The Valpo volleyball team brought its weekend at Austin Peay’s Stacheville Challenge to an end Saturday afternoon on a winning note, overcoming a one-set deficit to earn a 3-1 (17-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-19) victory over Lindenwood.
How It Happened
- A 6-0 run for the Lions early in set one gave them control at 10-4, and Valpo got no closer than three points the rest of the way as Lindenwood claimed the opening frame.
- It was a rough start to the second set for the Beacons as well, as LU jumped on top with the first four points of the set. But Valpo bounced back with five in a row of its own — including a pair of kills from junior Elise Swistek (LaPorte, Ind./New Prairie) — to turn the tables and take the lead.
- The Beacons did not trail again in the set, but the lead was still just one point at 12-11 before senior Mallory Januski (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais) had an impressive stretch during a 6-0 run. Januski posted two kills and combined with senior Olivia Blackketter (Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington South [Winthrop]) with two rejections during the spurt which gave Valpo breathing room.
- A kill by Blackketter later in the frame eventually closed the set in the Beacons’ favor to even the match.
- Once again, it was Lindenwood controlling things out of the gate in set three, jumping out to a 7-2 lead. Valpo battled back, however, completely erasing the deficit at 12-12.
- That set up a tight battle for control of the set, as the two squads were tied at 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18 and 19. Finally, at 19-19, Januski came up with a kill and combined with Blackketter on a rejection to give Valpo a two-point edge at 21-19.
- A LU kill was countered by a solo block from Januski, and an attack error was erased by a kill from fifth-year Bella Ravotto (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) to make it 23-21 Valpo. A kill by the Lions again made it a one-point margin, but a service error gave the Beacons the serve with two set points, and they needed just one as a Lindenwood hitting error gave Valpo the 2-1 lead in the match.
- For the first time Saturday afternoon, it was Valpo with the big early run in the fourth set, as the Beacons jumped out to an early 8-2 advantage. Valpo never trailed in the set, posting an 8-3 stretch after the Lions cut the lead to two at 13-11 to pull away again in closing out the win.
Inside the Match
- Both of Valpo’s wins this year which have gone longer than three sets have featured the Beacons rally after dropping the opening set.
- Saturday’s matchup was the first in program history with Lindenwood.
- Januski enjoyed a strong match on both sides of the net, tying for match-high honors with 12 kills on .458 hitting while also joining in four blocks.
- It is the 11th time in Januski’s career she has posted double figures in kills, with Valpo holding a 9-2 record in those matches.
- Ravotto tied Januski for match-high honors as she tallied 12 kills as well, narrowly missing a double-double with nine digs.
- Swistek recorded 16 digs and also narrowly missed a double-double with nine kills on .292 hitting.
- Redshirt sophomore Sam Warren (Kentland, Ind./South Newton) registered seven kills and three blocks, fifth-year Miranda Strongman (Wolverine Lake, Mich./Walled Lake Central [LIU]) finished with six kills and four blocks, and Blackketter paced the Beacons with five blocks — her high in the Valpo uniform.
- Redshirt sophomore Addy Kois (Osceola, Ind./Penn) handed out 21 assists and senior Victoria Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) was right behind her with 20 assists.
- Sophomore Emma Hickey (Granger, Ind./Penn) led Valpo with 22 digs.
- Valpo held a 10-kill advantage over Lindenwood (55-45) and has now been at least 10 kills better than its opponent in each of its last four wins.
- The Beacons also posted 10 team blocks, the third time they’ve reached double figures in the category this season.
Valpo (6-4) closes out nonconference play next weekend at the Purdue Fort Wayne Invitational. The Beacons will face SIUE on Friday, Sept. 15 before taking on the host Mastodons and Miami (Ohio) the next day. All three matches will be broadcast live on ESPN+.