In a match featuring more total attacks and digs than any other this season in NCAA Division I volleyball, the Valparaiso University volleyball team came out on the right end of the defensive battle with Wright State in Horizon League play Friday evening at the ARC, downing the Raiders by a 3-2 (21-25, 25-22, 25-21, 23-25, 15-11) final. Sophomore Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) finished with the first triple-double by a Crusader player since 2010, while senior Emily Campbell (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central) set a new program record for attacks in a single match.
Inside the Match
- Carlson tied for match-high honors with 22 kills on .269 hitting, while also recording 28 digs and 10 assists. All three marks set new career highs for the sophomore, who became the first Valpo player since Jenny Pokorny – also against Wright State, on Oct. 16, 2010 – to pick up a triple-double (11 kills, 36 assists, 10 digs). Carlson set a new career high with 67 attacks as well.
- Campbell matched Carlson with 22 kills on Friday and shouldered the highest percentage of the offensive load, taking 79 swings. The 79 attacks set a new Valpo single-match record, which Campbell shared previously with Kathy Harrison at 77.
- Senior Morganne Longoria (Burlington, Wis./Burlington) – who continued to fill a dual role as libero and setter – set a new career best with 36 digs, easily surpassing her previous high of 30 digs. Longoria’s 36 digs tied for the fifth-most in a five-set match in program history.
- As a team, the Crusaders totaled 270 attacks Friday night, the most by any Division I team in a single match in at least the last three years. The 270 swings were easily a program high in the rally-scoring era and also marked the second-most in a single match in program history, with the record being set way back in 1990.
- Valpo finished the victory with 129 digs as a team, the second-most by a D-I team this season – only trailing Wright State’s Friday total of 143 digs. For the Crusaders, the total was the fifth-highest dig mark in a single match in program history – setting a new rally scoring high – and was the highest total since 1994.
- Other Crusaders to set new career highs on Friday included sophomore Kayla Currier (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East), who registered 32 attacks in the win, and freshman Alana Brown (Napa, Calif./Vintage), who finished with 12 digs in the back row.
- Senior setter Tarrah Lasky (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) continued her return to action, appearing in parts of four sets and tallying eight assists. With Longoria still acting as primary setter, Valpo’s 63 assists were spread over nine different players – Longoria and Carlson both reached double figures, while Lasky and senior Lexie Bouza (Elgin, Ill./Burlington Central) posted eight each - Bouza setting a new career high.
- Bouza also tallied 13 digs, while Campbell picked up 19 to join the trio of Carlson, Longoria and Brown in double figures.
- Senior Rachel Bruinsma (New Era, Mich./Western Michigan Christian) registered a team-best five blocks in the win.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders went to their All-League performer in Campbell again and again on offense in the decisive fifth set, as the senior posted 20 attacks in the final set alone, coming through with six kills. A pair of early Campbell kills helped Valpo to a 5-3 lead.
- Following a four-point WSU spurt, Campbell finished two more rallies with kills as Valpo responded with a 4-0 run of its own to go ahead 9-7.
- The teams traded points on the next eight serves – with Valpo scoring on a setter dump by Lasky and kills from Carlson and Graboski. Then, Carlson recorded a kill off an overpass to push the lead to 13-11.
- Campbell finished the match with back-to-back kills to give the Crusaders the win. Fellow senior Longoria stepped up in the final set as well, tallying 11 digs in the fifth frame alone.
- A four-point run turned a 16-15 Valpo lead in the opening set into a 19-16 Wright State advantage, one which the Raiders would carry through the end of the set.
- Facing a potential 2-0 deficit trailing 21-20 in the second set, the Crusaders stepped up, finishing the frame on a 5-1 spurt. Two kills from Campbell jump-started the run, while a block from Bruinsma and Carlson sent the match into the in-game break tied at a set apiece.
- It looked like the third set would be a runaway for the Crusaders after an early 8-0 run extended their lead to 13-4. WSU rallied late, putting together a 9-3 stretch to close within 23-20, but Valpo allowed the Raiders to get no closer as it took the 2-1 advantage.
- Wright State enjoyed the better of it early in the fourth set, forcing the Crusaders to use both their timeouts by 10-5 and extending the lead to as many as seven points at 20-13. A 6-0 Valpo run brought the Crusaders within one point, but they were never able to even up the set as the match went to the fifth and final frame.
Thoughts From Head Coach Carin Avery
“Tonight was obviously a very even match between two teams that share a lot of the same strengths. Both teams have been atop the league in digs all season long, so we knew coming in to tonight that it was probably going to be a defensive battle.”
“I thought our squad did a great job tonight, considering we used many different lineups. With all the injuries we’ve dealt with, we’ve been used to playing with one or two lineups throughout a match. This was really the first time since the third weekend of the season we had a number of substitutes available, and it was awesome to finally have some different options and different looks we could go with when players were struggling.”
“With all the injuries we’ve gone through, our healthy players have been asked to take on additional tasks to help carry the load. I think you saw that tonight with how many players stepped up to take the second ball and set the offense, up and down the roster, and especially with the jobs that Morganne, finishing with 26 assists, and Katherine, finishing with a triple-double, did for us in that area.”
The Crusaders (11-14, 3-6 Horizon) face a quick turnaround, as they return to action Saturday afternoon at the ARC with a 4 p.m. first serve against Northern Kentucky. 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.