November 03, 20231st2nd3rd4th5thFinal
0.164Hitting Pct.0.134
189Total Attacks179
Strongman - 15
Swistek - 15
KillsMinta - 11
Kois - 30
AssistsScott - 38
Kois - 3
Swistek - 3
AcesPeterson - 2
Green - 2
Hickey - 39
DigsKuck - 23
Strongman - 5
BlocksMinta - 9

November 04, 20231st2nd3rd4thFinal
Illinois St.252019151
0.217Hitting Pct.0.138
143Total Attacks145
Januski - 11
Warren - 11
KillsCooper - 9
Zeman - 9
Bulmahn - 21
AssistsWeber - 26
Kois - 3
AcesShadewald - 3
Swistek - 20
DigsHinkle - 23
Januski - 5
BlocksHaith - 9
Volleyball Heads to Bradley, Illinois State
Wednesday, November 1, 2023
Volleyball Heads to Bradley, Illinois State

Valparaiso (16-10, 8-5 MVC)
Friday, Nov. 3 - at Bradley (9-17, 2-11 MVC) - 6 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 4 - at Illinois State (11-14, 9-4 MVC) - 5 p.m.

Next Up For Valpo Volleyball: For the third time in the last four weekends, the Valpo volleyball team hits the road this weekend, but this time a shorter trip awaits the Beacons, as they head to central Illinois to face Bradley Friday night and Illinois State Saturday evening.

Previously: Valpo split a pair of matches at the ARC last weekend, sweeping Belmont to extend its winning streak to six straight matches before having the streak snapped on Saturday in a five-set loss to Murray State.

Looking Ahead: Valpo closes out the home slate next weekend, welcoming Drake and UNI to the ARC.

Following the Beacons: Both of this weekend's matches will be broadcast live on ESPN+. Links for the live video and stats are available via

Head Coach Carin Avery: In her 22nd season as head coach at Valparaiso, Carin Avery is the all-time winningest head coach across all sports in the history of Valpo Athletics. She has won 487 matches (487-238, .672) at the helm of the program and has led Valpo to three league regular season and tournament titles. The program has made six postseason appearances under Avery, including three NCAA Tournament appearances, and advanced to the championship match of the 2021 NIVC. Avery has coached 60 All-League recipients over her tenure at Valpo, which has spanned three different conferences. She is Valpo’s all-time leader in both victories and winning percentage, and owns a 542-262 (.674) record overall as a head coach.

Series History: Illinois State - The Redbirds own a 14-4 advantage in the all-time series, including a 12-2 mark since Valpo joined the MVC. Earlier this season, ISU emerged victorious in three tight sets at the ARC to earn a 3-0 win over the Beacons. Elise Swistek had a team-high 11 kills in that matchup, while Emma Hickey posted 18 digs.

Bradley - Valpo holds a 16-12 edge in the all-time series against the Braves, including an 8-5 mark since joining the Valley. Earlier this year at the ARC, the two squads played their third consecutive five-set match, and for the third time, it was the Beacons coming out victorious. Five Valpo players had between nine and 12 kills in that win, led by 12 kills apiece from Swistek and Miranda Strongman, who had a match-best eight blocks as well.

Scouting the Opposition: Illinois State - The Redbirds enter the week in third place in the Valley standings at 9-4, and own an 11-14 overall record. Aida Shadewald leads the ISU attack with 3.45 kills/set, while Hannah Reichensperger averages 2.63 kills/set on .306 hitting and has a team-best average of 0.94 blocks/set as well.

Bradley - The Braves are 9-17 overall and 2-11 in MVC play entering the weekend, most recently falling in straight sets at both Drake and UNI last weekend. Kendall Minta recently hit triple digits in blocks for the season and averages a team-high 1.05 rejections/set, while in the back row, Dru Kuck posts 4.51 digs/set.

Valpo Picked Sixth in Preseason Poll: Valpo has been picked to finish in sixth place in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2023, according to preseason polling of the conference’s head coaches. The Beacons accumulated 73 points in the polling to come in at sixth position, outpacing Illinois State by two points. UNI claimed seven of 12 first-place votes and nipped Drake by two points for the top spot in the poll.

Looking Back at Last Season: The Beacons enjoyed another successful season in 2022, finishing the campaign with a 22-11 overall record. Valpo posted a 9-9 mark in MVC play to finish in sixth place in the newly-expanded 12-team conference and won a match at the MVC Tournament for its fourth straight appearance. The Beacons earned an at-large bid to the 2022 NIVC, their third showing in the tournament in the last five seasons. After a record-setting rookie campaign, freshman libero Emma Hickey was named a Second Team All-MVC and MVC All-Freshman Team honoree.

