After splitting the first two sets of its Horizon League opener Friday evening, the Valparaiso University volleyball team battled deep into extra points with Green Bay in the third set, but the Phoenix prevailed to take the lead and carried the momentum into the fourth set to deal the Crusaders a 3-1 (24-26, 25-15, 30-28, 25-17) setback.
How It Happened
- The opening set was a set of runs both ways, with both squads putting together multiple sustained runs. With the lead cut to two points at 16-14, the Crusaders scored the next four points in a row to push the advantage to 20-14 before Green Bay responded with seven straight points to pull ahead.
- The two squads traded the next seven points, with a Lizzie Zaleski (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) kill making it 24-all. Zaleski followed with another kill to give Valpo set point, and a Green Bay error ended the opener in the Crusaders’ favor.
- Green Bay scored nine consecutive points in the middle stages of the second set to pull away en route to evening the match at one set apiece.
- The Phoenix looked to have control leading 22-18 late in set three, but Valpo would score six of the next seven points – including a pair of kills by Jamie Lacheta (Warsaw, Ind./Warsaw) – to earn the set point chance at 24-23 following a Zaleski kill.
- A kill by the Phoenix forced extra points, and both squads had chances to grab the momentum from there. Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) tallied a kill to hold off Green Bay’s first set point opportunity, followed by a block from Rachel Bruinsma (New Era, Mich./Western Michigan Christian) and Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) to go ahead 26-25.
- A service error once again evened up the set, and Green Bay earned each of the next three set point chances. Kills by Carlson kept the Crusaders alive on the first two, but the Phoenix finished the set with a kill to earn the 30-28 win and pull ahead.
- Valpo led in the opening stages of the fourth set, but Green Bay scored four consecutive points early to take the lead for good in closing out the match.
Inside the Match
- Green Bay only tallied six more kills than the Crusaders over the four sets, but Valpo hit just .069 as it committed 34 attack errors – including 11 blocks by the Phoenix.
- Carlson paced Valpo with 13 kills and also finished with 10 digs. Lacheta came up one kill short of her career high, posting 11 kills, while Graboski added 10.
- Morganne Longoria (Burlington, Wis./Burlington) paced Valpo in the back row with 26 digs, leaving her just 60 digs shy of third place in program history. Lexie Bouza (Elgin, Ill./Burlington Central) added 14 digs as well as the Crusaders out-dug Green Bay, 71-66.
The Crusaders (6-9, 0-1 Horizon) continue Horizon League play Saturday afternoon at UIC at 4 p.m. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app, with links for the live video and live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.