The Valpo volleyball team twice erased one-set deficits Monday afternoon in MVC play at Missouri State, forcing a decisive fifth set thanks to a stellar offensive performance in the fourth set, but was unable to carry the momentum into the final frame as the Bears earned a 3-2 (25-16, 21-25, 25-20, 17-25, 15-6) win.
How It Happened
- The first set featured three big runs, but unfortunately for Valpo, two of those spurts came from MSU. The Bears pulled into the lead with a 9-1 run which pushed their advantage up to 16-9.
- Valpo responded with six straight, capped by consecutive kills from junior Haley Hart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East), to close to within one at 16-15. But a service error kept the Brown and Gold from potentially tying the set, and Missouri State scored nine of the set’s final ten points to take the opener.
- A 7-2 run early in set two, including back-to-back kills by junior Jillie Grant (Maumee, Ohio/Anthony Wayne), gave Valpo control of the set as it led 12-7.
- Valpo took its lead up to seven points at 21-14 before the Bears came back with a 5-1 spurt to close to within 22-19. But a kill from senior Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) kept MSU at bay and the teams traded points the rest of the way, with a termination by Grant closing the set and evening the match at a set apiece.
- Valpo was in control of the third set from the beginning, scoring the first four points and leading past the halfway point of the frame. But with its advantage sitting at 16-13, Valpo surrendered a 7-1 run to Missouri State as the Bears took their first lead of the set.
- Kills from Hart and Grant brought Valpo back within one at 20-19, but the Bears ended the set on a 5-1 run to pull ahead two sets to one.
- The fourth set was all Valpo, as it scored seven of the first nine points of the frame and hit at a .378 clip for the set. The advantage never fell below four points after the opening run, and again it was a Grant kill which closed the set and forced the decisive fifth frame.
- For as much as Valpo’s offense dictated the fourth set, it was MSU’s offense which controlled the fifth set, hitting .450 with 10 kills. Valpo was unable to string together consecutive points at any point as the Bears closed out the sweep of the two-match series.
Inside the Match
- Much like Sunday’s match, Monday’s contest was pretty even statistically. Again, it was Valpo with slight edges in the kills (66-62) and digs (96-88) departments, while MSU held the advantage in hitting percentage (.217-.204) and blocks (15-9).
- The loss was Valpo’s second in as many five-set matches in MVC play so far this year.
- Senior Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) led all players in digs for the fourth consecutive contest, picking up 28 digs on Monday.
- Cookerly surpassed 2,200 career digs late in Monday’s match and ended the afternoon with 2,204 career digs, moving past Wichita State’s Kelly Broussard into eighth place in MVC history in the category.
- Cookerly is just 39 digs away from sixth position in the MVC record book and is just 45 shy of Morganne Longoria for third in Valpo program history in the category.
- Longoria was one of five Valpo players to tally at least 10 digs on Monday. It was a new career high for sophomore Bella Ravotto (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) in the back row as she posted 20 digs.
- Two players tallied double-doubles with digs as one of the categories. Grant finished with 19 digs and 13 kills, while freshman Victoria Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) notching 56 assists and 15 digs.
- Senior Melissa Flynders (Mokena, Ill./Providence Catholic) rounded out the group of five with 10 digs — her fourth effort of at least 10 digs in Valpo’s first five matches.
- Offensively, one day after she smashed her previous career best with 19 kills, senior Jaclyn Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) posted a team-high 15 kills on .308 hitting — a mark which would have matched her career high prior to Sunday.
- Hart was just one kill off of her career best, hitting .333 with 14 kills on Monday, while sophomore Kara Cooper (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) surpassed her career high as she tallied 10 kills to go with four blocks.
- McCarthy paced Valpo’s defensive effort at the net with five blocks.
Valpo (2-3, 1-3 MVC) returns to the ARC next week for its first home MVC series as it welcomes Southern Illinois to town for matches on Sunday and Monday. First serve on Sunday is slated for 3 p.m. and on Monday at 4 p.m., with both matches being carried either on ESPN3 or ESPN+.