What's Back: Valpo returns plenty of experience from last year's squad, as 11 letterwinners are back this year, including four starters plus the libero. In all, 98% of the assists, 89.3% of the digs, 62.7% of the blocks and 60.9% of the kills from last season are back in 2023.

Who's New: Joining the 11 returnees on this year's team are six players looking to make an impact in their first season as Valpo. The sextet includes four true freshmen and two transfers - one fifth-year grad transfer and one sophomore.

Top of the Charts: With Valpo's win over Purdue Fort Wayne to close out nonconference action, head coach Carin Avery surpassed Valpo Athletics Hall of Fame member Emory Bauer for the most wins by a Valpo head coach across all sports in department history.

Bauer amassed his victories over three different sports, collecting 361 wins in 28 seasons as head coach of the baseball program, 109 victories in 22 years guiding the football team and eight wins in one season as men’s basketball head coach.

Avery’s record total, meanwhile, has obviously come all at the helm of the Valpo volleyball program. In her 22nd season as head coach, Avery’s teams have averaged better than 22 wins per year in her first 21 years guiding the program. Valpo has finished with a winning record 19 times and has posted 20 or more victories 17 times. Under Avery, Valpo has posted the six winningest seasons in program history, including a program-best 29 wins in 2004.

Six in a Row: While Valpo's winning streak came to an end on Saturday versus Murray State, the Beacons still put together six consecutive victories for their season-long streak, all of which came in Valley play. It is just the fourth time Valpo has won six or more league matches in a row since leaving the Mid-Continent Conference following the 2006 season. The 2009 and 2013 teams both won six Horizon League matches in a row, while the 2008 team claimed nine consecutive Horizon League wins.

Winning Season on the Horizon: The win over Belmont on Friday moved the Beacons to 16 wins on the year, leaving them just one victory shy of assuring themselves of a winning season. It would be the program's 20th winning season in 22 seasons under head coach Carin Avery.

Road Warriors: Four of the six victories in the winning streak came over a two-weekend stretch away from home, as the Beacons won at Indiana State, Evansville, SIU and Missouri State. This was the first time Valpo has played four consecutive true road matches since playing five in a row on the road in the spring 2021 season, and the first time in a “normal” season since 2017. It was the first time Valpo has played four or more true road matches in a row and won all of them since a six-match winning streak in 2008 which featured wins at Youngstown State, Cleveland State, DePaul, Loyola, UIC and Chicago State.

Road Sweeps: Two of Valpo's four road wins in that stretch came in straight sets, as the Beacons swept both Indiana State and Missouri State. The 3-0 win at Missouri State was especially notable, as it was the first time in program history Valpo swept the Bears on their home court and it was MSU's first time getting swept at home since Oct. 30, 2021. Prior to those two weekends, Valpo’s last 3-0 road win in MVC play came at Indiana State on Oct. 5, 2019.

Reaching 1,000: Senior setter Victoria Bulmahn hit another milestone last weekend, as with her first dig on Saturday versus Murray State, she reached the 1,000-dig mark for her career. Bulmahn became the 25th player in Valpo volleyball history to tally at least 1,000 career digs and the third active player, joining Bella Ravotto and Emma Hickey.

Stepping Up the Attack: Junior outside Elise Swistek has been Valpo's leader in the kills department since the onset of MVC play, going from 2.18 kills/set in nonconference action to 2.80 kills/set within Valley matches. She has been in double figures in kills in 7 of Valpo's last 11 contests, highlighted by a career-best 17 kills last time out against Murray State. Defensively, Swistek is also appraoching four figures in digs as well, entering the weekend with 946 career digs to her credit.

Efficient With Their Swings: Prior to the start of last season, just four players in program history had posted a hitting percentage of .300 or better for a full season. But last season, both Mallory Januski - who set the program single-season record at a .353 clip - and Miranda Strongman - who hit .308 - did just that. And this season, both halves of the middle duo are on pace to hit that mark yet again - Strongman currently ranks fourth in the Valley, hitting .333, while Januski ranks sixth, hitting .327.

