The Valparaiso University volleyball team looked poised to earn a road win Saturday afternoon at Wright State after capturing the first two sets, but the Raiders rallied to deal the Crusaders a 3-2 defeat (23-25, 17-25, 25-18, 25-23, 15-11).
How It Happened
- Valpo used a 6-1 run midway through the first set to pull ahead 18-13 before the Raiders responded with five consecutive points to again tie the frame. After the teams traded three-point spurts to make it 22-22, the Crusaders scored three of the set’s final four points – capped by a kill from junior Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) – to claim the opener.
- The second set was tied past the midway point at 15-all before the Crusaders exploded for a big run, closing on a 10-2 spurt to go ahead two sets to none. Sophomore Sydney Bronner (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth) contributed a pair of kills and two blocks during the set-deciding run.
- Wright State scored the first six points of the third set and never trailed. The Raiders led by seven points at 18-11 before the Crusaders made a push, scoring four straight points to close to within 18-15. But after the teams traded sideouts, WSU scored five straight to take control.
- Valpo jumped out on top to start the fourth set, starting the frame on a 5-1 spurt and leading by five points at 11-6. But the Raiders scored five consecutive points to even things up.
- The back-and-forth frame saw the Crusaders up one point at 18-17 before WSU scored five straight to go ahead 22-18. The Raiders looked poised to extend the match with ease, leading 24-20, but Valpo continued to fight – a kill from Bronner, a WSU hitting error and a block by Graboski and senior Rachel Bruinsma (New Era, Mich./Western Michigan Christian) fought off three set points. But a Valpo error sent the match to the fifth set.
- Valpo led early in the fifth set, 4-2, but the Raiders scored six of the next seven points to claim the lead for good. The Crusaders closed within one point twice just past the midpoint of the set, but were unable to even up the frame as WSU closed out the match.
Inside the Match
- Playing shorthanded yet again on Saturday, the Crusaders made just one substitution the entire match.
- Sophomore Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) posted a career high offensively on Saturday, finishing with a team-high 17 kills.
- Graboski and senior Emily Campbell (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central) added 11 kills apiece – Graboski doing so on .321 hitting.
- Sophomore Lizzie Zaleski (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) matched her career high on Saturday for the third time with 38 assists.
- Senior Morganne Longoria (Burlington, Wis./Burlington) paced Valpo on the back line with 25 digs, leaving her just 38 digs shy of 2,000 for her career. Campbell and Carlson both reached double figures as well, finishing with double-doubles as they posted 14 and 12 digs, respectively.
- The Crusaders reached double digits in blocks for the sixth time this year, recording 13 rejections. Bronner and Graboski tied for team-high honors with six blocks, while Bruinsma was in on five blocks.
The Crusaders (8-13, 1-5 Horizon) close out their four-match road trip with a midweek contest at Oakland on Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. CT. The match can be seen live on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app, with links for the live video and live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.