The Valpo volleyball team took the first two sets with ease and then rallied late in a tight third set to earn the 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 28-26) sweep of Missouri State in MVC action Friday night at the ARC. The match served as Valpo’s annual Pink Match for breast cancer awareness, with Valpo associate director of athletics and director of recreational sports Rin Seibert the night’s special guest of honor.
How It Happened
- Valpo limited Missouri State to just four first-set kills and -.100 hitting in the opening frame in cruising to the 1-0 lead in the match.
- Valpo scored the first four points of the opener – including back-to-back kills from junior Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) – and would never let the Bears to get closer than three points the rest of the frame.
- A big 9-2 run mid-set provided separation, extending what had been a three-point lead to 10 points at 20-10. Senior Brooke Westphal (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City [Arizona St./South Florida St.]) delivered a pair of service aces during that run.
- Just as in the first set, Valpo took the lead on the opening point of the second set and never looked back, as MSU never tied the frame after the first point.
- Valpo extended a 7-5 lead to 16-8 thanks to a 9-3 run, which featured three kills and a block from junior Jaclyn Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon).
- A five-point run for the Bears brought them back within 18-15, and MSU eventually got to within two points at 22-20. But junior Ally Cummings (Novi, Mich./Novi) kept the Bears at bay with a kill, and after an MSU error gave Valpo set point at 24-20, the Brown and Gold converted on their second chance with a kill by sophomore Jillie Grant (Maumee, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) to take the 2-0 lead in the match.
- After the first two sets featured no ties or lead changes, the third frame was the exact opposite, as the two squads combined for 15 ties and six lead changes.
- Valpo took the lead at the midway point of the set with a three-point run, and still led by one at 17-16 thanks to a block from Bulmahn and sophomore Haley Hart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) before Missouri State reeled off five straight points to go up 21-17.
- After the teams traded sideouts, Valpo battled back to tie the set at 22-all thanks to three MSU errors and a block by Hart and Grant. The teams traded points to make it 23-23, but a kill from the Bears gave them the chance to extend the match to a fourth set.
- Did the raucous din in the ARC, led by the Valpo football team, play a part in the ensuing set point chance resulting in a serve into the net? Perhaps, as the MSU error tied the set at 24-all and ensured extra points.
- McCarthy picked up kills at both 24-24 and 25-25, but each time the Bears followed with a kill of their own to extend the match. Then McCarthy combined with Bulmahn on a block to give Valpo a third match point opportunity at 27-26, and an MSU attack error closed out the sweep for the Crusaders.
Inside the Match
- Valpo honored Seibert prior to the match as she continues her third battle with cancer. In her honor, the program has set up a scholarship. The scholarship has already sailed past its initial goal of $5,000, but donations are still being accepted at http://crowdfunding.valpo.edu.
- Valpo earned its second consecutive sweep with Friday’s victory. In fact, it’s the team’s first back-to-back wins this year.
- Valpo has now won three straight in the series against the Bears after losing the first five meetings.
- McCarthy led all players Friday night with 11 kills, adding three blocks as well.
- Junior setter Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) posted a double-double with 31 assists and 10 digs.
- Junior libero Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) led all players with 19 digs, while junior Melissa Flynders (Mokena, Ill./Providence Catholic) reached double figures as well, tallying 10 digs.
- Hart recorded a match-high five blocks, while Bulmahn was just one off her career best with four rejections.
- While Valpo hit just .140 with 39 kills Friday, it limited Missouri State to 32 kills on .068 hitting in the winning effort.
Valpo (7-12, 2-3 MVC) looks for a perfect home weekend Saturday evening as it hosts Southern Illinois at 5 p.m. The match can be seen live on ESPN+.