Dominant offense leads volleyball to sweep of Evansville

By: Valparaiso University Last Updated: November 3, 2019

The Valpo volleyball team enjoyed easily its best offensive performance of the season Saturday evening at the ARC, attacking at a season-best .331 clip in a 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-10) sweep of Evansville to complete a perfect weekend at home.

How It Happened

-          The tone of the match was set from the start of the opening frame, as Valpo reeled off a quick seven-point run on the serve of junior Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) to take an early 8-1 advantage. Foreshadowing the strength of the offense on the evening, four different Valpo players picked up kills during the run.

-          Evansville closed to within 9-5 as it scored four of the next five, but that was close as the Purple Aces would get. Valpo answered with the next two points, and from that point on, the lead was at least five points. Valpo eventually closed the opener in its favor on its second chance with a kill from junior Ally Cummings (Novi, Mich./Novi).

-          Much like the first set, Valpo claimed an early lead it would not relinquish in the second frame, going up 8-3 thanks in part to two kills and two blocks by junior Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton).

-          Again similar to the opener, the Purple Aces closed to within 9-7, but this time, Valpo answered with a 7-2 run – all seven points coming on kills from five different attackers – to push its lead to 16-9. The sides basically traded points the rest of the way, and an Evansville attack error allowed Valpo to claim the second set on its first chance to go up 2-0.

-          A six-point spurt on the serve of junior Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) extended a 9-6 Valpo lead in the third set to 15-6, a run which included three kills from junior Jaclyn Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon).

-          From there, the result was academic, as Valpo closed out the match on one final 6-0 run. Sophomore Jillie Grant (Maumee, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) started the run with a kill and then stepped back to the service line, delivering a pair of aces during the run, including the match’s final point.

Inside the Match

-          Saturday’s victory avenged a 3-2 loss at Evansville in the two squads’ first meeting this year.

-          Following this weekend’s pair of sweeps, Valpo is now 9-3 since joining The Valley against its pair of in-state conference foes in Indiana State and Evansville.

-          Valpo finished Saturday night’s match hitting .331, as the Brown and Gold tallied 48 kills against just nine attack errors.

-          Valpo’s .331 clip was its best of the season by 86 points, and was the best single-match effort since hitting .356 against Western Illinois on Sept. 15, 2018.

-          The .331 hitting percentage was also Valpo’s best effort in an MVC match since joining the conference prior to the 2017 season.

-          The night was highlighted by the Crusaders hitting .481 in the third set, posting 14 kills and just one attack error in 27 swings. That mark is Valpo’s best single-set percentage of the year by 132 points.

-          Anderson handed out 36 assists in the win while running the offense, and set at a .424 clip, as those 36 assists came on just 85 set attempts. The junior added 13 digs as well defensively for a double-double.

-          Cookerly joined in on quarterbacking the offense as well, often taking the second ball when Anderson took the first ball. The junior libero matched her career high with eight assists on just 20 set attempts.

-          The balanced offensive effort was led by Valpo’s outside hitters, as both outsides hit at better than a .400 clip.

-          Grant finished with 13 kills on .464 hitting, as she didn’t commit a single error on the attack. The .464 mark was the best of the sophomore’s career.

-          When Grant was in the back row, it was Bulmahn up front taking care of business to the tune of 11 kills on .429 hitting.

-          All five of Valpo’s hitters tallied at least six kills in the win and all hit at least .200 as well.

-          In the back row, Cookerly tallied 17 digs and freshman Bella Ravotto (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) matched Anderson’s output with 13 digs.

-          McCarthy led all players with five blocks on Saturday, as she was part of all but two of Valpo’s seven team blocks. Between the back-row effort and the defense at the net, Valpo limited what can be an explosive Evansville offense to just 36 kills on .131 hitting.

Next Up

Valpo (10-16, 5-7 MVC) heads back on the road next weekend for a key pair of matches in MVC play as teams battle for standings position. The weekend kicks off on Friday, Nov. 8 at Southern Illinois.