Men’s Tennis Extends Winning Streak to Seven
The location changed, but the results remained the same for the red hot Valparaiso University men’s tennis team on Sunday morning. The Crusaders opened their spring trip in Orlando, Fla. by rolling past Rollins College 6-1 to run their winning streak to seven and boost their record to 8-1.
How It Happened
- The closest match of the day came at No. 2 singles, as Chad Kissell (Latrobe, Pa. / Greater Latrobe) bounced back after dropping the first set to top Francesco Racanelli. Kissell lost the first 6-3, but then rebounded with 6-2, 10-5 victories.
- Jeffrey Schorsch (Perrysburg, Ohio / Perrysburg) was a winner at No. 1 singles, besting Ahmed Albitar 6-2, 6-1.
- Freshman Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian) won in dominating fashion at No. 6 singles, whitewashing Guilherme Dumit 6-0, 6-1.
- Senior Kyle Dunn (Fond du Lac, Wis. / Fond du Lac) enjoyed a 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Ziad Melhaoui at No. 4 singles, while Garrett Gardner (Poland, Ohio / Poland) picked up a 6-3, 6-2 win over Cody Gubin.
- The Tars (3-4) grabbed their only win at No. 3 singles, as Sami Kirberg slipped by Charlie Emhardt (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) 6-4, 6-4.
- The Crusaders nailed down the doubles point by capturing victories at all three spots. Schorsch and Emhardt prevailed 6-3 at No. 1, Dunn and Gardner won 6-1 at No. 2 and Kissell and Ancona were triumphant 6-3 at No. 3.
Inside the Match
- After a three-match hiatus of playing together, Schorsch and Emhardt got back in the win column as a duo. Emhardt now has 101 career doubles wins, while Schorsch has 98 career doubles triumphs.
- Dunn has played doubles with four different partners this season and holds a 14-2 record. He has also won six straight singles matches and is 15-5 overall. Dunn and Emhardt are now tied for second on Valpo’s career singles victory chart with 80 apiece.
- The top four players on Valpo’s career singles wins list are all members of the current team.
- Schorsch is the school’s career singles wins leader with 98. He’s knocking on the door of the century mark in both singles and doubles victories. Schorsch has grabbed eight straight singles wins and is off to an undefeated start to the spring season.
The Crusaders will continue play in Florida on Monday as they face Mount Saint Mary’s and Grand Valley State. Both matches are slated to occur in Kissimmee, Fla.
Crusaders Can’t Close Series Sweep Sunday
The Valparaiso University baseball team saw its three-game winning streak snapped on Sunday afternoon at Sessions Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., as the Dolphins held the Crusaders scoreless for the final five innings of a 6-3 Jacksonville victory.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders (4-5) did not muster up a base runner the first time through the batting order. Jacksonville starting pitcher Casey Kulina found an early rhythm, and the Dolphins gave him immediate run support.
- Jacksonville’s first run came in the bottom of the first, when Nathan Koslowski doubled to lead off the frame. Two batters later, Mike Cassala ripped a two-bagger to plate Koslowski.
- The Dolphins went to work again in the third, and Koslowski was once again at the center of the rally. He cracked a double to drive in Alex Seifert, who had walked to begin the frame. Koslowski later scored on a single by Sam Armstrong, making it 3-0.
- The Crusaders broke through in the fourth, when Giovanni Garbella stroked a run-scoring single and Jayden Eggimann ripped a hit to drive in a pair and tie the game at three.
- Kulina was removed before the end of the inning, and Spencer Stockton was summoned from the bullpen. Stockton proved to be the star of the game, as he flipped 4 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball while surrendering just one hit.
- That allowed the Dolphins to regain the edge, which occurred in the bottom of the fifth as John Cassala lifted a sacrifice fly.
- The Dolphins tacked on two runs in the eighth, charged to Valpo freshman Grant Hill, who was making his Crusader debut. Koslowski was once again involved, as he singled up the middle for Jacksonville’s final run. He finished the day 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Inside the Game
- Stockton picked up the win in relief, his first victory of the season. Meanwhile, Valpo starter Grant Inman was hit with the defeat to fall to 2-1. He gave up four earned runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking one.
- This was the first time this season Valpo’s starting pitcher didn’t go five innings.
