The Valpo volleyball team saw its three-match winning streak come to an end Friday night at the hands of host Bradley, as the Braves earned a 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-22) victory.
How It Happened
- Valpo held a 2-1 lead early on, but a 6-1 run in the first set gave Bradley the lead for good. The Braves’ advantage would not fall below three points the rest of the way as they claimed the opener.
- Bradley led throughout the second set, but Valpo threatened multiple times during the frame. Leading 15-13, Bradley strung together three straight points to extend its lead to five, but Valpo responded with a 4-1 spurt – including a kill and a block by junior Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) – to close within 19-17.
- Bradley scored five of the next six points to earn set point at 24-18, but Valpo held off four set point chances as junior Jaclyn Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) picked up a kill and the Braves committed a trio of errors. Bradley would convert on its fifth chance, however, to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
- Valpo tried to pull away early in the third set, using four consecutive points – two of which came on kills from sophomore Jillie Grant (Maumee, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) – to pull out to a 10-5 lead.
- Bradley rallied and eventually took its first lead of the set at 15-14, setting up a back-and-forth affair to close out a third frame which featured seven ties and three lead changes.
- Valpo scored three straight to briefly regain the lead at 17-16, punctuated by consecutive blocks, but Bradley scored the next four points to kick off a larger 8-3 span which gave the Braves match point at 24-20.
- Grant tallied kills on each of the next two points to keep Valpo alive, but an attack error eventually closed out the sweep in Bradley’s favor.
Inside the Match
- Dating back to Sept. 21, eight of Valpo’s last nine matches have been decided in three sets – the only outlier being the 3-2 loss at Evansville on Oct. 4.
- Friday’s loss snapped a three-match winning streak for Valpo.
- Valpo’s defense performed well on Friday night, limiting a Bradley squad which was hitting better than .200 in MVC play to just .124 hitting.
- Valpo tallied10 blocks as a team in the three sets, the program’s first double-digit blocks total in a three-set match since posting 10 blocks last year on Sept. 24 against Southern Illinois.
- Leading the damage defensively at the net was sophomore Haley Hart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East), who paced Valpo for the third straight match as she tallied six blocks. Hart is now averaging 1.20 blocks/set in MVC play, good for second in the conference.
- McCarthy and junior Ally Cummings (Novi, Mich./Novi) were in on four blocks apiece, while Grant matched her career high with three rejections.
- In the back line, junior Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) led all players with 19 digs, leaving her just one dig shy of 1,800 for her career. Senior Brooke Westphal (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City [Arizona St./South Florida St.]) set a career high with 11 digs as well.
- Grant led Valpo’s attack on Friday with 11 kills.
- Valpo was held without a service ace for the first time since its match at Purdue Fort Wayne on Sept. 18 of last season.
Valpo (8-13, 3-4 MVC) closes out the brief road swing Saturday evening at 5 p.m. at Illinois State. The match can be seen live on ESPN3.