Climbing the Digs Chart: Both fifth-year outside Bella Ravotto and sophomore libero Emma Hickey continue to climb the program's career digs chart. Ravotto, who moved into the top-10 in program history for career digs last month, enters this weekend with 1,568 career digs - just 85 shy of Sarah Dooms in seventh position. Meanwhile, Hickey - who became the fastest player in program history and MVC history to 1,000 career digs earlier this season - now owns 1,215 career digs, is already up to 19th in program history in the category and is just 74 digs away from the top-15 in Valpo history.

All-Tournament Team Honorees: Six different Valpo players made nine All-Tournament Teams in the season's first four weekends:
Purdue Fort Wayne Invitational - Emma Hickey, Mallory Januski
Stacheville Challenge - Januski, Miranda Strongman
Popcorn Classic - Bella Ravotto (MVP), Olivia Blackketter, Januski
EIU Volleyball Invitational - Strongman, Sam Warren

Three Times the Fun: Parse the previous list and you'll see senior middle Mallory Januski picking up a trio of All-Tournament Team honors this season. It is the first time a Valpo player has earned spots on three All-Tournament teams in the same season since Allison Ketcham did so in 2018. But, one of Ketcham's honors came in the postseason at the MVC Tournament - Januski is the first Valpo player in the Carin Avery era to receive three All-Tournament Team spots from solely early-season, preconference tournaments.

A Balanced Attack: Last year's Valpo team was notable for its balance on the attack, and this year's squad has been no different. Elise Swistek's 2.51 kills/set leads the Beacons, but ranks just 22nd overall among Valley players. Five regulars are averaging between 1.86 and 2.51 kills/set.

Capturing Crowns: The Beacons' triumph in the Popcorn Classic added yet another crown to the program's trophy case. Valpo has now won 34 in-season tournament titles in head coach Carin Avery's time at the helm of the program. The team has won at least one tournament in 17 of her seasons, and multiple tournaments 11 times. Those tournament titles have come in 14 different states.

Another 20-Win Campaign: It's a milestone that has become routine for the program, yet still impressive in its totality - Valpo finished with 22 wins in 2022 and has now won 20 or more matches in 17 of Carin Avery's 21 seasons as head coach. Even more remarkably, one of the four seasons Valpo didn't reach 20 wins was the shortened spring 2021 campaign, when the program played just 20 matches total. The Beacons also secured their 19th winning season in Avery’s 21 seasons at the helm.

Top Half Finishes: In addition to the 20-win season, the Beacons also secured a top-half finish in the MVC standings as they finished in sixth place in the 12-team conference. Valpo has now finished in the top-half of the Valley standings in each of its six years in the conference, the only MVC program to accomplish that feat - Illinois State had finished top-half each of the last five years, but dropped out of the top-six in 2022. Going back further, Valpo has posted top-half conference finishes in 20 of Avery's 21 seasons - as well as qualifying for the conference tournament in each of her 21 seasons - and 29 of the last 30 years overall.

Digging Deep: Valpo continued its long tradition of strong back row play last fall, finishing 10th nationally and leading the MVC with 17.27 digs/set. The program has ranked among the top-30 nationally in digs/set in each of the last 12 seasons, highlighted by the 2017 campaign in which it led the nation with 20.03 digs/set. Other top finishes include third nationally in the spring 2021 season (20.37/set), a fourth-place rank in 2010 and a sixth-place finish in 2015. Since the move to 25-point scoring, only seven teams have averaged more than 20 digs/set over the course of a season, and Valpo is the only program to have done it twice. 2018 saw Valpo lead the nation with 2,613 total digs - a mark which set a program single-season record and a Division I record in the 25-point era.

Hickey Sets New Standards: Emma Hickey made an immediate impact on Valpo’s backcourt and the record books in her rookie season. She set Valpo and MVC freshman record for digs in a season, finishing with 735 total digs, and led the Valley and ranked fourth nationally with 5.70 digs/set. No D-I freshman was within 200 digs of her season total, while it was tied for the second-most digs by a D-I freshman in the last 12 seasons. Her 735 digs are tied for fourth overall on Valpo’s single-season chart and rank sixth in MVC history as well.

Januski Runs the Middle: Senior middle Mallory Januski bided her time behind a pair of All-Conference middles in her first two seasons at Valpo, but given the opportunity in 2022 to run with a starting role, Januski took full advantage. She led Valpo and ranked fourth in the Valley with a .353 hitting percentage, a mark which smashed the program's single-season record. Januski also ranked seventh in the Valley with 0.98 blocks/set, tallying 122 total blocks — seventh-most by a Valpo player in the 25-point era. That total includes a monster 13-block performance at Murray State, a program record for the 25-point era.