The Valparaiso University volleyball team split a pair of matches to open up the 2016 season Friday at Army West Point’s Black Knights Invitational. The Crusaders downed CSU Bakersfield 3-1 (18-25, 25-21, 25-22, 30-28) in the morning opener, but fell to Hofstra 3-2 (25-23, 16-25, 25-21, 15-25, 15-6) later in the evening.
How It Happened – CSU Bakersfield
- The Roadrunners scored the opening six points of the match and never trailed in winning set one, 25-18.
- Valpo took the lead in the second set for good early on in the frame during a 5-0 run, including two kills and a block from sophomore Kayla Currier (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East). CSUB closed to within one point late at 22-21, but the Crusaders scored the final three points of the set to win 25-21 and even the match.
- CSUB led as the third set moved past the midway point and was ahead 17-14 before an 8-3 spurt gave the Crusaders a 22-20 advantage. The Roadrunners scored the next two points to tie the set at 22-all, but Valpo scored the last three points – the final point coming on a block from senior Jamie Lacheta (Warsaw, Ind./Warsaw) and junior Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) – to win the set 25-22.
- CSUB jumped out to an 11-3 lead to start the fourth set and still led by seven points at 16-9 before the Crusaders put together a massive comeback. Valpo scored 10 of the next 13 points to draw even at 19-19 and actually led by a single point on multiple occasions late. The Roadrunners held off three Valpo match points while the Crusaders prevented CSUB from forcing a fifth set twice. Finally, leading 29-28, sophomore Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) put away a kill to close out the victory.
How It Happened – Hofstra
- Valpo led late in the opening set at 22-20 before Hofstra scored five of the final six points to claim the opener, 25-23.
- The Crusaders jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the second and forced the Pride into 10 attack errors in cruising to a 25-16 win.
- Hofstra started the third set on a 6-1 run and never trailed. While Valpo closed to within one point late at 22-21, the Pride scored the final three points to take the third frame, 25-21.
- The Crusaders broke open a tight fourth set late, ending the frame on a 10-2 run to win the fourth set 25-15 and force a decisive fifth set.
- Valpo led the fifth set early at 3-1, but Hofstra scored the next 11 points and the Crusaders got no closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Inside the Game
- Valpo out-hit CSU Bakersfield in the morning win, .185-.162, but was out-hit by Hofstra in the evening, .150-.140. The Pride also held a 20-kill advantage (60-40) over the Crusaders.
- The Crusaders tallied 22 total team blocks over Friday’s pair of matches. Currier and Graboski tied for team-high honors with seven blocks versus CSUB – Currier matching her career high in the process – while Graboski and sophomore Sydney Bronner (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth) each had four blocks versus Hofstra.
- Senior Emily Campbell (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central) led Valpo with 17 kills against CSUB, while Carlson posted a career-high 16 kills in the win. The duo tied for team-high honors with 10 kills each against Hofstra.
- Sophomore Lizzie Zaleski (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) set a new career best with 23 assists in the win over CSUB and led Valpo with 19 assists in the nightcap. Junior Tarrah Lasky (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) added 19 assists in the victory over the Roadrunners.
- Senior Morganne Longoria (Burlington, Wis./Burlington) paced Valpo with 20 digs versus CSUB and 14 against Hofstra. Zaleski finished with double-doubles in each match, posting 11 and 10 digs, respectively, and Carlson added 15 digs against CSUB.
The Crusaders (1-1) close out action at the Black Knights Invitational on Saturday as they face host Army West Point. First serve is slated for 11 a.m., with live video and live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.