August 26, 20171st2nd3rd4thFinal
New Mexico State212525253
.185Hitting Pct..230
168Total Attacks174
Carlson - 11
Graboski - 11
KillsAbalos - 20
Anderson - 40
AssistsAinsworth - 29
Carlson - 1
Anderson - 1
Cookerly - 1
AcesMikels - 2
Cookerly - 24
DigsSierra - 26
Graboski - 7
BlocksSterns - 5

August 26, 20171st2nd3rdFinal
Rhode Island1924170
.123Hitting Pct..016
122Total Attacks124
Carlson - 9
Anderson - 25
AssistsPICK - 20
Graboski - 3
AcesPICK - 2
Ketcham - 23
Bronner - 8
Crusaders Take Down Rhode Island On Final Day at Notre Dame
Saturday, August 26, 2017
Crusaders Take Down Rhode Island On Final Day at Notre Dame

The Valparaiso University volleyball team split a pair of matches on the final day of action at the Golden Dome Invitational from Notre Dame, Ind., falling to New Mexico State, 3-1 (21-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-20) before sweeping Rhode Island, 3-0 (25-19, 26-24, 25-17) on Saturday. Two of Valpo’s freshmen – Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) and Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) – represented the Crusaders on the All-Tournament Team.

How It Happened – NMSU

  • Valpo utilized a strong attack in the opening set to claim the first frame against NMSU, hitting .278 with 16 kills in the 25-21 win. After jumping out to a quick 8-2 lead, Valpo actually trailed fairly late at 19-18 before scoring seven of the final nine points of the set to claim the opener.
  • The Aggies would win each of the final three sets, however, to earn the 3-1 victory. The Crusaders had a strong defensive showing in the third set, holding NMSU to .143 hitting, but hit just .098 themselves in that frame. Then, in the fourth set, Valpo posted a .273 hitting percentage on the attack, but the Aggies hit at a .353 clip to close out the match.

 How It Happened – Rhode Island

  • Valpo jumped out to a lead against the Rams thanks to a strong defensive effort in the opener, holding Rhode Island to -.081 hitting in the first set. The Crusaders tallied five team blocks in the first frame against URI, with junior Sydney Bronner (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth) in on all five rejections.
  • The second set was a back-and-forth affair, featuring 10 tie scores and five lead changes. Valpo actually faced a Rhode Island set point at 24-23, but back-to-back kills from Bronner turned the tables and gave the Crusaders a chance to take the 2-0 lead, and an attack error by the Rams closed the set in Valpo’s favor.
  • The block again was a vital factor as the Crusaders closed out the sweep, as Valpo tallied six team blocks in the third frame. Rhode Island led the set approaching the midway point at 11-9, but Valpo reeled off a 7-0 run – featuring kills by four different attackers – to claim the lead for good.

 Inside the Matches

  • Three different Crusaders reached double figures in kills against NMSU, as senior Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) and junior Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) each tallied a team-best 11 terminations while freshman Ally Cummings (Novi, Mich./Novi) added 10 kills.
  • Carlson was also one of four Crusaders to finish in double figures in digs, as she registered 17 digs to complete her double-double. Cookerly posted a team-best 24 digs against NMSU, while redshirt junior Allison Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) recorded 16 digs and Anderson totaled 14 digs to go with a match-best 40 assists for a double-double.
  • Graboski was in on seven of Valpo’s 11 team blocks in the matchup with the Aggies.
  • The Crusader outsides enjoyed strong defensive matches in the sweep of Rhode Island, as Ketcham recorded a match-best 23 digs and Carlson posted 22 digs to go with a team-high nine kills.
  • It was also a strong effort at the net from the Crusaders against the Rams, as Valpo tallied 14 team blocks in the sweep – just one shy of the program’s top-five in a three-set match. Bronner posted a new career high with eight rejections to lead the way.
  • Anderson and Cookerly received All-Tournament honors in their first collegiate action. Anderson averaged eight assists per set while also chipping in seven kills and seven blocks, while Cookerly set a program record for digs in a match Friday evening versus Notre Dame en route to averaging 6.64 digs/set for the weekend. 

Next Up

Valpo (1-2) returns to action next weekend at the Jackrabbits Invitational in Brookings, S.D. Tournament play opens for the Crusaders Friday afternoon, Sept. 1, against Cal State Bakersfield.