Despite getting a career-high 19 kills on Sunday from senior Jaclyn Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon), the Valpo volleyball team dropped the opening match of a back-to-back series at Missouri State by a 3-1 (25-20, 24-26, 26-24, 25-20) final.
How It Happened
- Missouri State took control of the first set with a 5-1 run to push out to a 15-11 lead. Valpo was unable to get any closer than three points the rest of the way as the Bears took the opener.
- A back-and-forth early portion of the second set saw Valpo with a 12-11 lead approaching the halfway mark before Missouri State went on an 8-2 run to pull ahead, 19-14.
- Valpo and MSU traded the next four points before the Brown and Gold went on a 4-0 spurt — featuring kills from sophomores Kara Cooper (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) and Bella Ravotto (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) and junior Jillie Grant (Maumee, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) — to close to within 21-20.
- The Bears kept Valpo at bay, however, as the two sides traded the next five points to take the score to 24-22 and give MSU set point with the chance to take a two-set lead.
- But Valpo rallied to instead tie the match at one set apiece. A block from junior Haley Hart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) and freshman Victoria Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) staved off one set point, and a kill by Jaclyn Bulmahn followed to tie the score at 24-all.
- Another kill by Jaclyn Bulmahn — her ninth of the second set — turned the tables and gave Valpo set point at 25-24, and it took just the one opportunity for Valpo to convert, thanks to a kill from Grant.
- The third set featured 16 ties and 11 lead changes as both sides vied to take control. Trailing 9-8, Valpo scored four straight — including two kills and a block by Hart — to go up by three before MSU responded with six straight points to take a three-point lead of its own at 15-12. But that was followed by a 4-1 spurt from Valpo, with three points coming via Grant kills, to tie the frame at 16-16.
- With the score tied at 19-19, Valpo scored four of the next five to pull ahead 23-20, followed by three straight points from the Bears. A kill from Hart gave Valpo set point at 24-23, but MSU scored the final three points of the set to come from behind and take the 2-1 lead in the match.
- Missouri State took the lead for good in the fourth set on an early four-point spurt to go ahead 8-5. Valpo got the deficit down to two points a number of times — the latest coming at 21-19 — but was unable to get over the hump as the Bears closed out their win.
Inside the Match
- Jaclyn Bulmahn easily surpassed her previous career high of 15 kills, doing so before the conclusion of the third set. She finished the afternoon with 19 kills and hit at a .400 clip to lead Valpo.
- Grant posted 14 kills and tallied 14 digs as well defensively for her first double-double of the season.
- Hart added 10 kills — her second consecutive match in double figures in the category — and led Valpo’s defensive play at the net with five blocks.
- Victoria Bulmahn finished with season bests early in her young career across the board, tallying 52 assists, 18 digs and three blocks.
- For the third consecutive match, senior Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) paced all players in the digs category as she racked up 25 digs Sunday, leaving her just 24 shy of reaching 2,200 for her career.
- Five different players reached double digits in the digs category Sunday, with Ravotto and senior Melissa Flynders (Mokena, Ill./Providence Catholic) adding 11 digs apiece.
- It was an even match across the board statistically — Valpo finished with slight edges in kills (63-59) and digs (86-80), while Missouri State owned an 11-point advantage in hitting percentage (.209-.198) and tallied 11 blocks to Valpo’s seven.
- Sunday’s match was the opener of Valpo’s first back-to-back series of the year. Each of the final eight series of MVC play are slated to be played on consecutive days.
Valpo (2-2, 1-2 MVC) tries to earn the series split on Monday from Springfield, taking on Missouri State with first serve coming at 3 p.m. The match can be seen live on ESPN3.