The Valpo volleyball team bounced back from Friday night’s loss in a big way Saturday evening, putting together one of its top offensive performances of the season in a 3-0 (25-13, 25-19, 25-18) sweep of Indiana State at the ARC.
How It Happened
- The opening set was tied at 7-7 before the Beacons reeled off six straight points on the serve of freshman Emma Hickey (Granger, Ind./Penn) to pull out to a 13-7 advantage. Junior Mallory Januski (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais) was in on half of those points, picking up a pair of kills and a block.
- Valpo pulled away from there, not letting ISU score consecutive points the rest of the frame. A Sycamore hitting error closed the opening set, during which the Beacons hit at a .419 clip, in Valpo’s favor.
- Valpo seemingly took control of the second set early on, as Januski posted a pair of service aces and senior Gretchen Kuckkan (Lafayette, Ind./Central Catholic [Indiana State]) tallied two kills as part of a seven-point spurt which gave the Beacons a 9-2 lead.
- The advantage was up to 12-4 before ISU turned the tables on Valpo, going on a 10-1 run to erase the entire deficit and inch ahead, 14-13.
- The Beacons scored the next three in a row, with kills from seniors Kara Cooper (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) and Maddy Boyer (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) sandwiching an ISU error helping Valpo take the lead for good.
- Later, with the advantage still just one point at 17-16, the Beacons went on a 7-1 run — which included a pair of kills by Kuckkan — to earn set point at 24-17. ISU held off two set points, but Valpo converted the third thanks to a kill from senior Miranda Strongman (Wolverine Lake, Mich./Walled Lake Central [LIU]) to go up 2-0 in the match.
- Indiana State had the edge from the jump in set three, leading past the halfway mark of the frame with an advantage that reached as much as four points.
- With Valpo’s deficit 14-11, the Beacons scored four in a row — including kills by Kuckkan and senior Bella Ravotto (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) — to take the lead for the first time in the set.
- The Sycamores briefly tied the score again at 15 apiece, but the four-point spurt proved to be the starting point for a larger 14-4 run which closed out the sweep for Valpo. Ravotto was in on each of the Beacons’ next four points, picking up three kills and combining with senior Rachel Speck (Whitmore Lake, Mich./Whitmore Lake) on a block as Valpo extended the lead to 19-16.
- The advantage grew from that point, and the Beacons eventually converted on their first match point chance on the fourth kill of the season from the libero, Hickey.
Inside the Match
- Offensively Saturday night, Valpo hit at a .321 clip and held a 48-29 advantage in kills over the Sycamores.
- The .321 hitting percentage was the Beacons’ best within MVC play and their second-highest percentage of the year.
- Meanwhile, the 48 kills were the second-most for Valpo this year in a three-set match.
- Ravotto led the balanced attack with a match-high 10 kills on .348 hitting. She added 12 digs as well in the back row to finish with her eighth double-double of the campaign.
- Ravotto was one of six Beacons to rack up at least five kills in the sweep. Strongman hit .350 with eight kills to finish second in that department.
- Boyer, who hit .500, and Kuckkan notched six kills apiece, while Januski, who hit .444, and Cooper each totaled five kills on the evening.
- Valpo’s setters got the ball to their hitters in good position all night long, as redshirt freshman Addy Kois (Osceola, Ind./Penn) recorded 18 assists and junior Victoria Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) 17.
- While her streak of nine consecutive matches with at least 20 digs was snapped Saturday night, Hickey still led all players as she finished with a match-best 15 digs.
- Valpo was held to just three team blocks, matching its lowest total of the season, but in turn, the Beacon attack allowed the Sycamores — who entered the match leading the conference in blocks/set — just five rejections.
Valpo (19-6, 7-6 MVC) goes after a 20-win season for the 17th time in the last 21 years when it heads out on its final road trip of the regular season next weekend. The weekend opens Friday evening at 6 p.m. at Belmont, a match which can be seen live on ESPN3.