- Alex Dirienzo came out of the bullpen and worked a clean fifth, before Ellis Foreman came in and heaved two strong frames. Chet Joslyn came in to get the final two outs of the eighth and limit the damage.
- James Stea had two stolen bases and has now swiped seven bags this season.
- No Crusader had a multi-hit performance and the team totaled five hits. Eggimann drove in two runs, while Stea and Hanson each reached base twice.
The Crusaders will remain in the Sunshine State and next take the field on Tuesday at 2 p.m. CT against Pennsylvania in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Live coverage links will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Bradley Bests Valpo in Women’s Tennis
The Valparaiso University women’s tennis team fell to Bradley 7-0 on Sunday afternoon in Peoria, Ill. The Braves upped their record to 7-4, while the Crusaders fell to 0-8 this season.
How It Happened
- Kathleen Hebble (Sellersburg, Ind. / Silver Creek) and Paige Heuer (Munster, Ind. / Munster) kept it close at No. 1 doubles, but came out on the losing end of a 6-4 match.
- Valpo also dropped its match at No. 2 doubles 6-4, as Jordan Kopfer (Eagan, Minn. / Eastview) and Meg Modesto (Chesterton, Ind. / Chesterton) lost to Ariel Dechter and Aimee Manfredo.
- The closest singles sets came at No. 1 and No. 4 singles. Hebble’s second set was 6-4 after a 6-1 first against Dechter, while Kopfer had identical set scores in her match against Natalie Barbery.
- The match-clinching team point occurred at No. 2 singles, where Heuer lost to Alejandra de Lasa 6-2, 6-0.
- The last court in action was No. 3 singles, as Modesto put up a fight before succumbing to Barbery 6-1, 6-3.
The Crusaders head to California for spring break. The first match of the trip is slated to occur at 5 p.m. CT on Friday, as Valpo takes on California Lutheran.
Softball Claims Wild Win Over Stony Brook
The Valparaiso University softball team came out of a topsy-turvy battle with Stony Brook on Sunday morning in Nashville, Tenn. right-side up, as the Crusaders held off one final rally from the Seawolves to earn a 10-9 victory in their finale at the Purple/Gold Challenge.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders got the scoring going right away versus Stony Brook, as batting as the visiting team, Valpo put together a two-out rally in the top of the first. Senior Sam Stewart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) and junior Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) connected on back-to-back singles, and junior Lanie Callaghan (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland) delivered a two-run triple to give the Crusaders the early lead.
- Valpo then put up a crooked number in the second inning. A walk and two singles loaded the bases with one out, setting the stage for a two-run double by senior Jorgi Calombaris (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East). Stewart followed with a two-run double of her own, and after a pitching change, Stauffenberg drove in a run with a base hit to complete a five-run inning and give Valpo a 7-0 lead.
- Just when it looked like the Crusaders were threatening to win via run rule, Stony Brook stormed back with a seven-run inning, scoring all seven runs with one out, to tie the game at 7-7.
- Junior Mackenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]), who had started the game and faced the first four batters of the inning, re-entered in the circle with two on and two out and induced a groundout to escape the frame.
- Back-to-back two-out singles led to nothing in the fifth inning for the Crusaders, but Valpo would take the lead for good in the sixth.
- Senior Taylor Lawson (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) and sophomore Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) started the frame with consecutive infield hits, and two batters later, Stewart knocked them both in with a two-run double. Then, with two outs, a Callaghan single pushed home Stewart with a key insurance run to make it 10-7 Crusaders.
- Valpo loaded the bases with one out in the top of the seventh, but was unable to add to its lead. Then, in the bottom of the frame, the Seawolves loaded the bases with two away before two runs scored on a Crusader error. With the score 10-9 and the potential tying and winning runs in scoring position, Grossmann recorded a strikeout to close out the Valpo win.
Inside the Game
- The Crusaders scored in double figures for the second time this season.
- The nine runs surrendered were the most given up by Valpo in a win since defeating Youngstown State 11-9 in the 2013 Horizon League Championship title game.
- Valpo tallied 15 hits in Sunday’s win – matching a season high and tying the most in a single game by a Crusader squad since February of 2014.
- As a team, the Crusaders went 7-for-16 with runners in scoring position in Sunday’s victory after going just 3-for-21 with RISP over the weekend’s first three games.
