The Valpo volleyball team made it seven wins in its last eight matches Sunday afternoon at the ARC, sweeping Indiana State (25-21, 25-12, 25-22) to kick off its final weekend of home matches and secure a berth in the MVC Tournament. Sunday marked the start of Senior Weekend, as the program recognized senior Melissa Flynders (Mokena, Ill./Providence Catholic) following the match, while fellow senior Jaclyn Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) tied Valpo’s record for kills in a three-set match in the 25-point era with a dominant 20-kill performance.
How It Happened
- The first set was back-and-forth throughout, featuring 13 ties and seven lead changes. In fact, not only did the frame reach the 15-point media timeout without either side earning more than a two-point lead, the first lead of more than two points came after the 20-point mark.
- Valpo trailed 16-14 before kicking off what would be a 10-2 run on a kill from senior Ally Cummings (Novi, Mich./Novi). A kill from junior Jillie Grant (Maumee, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) gave Valpo the lead for good at 18-17.
- With the lead just one point at 19-18, Bulmahn racked up three straight kills to push the advantage to four points to cap a nine-kill opening frame.
- Senior Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) kept the run going with a service ace, and a block from Bulmahn and junior Haley Hart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) capped the run and gave Valpo set point at 24-18. Indiana State scored the next three, but Valpo eventually closed the opener thanks to a kill out of the back row by Grant.
- The second set looked set to be a carbon copy of the first, as the two sides vied for control early on.
- A Valpo service error brought ISU within one at 10-9, but the Sycamores returned the favor with a service error of their own. The next ISU serve came with it trailing by eight points, as Grant served the final seven points of an 8-0 run.
- Grant picked up a pair of service aces during the big run, while Bulmahn tallied two kills and a block as well.
- The eight-point spurt was part of a larger 15-3 run to close the set, which saw Valpo hit .444 while limiting ISU to eight kills on .061 hitting. Sophomore Rachel Speck (Whitmore Lake, Mich./Whitmore Lake) picked up a kill and combined with Bulmahn on a block for the final two points of the frame.
- Indiana State took the lead early in the third set and led for much of the set, extending its lead to as many as four points multiple times.
- Trailing 18-14, Valpo scored five straight points to take its first lead since early in the third set and set up a battle in the late stages.
- Indiana State grabbed the advantage once again at 22-21 before Grant picked up back-to-back kills to return the lead to Valpo. An ISU attack error set up match point for the Brown and Gold, and it was Grant who came through with the kill to close out the sweep.
Inside the Match
- Following the match, Valpo honored Flynders, who is playing in her final home matches at the ARC this weekend. Flynders posted 14 digs and five assists in Sunday’s win and now owns 599 career digs.
- The story of the match was the offensive production of Bulmahn. The senior notched nine kills in the first set, seven in the second and four in the final frame to finish with 20 kills on .543 hitting.
- Bulmahn’s 20 kills match a 2008 effort from Hall of Famer Angie Porché for the most kills in a three-set match by a Valpo player since the move to 25-point scoring. It also is tied for the sixth-most kills in a three-set match across all eras in Valpo volleyball history and shares top honors in the MVC for a three-set match this year.
- Meanwhile, Bulmahn’s .543 hitting percentage was a career best as well. She also led Valpo Sunday in the blocks department, joining in on four rejections.
- Grant posted 11 kills on .296 hitting and 12 digs for her 11th double-double of the season.
- Freshman Victoria Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) handed out 32 assists on Sunday as the Valpo offense hit at a season-high .308 clip.
- Valpo also posted a season-best nine service aces in the sweep Sunday, led by four aces from McCarthy to match her career best.
- Senior Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) led the way for the Brown and Gold in the back row with 16 digs. She has now posted 2,455 career digs, moving up to 20th in NCAA history in the category.
- After going at least four sets in each of its first 10 MVC matches this year, Valpo has won in straight sets in three of its last five contests.
Having secured a berth in the MVC Tournament with Sunday’s win, Valpo (10-7, 9-6 MVC) looks to move up the standings in its final three matches, starting 4 p.m. on Monday afternoon in the series finale with the Sycamores. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN+, and following the match, Valpo will honor Cummings and Jaclyn Bulmahn after the final match at the ARC in their respective careers.