The Valparaiso University volleyball team split a pair of matches on the first day of competition at the Trojan Invitational in Troy, Ala. on Friday. Valpo fell, 3-0, to defending WAC champion New Mexico State (25-9, 25-19, 25-21) in its first match of the tournament, but bounced back in the evening with a 3-1 (15-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-17) victory over host Troy.
How It Happened – New Mexico State
- The Aggies jumped out to a 17-3 lead en route to taking the opening set.
- NMSU led for most of the second set as well. The Crusaders were within one point at 14-13, but the Aggies scored the next four points and Valpo got no closer than three points the rest of the way.
- Valpo jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead in the third set, but NMSU came back and took a lead at 13-12. A four-point spurt from the Crusaders, which included two blocks from junior Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky), gave Valpo the lead again at 18-17 before the Aggies responded with four consecutive points of their own to take control.
How It Happened – Troy
- The Trojans scored the first nine points of the first set and never trailed.
- Valpo took the lead for good early in the second set with a 6-0 run, including back-to-back service aces from senior Lexie Bouza (Elgin, Ill./Burlington Central). Troy stayed close, but the Crusaders never let the Trojans string together back-to-back points after 15-14, and kills from sophomore Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) accounted for the Crusaders’ last two points to even the match.
- Valpo jumped out to a 6-0 lead to kick off the third set and didn’t allow Troy to ever tie up the set. The Trojans closed within one point twice, but a 5-1 run in the middle of the frame extended a one-point lead to 19-14 and gave the Crusaders breathing room to go ahead two sets to one.
- A six-point spurt early in set four took a 5-4 lead to 11-4 for the Crusaders and they maintained control the rest of the way, as Troy got no closer than four points the rest of the way.
Inside the Game
- Senior Emily Campbell’s (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central) first kill of the match versus Troy moved her past Lauren Moulton (1,195 kills) for fifth in program history in career kills.
- Senior Morganne Longoria (Burlington, Wis./Burlington) picked up a match-best 24 digs against New Mexico State – the second-best effort of her career in a three-set match.
- Graboski paced the Crusaders with 11 kills in the win over Troy, while Carlson added 10 kills as well.
- For the third straight match day, sophomore Lizzie Zaleski (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) matched or set a career high for assists, as she tied her output from last Saturday with 30 assists in the win over Troy.
- Sophomore Sydney Bronner (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth) came up one shy of her career best, tallying a match-high six blocks against Troy.
- After hitting a -.057 (five kills, seven errors) as a team in the opening set versus the Trojans, the Crusaders bounced back to hit at a .263 clip over the final three frames.
- Freshman Alana Brown (Napa, Calif./Vintage), the lone rookie on this year’s Crusader squad, made her Valpo debut on Friday, seeing action in both matches as a serving specialist.
The Crusaders (3-2) close out action at the Trojan Invitational on Saturday as they face Austin Peay at 11:30 a.m. Live video and stats are available via ValpoAthletics.com.