- Stewart led the way for the Crusaders Sunday, going 3-for-5 with three runs scored and four RBIs. The senior matched her career highs for both hits and RBIs in a single game.
- Stewart has now posted five multi-hit games on the year and has reached base in all eight games.
- Trepanier went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, tallying multiple hits for the third straight game.
- Callaghan drove in her first three runs of the season and picked up her first multi-hit game, finishing 2-for-4.
- Stauffenberg also recorded a pair of hits, extending her hitting streak to five consecutive games.
- Batting in the nine-spot in the order for the first time since her sophomore year, Lawson successfully turned over the lineup three times, finishing the win 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base.
- Grossmann improved to 2-2 this year in the circle, earning the win as she recorded all but one out.
The Crusaders (6-2) will face one of the nation’s most successful programs in midweek action on Wednesday, as Valpo travels to Tuscaloosa to take on #9/11 Alabama. The game will be broadcast live on the SEC Network+, with Eli Gold and Danae Hays on the call, and can also be seen live on ESPN3, Watch ESPN and the ESPN app. Links for the live video, as well as live stats, will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Crusaders Fall Twice on Saturday
The Valparaiso University softball team came out on the wrong end of a pair of decisions for the first time this season on Saturday at the Purple/Gold Challenge in Nashville, Tenn, falling to host Lipscomb, 7-0, and to Eastern Illinois, 12-5.
How It Happened – Lipscomb
- The Crusaders struggled to put together scoring threats in the day’s opener, as they were unable to advance a runner past second base against Lipscomb.
- Meanwhile, the Lady Bison scored four runs in the second to take the lead for good, and added a single run in the third and two in the sixth.
How It Happened – Eastern Illinois
- Valpo got out to a fast start versus EIU, scoring a pair of runs in the second inning. Junior Jasmine Ramirez (Litchfield Park, Ariz./Millennium) singled with two outs, and sophomore Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) followed with her first home run as a Crusader.
- Singles from senior Jorgi Calombaris (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) and sophomore Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) and an EIU error loaded the bases for the Crusaders with one out in the third.
- Senior Sam Stewart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in a run, and junior Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) delivered a two-run single to extend the Crusader lead to 5-0 through three innings.
- The Panthers rallied for the win, however, connecting on two-run homers in the fourth and fifth innings and then scoring eight two-out runs in the sixth.
Inside the Games
- Trepanier led Valpo in the opener, going 2-for-4 at the plate, while Stewart drew a pair of walks versus Lipscomb.
- Trepanier followed with a 3-for-4 effort in the nightcap against EIU. Lawton also reached base twice against the Panthers with a hit and a walk.
- The Crusaders were just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position over the two games.
- Junior Mackenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) took the loss in both outings on Saturday, falling to 1-2 on the year.
- Saturday’s losses were the first of the year for the Crusaders, snapping a five-game winning streak to start the season.
The Crusaders (5-2) look to close out the weekend on a winning note as they take on Stony Brook at 10 a.m. Live stats will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Bowling Closes Out Big Red Invitational
The #25 Valparaiso University bowling team finished up the Big Red Invitational from Lincoln, Neb. on Saturday, closing the tournament in sixth place.
How It Happened
- Valpo opened bracket play versus #10 Central Missouri in the best-of-seven baker format. The Crusaders bested the Jennies easily in the first game, 220-138, but UCM would claim the next four games – including a tight 187-183 decision in game five – to earn the 4-1 win.
- The Crusaders would end up facing Central Missouri in their second and final match of the day as well, and this time got out to a 3-0 lead with efforts of 187, 191 and 224 in the first three games. But the Jennies rallied, rolling four straight games of 186 or better while Valpo was unable to crack 180 in any of the final three games. A 186-170 decision against the Crusaders in the finale closed out a 4-3 loss.
The Crusaders (40-43) return to action at Vanderbilt’s Columbia 300 Music City Classic on Friday, March 17.
Women’s Tennis Falls to Akron
The Valparaiso University women’s tennis team suffered a 7-0 loss to Akron at the Courts of NWI on Friday evening. The match featured two competitive doubles showdowns and one three-set singles affair.
How It Happened
- Dao Sysouvanh (Sun Prairie, Wis. / Sun Prairie) was the only Valpo player to win a set, as she took the first from Carla Flores 6-1, before dropping the second set 7-6(4) and the third 10-4.
