The Valpo volleyball team made quick work of in-state rival Indiana State Friday evening at the ARC, opening the weekend with a 3-0 sweep (25-18, 25-22, 25-18) of the Sycamores.
How It Happened
- It was Indiana State which started Friday’s match on the front foot, jumping out to an early 8-2 lead in set one.
- But Valpo flipped that run on the Sycamores, scoring eight of the next 10 points – including a pair of kills from junior Jaclyn Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) – to even the opener at 10 apiece.
- The decisive run came a few points later, as Valpo went on a 7-0 run on the serve of junior Melissa Flynders (Mokena, Ill./Providence Catholic) to turn a 13-13 scoreline into a 20-13 lead. The run included two kills and a block by junior Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton).
- Valpo cruised from there, with a kill by junior Ally Cummings (Novi, Mich./Novi) eventually clinching the opening frame on its second set point chance.
- Valpo looked to gain control of the second set early on, as an 8-2 run put the Brown and Gold out in front 11-6. But Indiana State responded with five straight points to even the frame, and would then pull ahead at 14-13.
- The Sycamores maintained a slim lead as the set approached the late stages and held a two-point lead at 20-18 before a Valpo rally. Junior Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) started the spurt with a second-touch kill, and a Bulmahn termination tied the set at 20-20. An Indiana State error and a block from Anderson and freshman Kara Cooper (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) made it four straight points as Valpo led 22-20.
- Indiana State responded with consecutive points to tie the set at 22-22, but first Bulmahn and then Cooper picked up kills to give Valpo set point at 24-22. It would take the Crusaders just one opportunity thanks to a service ace by Anderson, giving them a 2-0 lead in the match.
- Indiana State pulled out to an early 5-2 lead and still held an advantage at 9-8 before Valpo scored six in a row – highlighted by a kill and a block from Cummings to take the lead for good at 14-9.
- The Sycamores closed to within two points on a number of occasions in the second half of the set, the latest coming at 17-15. Two kills from Bulmahn were part of a 4-1 spurt to push the Valpo advantage to 21-16, and it was academic from there, with sophomore Jillie Grant (Maumee, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) closing the match on Valpo’s first match point with a kill.
Inside the Match
- Eight of Valpo’s 11 MVC matches have ended in the minimum three sets to date, including all four of the Brown and Gold’s victories.
- Friday’s win completed a season sweep of Indiana State. Valpo has won four in a row over the last two years against the Sycamores, all four wins coming in straight sets.
- Both squads tallied 35 kills on Friday, but Valpo out-hit ISU by 51 points - .150-.099. Leading the Valpo attack was Bulmahn, who finished with a match-high 12 kills on .281 hitting.
- Anderson handed out 25 assists and was in on four of Valpo’s nine blocks, while McCarthy tied for match-high honors with six rejections.
- Three Valpo players finished in double figures in digs, led by 16 from junior Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg), leaving her just six shy of cracking Valpo’s career top-five in the category.
- Flynders (12 digs) and Grant (11) joined Cookerly in double figures in the digs column.
- Valpo’s biggest advantage Friday came in the service game, as it out-aced the Sycamores, 8-2. Five different Valpo players combined for the eight service aces.
Valpo (9-16, 4-7 MVC) looks to complete a perfect weekend on Saturday when it hosts Evansville. First serve is slated for 5 p.m., and the match can be seen live on ESPN3.