Valparaiso fought back from a two games to one deficit to force a fifth game Wednesday evening at the Athletics-Recreation Center, but Youngstown State eventually prevailed 3-2 (30-22, 19-30, 30-11, 27-30, 15-12).
The Penguins took game one after ending the game on an 11-3 spurt. Valpo had come back from an early deficit to tie the game at 19 before YSU’s run. The Crusaders turned the tables in the second game, however, holding Youngstown State to .093 hitting and leading from start to finish, tying the match at a game apiece.
The third game was dominated by the Penguins, who did not commit an attack error, hitting at a .424 clip while forcing Valpo to hit -.027. YSU looked poised to take the match in four after gaining a late 25-21 lead in the fourth game, but the Crusaders fought back, getting timely kills and blocks, including two terminations by Val Bollenbacher (Bremen, Ind./Bremen) at 27-27, to send the match into the decisive fifth game.
The Crusaders jumped out to a quick 4-2 lead in the finale, but Youngstown State answered with a 6-1 run to take the three-point edge. The Penguins earned themselves match point at 14-10, and while a kill by Katie Layman (LaPorte, Ind./New Prairie) and an ace by Kim Bukowski (Waukesha, Wis./West) saved two of the match points, YSU earned the 15-12 win on a kill by Allison Heinz.
Bollenbacher led the Crusader offense, hitting .314 with 16 kills, while Angie Porché (Lynwood, Ill./Thornton Fractional South) added 15 kills. Brittany Malicoat (Elkhart, Ind./Memorial) paced the back line with 39 digs, the most in a five-game match in Valpo history and the second-most in any match.
Ruth Boscaljon led Youngstown State (6-11, 1-5 Horizon) with 18 kills on .485 and also tallied a match-high six blocks. Jessica Fraley posted 13 kills, nine digs and five blocks, while Heinz and Ebony Barbosa each added 10 kills in the balanced attack.
Valparaiso (13-5, 4-2 Horizon) looks to snap its two-match League losing streak on Saturday afternoon, as the Crusaders travel to take on Green Bay. First serve is set for 4 p.m.