Led by a pair of stellar offensive performances from its middle hitters, the Valpo volleyball team closed out their weekend swing downstate with a 3-0 sweep (25-21, 25-20, 25-21) at Indiana State Saturday evening.
How It Happened
- The first set was the tightest early on, as the two sides vied for early control. It was Valpo which came out of the battle with an advantage, going on a 7-2 run which included three kills by junior Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) and two from sophomore Haley Hart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) to turn a 5-5 tie into a 12-7 lead.
- Indiana State would rally, though. The Sycamores closed to within one point four different times, but each time Valpo prevented ISU from evening the set. The fifth time proved to be the charm for Indiana State, however, as it leveled the frame at 21-21.
- But Valpo would not let the Sycamores take the lead, as junior Ally Cummings (Novi, Mich./Novi) gave Valpo the lead for good with a kill to make it 22-21. The Brown and Gold would then serve out the set, capped by a service ace from junior Melissa Flynders (Mokena, Ill./Providence Catholic) to take the 1-0 lead.
- It looked like Valpo would snag control of the second set early, jumping out to a quick 7-2 lead, but the Sycamores responded with five straight to tie the frame at 7-7.
- Approaching the halfway point, Indiana State held a slim 12-11 advantage. But a service error returned the serve to Valpo, and junior Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) took over from there. Back-to-back service aces opened a seven-point service run from the Valpo libero as Valpo gained control.
- The Sycamores would close to within three points twice late in the frame, but Valpo eventually claimed the 2-0 lead in the match as consecutive kills from Hart closed out the second set.
- Another quick start to the third set put Valpo ahead 6-1 early on, but again the Sycamores rallied. ISU would never tie up the set, however, as Valpo maintained at least a one-point lead throughout the frame.
- Indiana State was within one as late as 16-15 before Valpo scored four straight – two of which came on McCarthy kills, and capped by a service ace by sophomore Jillie Grant (Maumee, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) to pull ahead 20-15. The Sycamores closed to within 22-20 late, but consecutive ISU errors gave Valpo match point, and the Brown and Gold converted on their second chance thanks to a Cummings kill.
Inside the Match
- The win was Valpo’s first of the MVC campaign and snapped a six-match losing streak.
- One night after the defense from the Valpo middles shone, it was their offensive output which highlighted the sweep on Saturday.
- Leading the way was McCarthy, who picked up a match-high 15 kills on just 28 swings and didn’t commit an attack error as she hit .536 for the match.
- Hart capped a stellar weekend of action with her second consecutive double-figure effort in the kills column, posting a season-best 11 kills on .500 hitting.
- Cummings joined the aforementioned duo in double figures, tallying 10 kills to reach double digits for the second time in as many days.
- Junior setter Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) dished out 35 assists and tallied 12 digs for her second double-double of the weekend.
- Cookerly reached the 20-dig mark for the second straight night, posting a match-best 23 digs. She also tallied three of Valpo’s six service aces as Valpo won the service game, out-acing the Sycamores 6-4 and committing just two service errors to ISU’s eight.
Valpo (6-12, 1-3 MVC) returns home to the ARC next weekend to host a pair of matches, starting with a meeting with Missouri State Friday evening at 6 p.m. If you can’t make it to the ARC, you can see the match live on ESPN+.