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VALPO HEADS TO MID-CON TOURNEY LOOKING TO DEFEND TITLE AND EARN NCAA BERTH

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

#1 VALPARAISO (27-4, 14-0 Mid-Con) at Mid-Continent Conference Tournament

Valparaiso will travel to Tulsa, Okla. this weekend for the Mid-Continent Conference Volleyball Tournament. The Crusaders, the Mid-Con regular season champion and the tournament's top seed, will battle fourth-seeded IUPUI on Friday evening. With a win, the Brown and Gold would advance to the championship on Saturday. The tournament champion will earn the Mid-Con's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Valpo is the defending tournament champion and earned its first NCAA Tournament berth in 2003.

WHAT: Mid-Continent Conference Tournament

WHEN: Semifinals: Friday, November 19
#1 Valparaiso at #4 IUPUI, 5 p.m. CST.
#2 Oral Roberts vs. #3 Western Illinois, 7:30 p.m. CST.
Championship: Saturday, November 20, 2 p.m. CST.

WHERE: Cooper Aerobics Center (350), Tulsa, Okla.

RADIO: Friday's match will be broadcast via the internet at www.sportsjuice.com, with Saturday's championship to be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM) and the internet at www.valpo.edu/athletics.

THE COACH: Valparaiso is led by Carin Avery, who is in her 5th season overall and 3rd with the Crusaders.
She is 129-46 (.737) overall and 74-22 (.771) with the Brown and Gold.

SERIES RECORDS: Valparaiso trails the all-time series with IUPUI 12-9. The Crusaders won both matches this season, 3-0 at the ARC and 3-1 in Indianapolis. Oral Roberts leads the overall series 11-7 with Valpo. The Crusaders were 3-1 winners at home and 3-2 winners in Tulsa this season. Valpo leads the all-time series with Western Illinois 23-5. The Crusaders swept both previous meetings this year.

VALPO IN THE MID-CON TOURNEY: Valparaiso has qualified for the conference tournament in 11 of the 13 seasons the Crusaders have been in the Mid-Continent Conference. The Crusaders have a 9-6 all-time record in tournament play. Valpo has won the tournament title four times: 1994, 1995, 1996, and 2003.

VALPO IN SEARCH OF SINGLE SEASON WIN RECORD THIS WEEKEND: Valparaiso's 27 victories this season are tied for the most in school history. With a win in the semifinals against IUPUI, the Brown and Gold would break the 2003 team's mark with their 28th triumph of the season, most ever at Valpo.

CRUSADERS TALLY SCHOOL'S LONGEST WIN STREAK EARLIER THIS YEAR: The Crusaders went unbeaten in 14 consecutive matches earlier this season, the longest streak in school history. Valpo began its run on September 17 with a three-game sweep at Saint Louis. The streak continued through October 23 before Arkansas snapped the run the next day with a five-game win. Valpo enters the Mid-Con Tournament having won 21 of its last 22 matches.

CRUSADERS RANKED TENTH IN REGIONAL RANKINGS: Valparaiso is currently ranked tenth in the Central Region according to the latest RichKern.com/AVCA regional rankings. The Crusaders have been ranked in each of the eight listings that have been released this season.

SILCOX VALPO'S ALL-TIME DIG LEADER: Valpo senior Sara Silcox has shattered Valpo's career dig mark. The senior has tallied 1,835 digs during her four years with the Brown and Gold, surpassing Lori Barton's (1988-1991) old mark of 1,537.

SILCOX ALSO SETS SINGLE SEASON DIG MARK: Sara Silcox has also set Valpo's single season dig record this year. She enters the tournament with 550, seven more than her old record of 543 set last season.

MIKOS CONTINUES REJECTIONS: Liz Mikos has moved into second place on Valpo's career blocking list. The junior has tallied 402 in three seasons, and just trails Heather Hynds (2000-2003) total of 443.

PALASH A DOUBLE THREAT: Freshman Amy Palash has proven to be double trouble for opponents. The rookie ranks second on the team with 3.02 kills per game, while having added 4.10 digs per game. Her 443 total digs rank tenth on Valpo's single season chart. She is only three digs away from seventh place and 21 out of fourth.