The Valparaiso University volleyball team led Green Bay in Horizon League play Saturday evening at the ARC, two sets to one, but the Phoenix claimed the final two sets to earn the 3-2 win and spoil the Crusaders’ Senior Night.
How It Happened
- Green Bay maintained the advantage throughout much of the first half of set one, but the Crusaders pulled away at the midway point on the serve of senior Morganne Longoria (Burlington, Wis./Burlington). Junior Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) recorded five kills during an 8-0 run which gave Valpo the 17-12 lead. The Phoenix responded with three straight points, but Valpo answered with five in a row to maintain control of the opener.
- The tables turned in the second set, as Green Bay pulled out to a quick 8-2 lead and never let the advantage fall under four points.
- The Crusaders would never trail in the third frame, as they scored three of the first four points. A number of times in the first half of the set, Green Bay closed to within a single point, but each time, Valpo held off the Phoenix’s advance. The Crusader offense shone in the third set, hitting at a .389 clip with 18 kills.
- A 5-0 Crusader run early in the fourth set gave them a 12-9 lead, but Green Bay answered with six of the next eight points. The Phoenix extended its lead to 21-16 before five consecutive points from Valpo – including two kills and a block from sophomore Sydney Bronner (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth) – tied the frame at 21-all. But Green Bay scored four of the final five points to force a decisive fifth set.
- The Crusaders scored two of the first three points in the fifth set, but that would be their only lead, as Green Bay scored five straight to go ahead 6-2 and Valpo could get no closer than two points the rest of the way.
Inside the Match
- Valpo honored its group of six seniors – Longoria, Tarrah Lasky (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso), Emily Campbell (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central), Jamie Lacheta (Warsaw, Ind./Warsaw), Lexie Bouza (Elgin, Ill./Burlington Central) and Rachel Bruinsma (New Era, Mich./Western Michigan Christian) - following the match during Senior Night ceremonies. The group of six has helped Valpo to 91 wins over their careers to date.
- Graboski matched her career high for kills on Saturday, recording 24 terminations. The junior had at least three kills in each of the five sets, including nine in the opening set alone.
- Sophomore Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) notched her second triple-double in the last three weeks, finishing with 13 kills on .345 hitting to go with a career-high 11 assists and 10 digs.
- Campbell joined Graboski and Carlson with double-figure kill totals on the attack, posting 12 kills on .250 hitting and also contributing 19 digs in the back row. She now owns 1,378 career kills, just 26 shy of fourth place in Valpo history.
- Longoria finished with her third 20-20 performance of the season, tallying a match-high 29 digs and 25 assists. The senior now has recorded 595 digs on the year, leaping into eighth place in program history for a single season in the category.
- Lasky handed out 15 assists as well, as the Crusaders hit .235 on offense for the match.
- Bruinsma led the Valpo effort on the block, as she was part of seven of the Crusaders’ 12 team blocks. The senior matched her career best with three solo rejections.
The Crusaders (14-17, 5-9 Horizon) close out the 2016 home slate at the ARC Wednesday evening at the ARC as they host Oakland. First serve is slated for 6 p.m., and all the action can be seen live on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app. Links for the live coverage will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.