The Valpo volleyball team claimed the first set at MVC leading UNI Saturday night in Cedar Falls, Iowa and had a couple opportunities to take the third set, but the Beacons eventually fell in a 3-1 final (20-25, 25-16, 27-25, 25-18) to the host Panthers.
How It Happened
- Valpo took control of the opening set with a 14-4 stretch which turned a 10-8 deficit into a 22-14 advantage. Senior Kara Cooper (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) had three kills during the run, while the Beacons had four team blocks as well as they went on top.
- UNI closed to within 24-20 late in the set, but a service error by the Panthers ended the opener in the Beacons’ favor.
- UNI led from the start of the second set in evening the match at one set apiece.
- Valpo led from the jump in the third frame as it ran out to a quick 6-2 advantage. As the set hit the late stages, the Beacons extended their lead to its apex of seven at 22-15.
- The Panthers scored four in a row at that point, and after Cooper picked up a kill, scored four more in a row in an 8-1 run which tied the set at 23-all. Valpo had two set point opportunities at 24-23 and 25-24, but UNI sided out on both attempts and then scored the final two points of the set to rally for the set win and a 2-1 lead in the match.
- UNI gained control early in the fourth set and eventually pulled out to a nine-point lead at 19-10. Valpo rallied with eight of the next 10 points to close the deficit to three at 21-18 before the Panthers closed out the match with four consecutive points.
Inside the Match
- Combined with Friday’s loss at Drake, the Beacons suffered consecutive defeats for the first time this season.
- Valpo was limited to .094 hitting by the UNI defense on Saturday night, its second-lowest hitting percentage of the year. The Beacons had two of their three lowest marks on the attack of the season on the weekend.
- UNI held a 61-36 advantage in kills.
- Cooper was the only Valpo player to reach double figures in kills, posting 13 kills on .379 hitting. Fellow right side Maddy Boyer (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) was the only other Beacon to record more than four kills, finishing with seven terminations.
- Freshman libero Emma Hickey (Granger, Ind./Penn) led all players with 27 digs, her 16th effort of at least 20 digs this season.
- Valpo out-blocked UNI on the night as a team, 13-8. Senior Miranda Strongman (Wolverine Lake, Mich./Walled Lake Central [LIU]) had a match-high seven rejections to tie her season high, while Boyer set a season high with blocks, a mark matched by junior Mallory Januski (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais).
Valpo (17-4, 5-4 MVC) continues a challenging stretch of matches away from home next weekend with the MSU/SIU road swing. The road weekend begins Friday night at Missouri State at 6 p.m.