11 kills.
(4-1) will attempt to extend its winning streak on Saturday with a
pair of matches to close the Appalachian Invitational. The Crusaders
face Eastern Kentucky at 9 a.m. CDT before taking on the host
Mountaineers to close tournament play at 6 p.m. Both matches can be
heard live on WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso and online at
which will also have links for live stats.