The Santa Clara Broncos flexed their muscles and proved why they're ranked #6 in the nation on Friday afternoon in Notre Dame, Ind., defeating the Valpo Crusaders 30-20, 30-13, 30-21 at the Joyce Center.
The Brown and Gold hung tough in the early going in game one, trailing Santa Clara 21-17 before a 9-3 game-ending Bronco run. Then Santa Clara, a Final Four team from a season ago, roared out of the gates in game two and overpowered Valpo before hanging on late in game three to close it out.
In the match, all 13 Crusaders saw the court, including standout freshman Angie Porché
(Lynwood, Ill./Thornton-Fractional South) who led the team with seven kills. The 2005 Northwest Indiana Times Player of the Year has now taken the team lead in kills with 48 through her first four matches.
(Elkhart, Ind./Memorial) had five kills, but also lead a strong Valpo block with three total, including a pair of solos. Nicole Schulz
(Kewaskum, Wis./Kettle Moraine Lutheran) and Jessie Fox
(Granger, Ind./Penn) added two blocks each for the Crusaders, who had eight team blocks to only seven for Santa Clara.
Freshman Val Bollenbacher
(Bremen, Ind./Bremen) had the best match of her young Valpo career and was an offensive bright spot with four kills on 10 attacks. Fox and Schulz each also had four kills.
The Broncos (4-0) hit a sizzling .423 for the match, while the Crusaders hit only .051. Kim McGiven and Anna Cmaylo led the Santa Clara offense with 10 kills each.
Valpo (3-1) will be back in action later Friday night to kick off the Shamrock Invitational against host Notre Dame, ranked 21st in the nation. That match along with both of Saturday's Crusader contests will be carried live on 95.1 FM, WVUR, and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.