For the second straight match, the Valparaiso University volleyball team avenged a loss from earlier in the Horizon League slate, as the Crusaders went on the road Friday night and downed Green Bay, 3-0 (28-26, 25-21, 25-17).
The road sweep of the Phoenix Friday extended Valpo’s current winning streak to three consecutive matches, all of which have come away from home and all of which have finished in straight sets. The Crusaders now own a 6-1 mark in league play this season on the road and improved their overall record away from home this season to 14-2.
“I wouldn’t say it was the prettiest match tonight, but sometimes you need to be able to win ugly,” said Crusader head coach Carin Avery. “I thought we served well tonight, and our outside hitters did a great job moving the ball around.”
Maybe it was the experience of last Saturday’s match at Oakland, when the Crusaders had to rally from behind late in all three sets to earn the sweep, but Valpo didn’t blink Friday when a 4-0 run in the opening set gave Green Bay a late 22-19 lead. Instead, the Crusaders rallied, as a kill from sophomore Allison Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) and a block from Ketcham and sophomore Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky), combined with two Phoenix errors, resulted in four straight Valpo points and a 23-22 advantage.
The teams traded sideouts to give Valpo set point at 24-23, but a Green Bay kill forced extra points. The Phoenix had two set point chances of its own at 25-24 and 26-25, but first a service error and then a kill by junior Emily Campbell (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central) extended the opening frame. Finally, at 26-all, a Green Bay attack error provided the Crusaders their second chance to win the set, and a block by junior Rachel Bruinsma (New Era, Mich./Western Michigan Christian) and redshirt freshman Kayla Currier (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) ended the set in Valpo’s favor.
Compared to the tight, back-and-forth nature of the opening set, the last two sets were relative breezes for the Crusaders. Valpo led start-to-finish in the second set, as after Green Bay closed to within 20-18 late, a kill by Ketcham and three straight Green Bay errors made it 24-18 Crusaders. The Phoenix did score three consecutive points to make it a three-point affair, but another kill from Ketcham sent Valpo into the in-game break up two sets.
Green Bay held one lead early in the third set at 2-1, but after that, it was all Crusaders. Valpo posted four blocks as part of an early 7-2 run to go ahead 8-4, and then later, with the score 9-7, scored five consecutive points to pull out to a seven-point lead. Green Bay would get no closer than four points the rest of the way as the Crusaders finished off the sweep.
Valpo’s outside hitting duo of Campbell and Ketcham carried the load on Friday night in the winning effort. Campbell finished the evening with a match-high 15 kills on .289 hitting, while Ketcham added 14 kills as the two combined for 29 of Valpo’s 41 terminations. Both finished with double-doubles as well, as Ketcham tallied 12 digs and Campbell 10.
Senior Kelsey Berrington (Britton, Mich./Tecumseh) dished out 31 assists on the night and narrowly missed a double-double, picking up nine digs. Junior Morganne Longoria (Burlington, Wis./Burlington) paced the back-row defense with 21 digs, while at the net, Currier and Graboski each were in on five of Valpo’s 10 total team blocks, as the Crusaders limited the Phoenix to just a .101 hitting percentage for the match.
Abby Jeffcoat and Jessica Wolf tallied 10 kills apiece to lead Green Bay (15-12, 6-8 Horizon). Jillian Bauer led all players with 28 digs, while Emily Riese totaled 37 assists and 11 digs.
Valparaiso (23-6, 9-4 Horizon) looks to make it a perfect 4-of-4 on this road stretch Saturday afternoon, as the Crusaders conclude the Wisconsin swing with a match at Milwaukee at 4 p.m. The match can be seen live on ESPN3.com, with live stats also available via ValpoAthletics.com.