The Valparaiso University volleyball team rolled to a key Missouri Valley Conference victory over Bradley Saturday evening at the ARC, downing the Braves in straight sets (25-17, 25-17, 25-16).
How It Happened
- After committing three attack errors in the first eight points of the match, Valpo would commit just one more in the first set.
- Bradley was ahead early 7-4, but after a service error returned the serve to the Crusaders, junior Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) served eight straight points to put Valpo ahead 13-7. The Braves would get no closer than four points the rest of the way, with a setter dump from freshman Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) ending the set.
- Valpo continued its strong presence on the attack in the second set, tallying 16 kills against just two errors on just 27 swings for a .519 hitting percentage in the frame. Freshman Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) picked up six kills alone in the set as the Crusaders took a 2-0 lead into the in-game break.
- While the second set featured a strong Crusader offense, the defense took center stage in the third set as Valpo picked up four blocks and held Bradley to -.065 hitting for the frame. The Crusaders enjoyed just a two-point lead at 15-13 before closing the match on a 10-3 run, a stretch which featured three blocks – two solo – and two kills by senior Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky).
Inside the Match
- Five of the Crusaders’ six MVC victories have come in straight sets.
- Valpo posted another fine performance offensively Saturday, committing just 10 attack errors for the match as it hit at a .290 clip. It marks the fourth time in the last six matches the Crusaders have hit between .290 and .300 – the team’s top-four hitting percentages of the year.
- Carlson and Graboski tied for team-high honors Saturday with 10 kills apiece – Carlson doing so on .333 hitting, while Graboski swung at a .450 clip.
- McCarthy matched her career high as well with her third straight strong effort from the right side, tallying nine kills on .438 hitting.
- Graboski led the defensive effort at the net as well, as she was part of six of the Crusaders’ seven blocks and registered four solo rejections.
- The senior will enter next week with 1,155 career kills – eighth in program history and just nine shy of seventh – 348 career blocks – 10th in program history and three away from ninth place – and 57 solo blocks – eighth in program history and just one solo out of seventh position.
- Anderson handed out 32 assists in the winning effort.
- With few long rallies on Saturday, Valpo – which has led the nation in digs/set all season long – needed just 46 digs over the three sets to earn the win, its second-lowest output of the year.
- No Crusader reached double figures in the category, as Carlson and junior Allison Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) picked up nine digs apiece.
Valpo (15-13, 6-8 MVC) heads on the road next weekend for a pair of key conference matchups against squads just behind the Crusaders in the conference standings. The weekend opens Friday night at 7 p.m. at Evansville, with links for live coverage available at ValpoAthletics.com.