The Valparaiso University volleyball team wasted little time in dispatching Chicago State in its opener at the ISU Classic in Terre Haute, Ind. on Friday afternoon, taking just over an hour to sweep the Cougars (25-17, 25-17, 25-13) behind one of the top offensive performances of the modern era.
Valpo hit at a staggering .419 clip for the match, tallying 45 kills on just 86 swings and committing just nine attack errors. The .419 hitting percentage is the Crusaders’ second-best mark in the category since the move to 25-point rally scoring prior to the 2008 season. The Crusaders were consistent offensively throughout the match Friday, hitting no worse than .387 and no better than .440 in any of the three frames.
Leading the way Friday was freshman Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep), who tallied a team-high 11 kills on just 18 attacks without committing an error – good for a .611 hitting percentage. Junior Rachel Bruinsma (New Era, Mich./Western Michigan Christian) was nearly perfect out of the middle as well, posting kills on eight of her nine swings for an .889 hitting percentage, while fellow junior Jamie Lacheta (Warsaw, Ind./Warsaw) hit .400 with seven kills.
Also on display Friday was the Crusaders’ proficiency from the service line. Valpo entered the weekend ranked sixth nationally in service aces per set, and will look to move up after the sweep of the Cougars, as the Crusaders posted 10 aces in the three-set win. Redshirt sophomore Tarrah Lasky (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) paced Valpo with four aces as six different Crusaders recorded at least one ace. It marked the fourth time this season Valpo has totaled at least 10 aces in a match.
The first set on Friday would be the closest, as Chicago State (0-11) was tied with Valpo at 15-15. But the Crusaders went on a 6-0 run, featuring kills from four different players, to gain breathing room and eventually take the opener. Both the second and the third frames saw Valpo break away from the Cougars with mid-set runs.
Senior Kelsey Berrington (Britton, Mich./Tecumseh) handed out 23 assists on Friday to go with 12 helpers from Lasky. Sophomore Allison Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) and junior Lexie Bouza (Elgin, Ill./Burlington Central) tied for match-high honors with eight digs apiece, while Bruinsma led all players with four blocks to go with her eight kills.
Valparaiso (11-1) looks for its third tournament title of the season on Saturday as the Crusaders close out play from Terre Haute with a pair of matches. Valpo will face Western Illinois at 9 a.m. CT before taking on host Indiana State at 6 p.m. Both matches will have live stats via ValpoAthletics.com, while the Crusaders’ match with the Sycamores will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com.