The Valpo volleyball team shut the door on the 2023 regular season on Wednesday evening in Chicago, falling in straight sets to host UIC (25-20, 25-21, 25-19). The Beacons will enter the 2023 MVC Tournament as the fifth seed, opening tournament play against Belmont Sunday afternoon.
How It Happened
- Valpo led in the early stages of the opening set, while the middle portion of the frame became a struggle to gain control.
- The Beacons led as late as 17-16 following a kill by Olivia Blackketter (Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington South [Winthrop]) before three straight UIC points gave the Flames the lead for good. Valpo was still within one at 20-19, but UIC closed the set on a 5-1 run to take the opener.
- The opening part of the second set was a story of back-and-forth runs. UIC opened the frame with a 4-1 spurt, followed by six consecutive points for the Beacons — featuring a kill and a solo block from Bella Ravotto (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian).
- UIC responded immediately with six straight points of its own to regain a three-point lead. The Flames extended their advantage to as many as five points at 21-16 before one final Valpo push, as the Beacons scored five of the next six — including two kills and a block by Miranda Strongman (Wolverine Lake, Mich./Walled Lake Central [LIU]) — to close to within 22-21. UIC reeled off three straight points to close the set, however, and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
- The start of the third set belonged to UIC, as the Flames scored the set’s first seven points en route to a 12-2 lead.
- Valpo had a couple mini-spurts to try to slice down the deficit, but UIC still led by eight late at 21-13. The Beacons continued battling, however, and scored the next six in a row — including a trio of blocks — to get to within two at 21-19, but UIC closed out the match with four straight of its own.
Inside the Match
- Ravotto paced the Beacons with 13 kills, her third consecutive match leading the way in the category.
- Strongman added seven kills on just 11 swings, hitting at a .545 clip.
- Emma Hickey (Granger, Ind./Penn) led all players defensively with 19 digs and is now within two of cracking 600 total digs this season.
- Elise Swistek (LaPorte, Ind./New Prairie) finished in double figures in digs as well, posting 10.
- Valpo finished with a 10-9 advantage in blocks over the Flames, the 10th time this season the Beacons have posted double digits in blocks and the third time they’ve done so in a three-set match.
- Mallory Januski (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais) led the individual efforts at the net with six rejections, pushing her season total to 111 blocks.
- Maddie Moan (Woodstock, Ill./Woodstock [Milwaukee]) was in on four blocks as well, setting a season high
- The Flames finished the match out-hitting Valpo, .233-.154, and tallied 12 service aces to the Beacons’ five.
Valpo (18-13, 10-8 MVC) heads to the MVC Tournament in Springfield, Mo., starting on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. as the fifth-seeded Beacons face eighth-seeded Belmont. All tournament matches will be streamed live on ESPN+.