- Randi Wind (Park Ridge, Ill. / Maine South) also kept it close at No. 6 singles, but lost to Waverly Wituski 6-4, 7-6(4).
- Kathleen Hebble (Sellersburg, Ind. / Silver Creek) and Paige Heuer (Munster, Ind. / Munster), who were the Horizon League Doubles Team of the Week for each of the last two weeks, fell 7-5 at No. 1 to Carli Knezevich and Karolina Maksimova.
- There was also a tight match at No. 3 doubles, as Shannon Newnes and Rita Pedrosa edged Valpo’s Halle Roach (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) and Jordan Kopfer (Eagan, Minn. / Eastview) 6-4.
The Crusaders (0-7) will visit Bradley on Sunday at 3 p.m. This will be the final match before they head to California for their annual spring trip.
Late Comeback Lifts Crusaders to Third Straight Win
The Valparaiso University baseball team continued its strong start to the season on Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla., putting together some late-inning drama for the second consecutive contest. Valpo trailed 2-1 as late as the eighth inning, but scored a run in the eighth and three more in the ninth to beat the host Dolphins 5-2.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders (4-4) got on the board in the first inning when Nate Palace spanked a one-out double, moved to third on an infield single by Giovanni Garbella and trotted across the dish on a sacrifice fly by Jake Hanson.
- Valpo starting pitcher Wes Gordon retired the side in order in the bottom of the first, before his Jacksonville (5-6) counterpart Chris Gau did the same in the top of the second.
- Jacksonville’s Sam Armstrong drilled a solo homer to begin the bottom of the second inning, tying the game at one.
- Palace ripped a two-out double in the third, but was left stranded. James Stea had walked earlier in the inning, but was caught stealing before Palace could unload the two-bagger.
- The Dolphins threatened against Gordon in the third, but he escaped a first-and-second one-out situation without yielding a run.
- Jacksonville took the lead in the fifth inning, when it settled for one run on three hits and a walk in the final inning of Gordon’s start.
- Chet Joslyn struck out the only man he faced in the sixth, before Montana Quigley came in and surrendered a hit and a walk, but no runs.
- Luke VanLanen hurled a scoreless seventh, before Easton Rhodehouse did the same in the eighth.
- Valpo notched an important eighth-inning tally to tie the game at two. Gau was still in the game in the eighth, which got off to a favorable start for the Dolphins with two outs and only one runner on base (Stea, who had reached on an infield single). But Garbella worked a walk and an error by Jacksonville’s third baseman allowed the tying run to score.
- Freshman Tyler Santana was summoned from the Jacksonville bullpen to pitch the ninth in a tied game. Jayden Eggimann reached on an infield single with one away, then Steven Fitzsimmons lashed a single to right, placing men at first and third.
- That led to a pitching change as Mike Cassala came in to pitch. Scott Kapers reached on a fielder’s choice bunt and Eggimann scampered home on an error by the catcher, an unearned tally. Chase Dawson grounded a single to the right side, driving in two pivotal two-out runs to boost Valpo’s lead to three.
- Stea followed with a single, but Dawson was cut down at the dish to end the frame.
- Freshman Jon Tieman took over for the ninth and nailed down his third save of the young season.
Inside the Game
- Rhodehouse earned his second win of the season by virtue of another scoreless relief appearance. He issued one walk but no hits or runs in a scoreless eighth to keep the game tied and set up the winning rally. Rhodehouse hasn’t allowed a run in the first 8 1/3 innings of his freshman season.
- VanLanen made just his second appearance, but came through with an important hold. He has not allowed a run in 1 2/3 frames this year.
- Gordon received no decision after scattering seven hits and yielding two earned runs in five innings. He struck out one and walked one.
- Palace put together yet another multi-hit day, going 2-for-4. He has multiple hits in five of his eight games this season.
- Dawson finished with two RBIs to double his season total to four.
The Crusaders and Dolphins will round out the three-game series on Sunday at noon CT as Grant Inman pitches against Casey Kulina. Live stats and audio will be available courtesy of Jacksonville Athletics. Links to the live coverage can be found on ValpoAthletics.com.
Women’s Basketball Season Concludes with Loss to Top-Seeded Green Bay
After notching a first-round win on Friday, the Valparaiso University women’s basketball team ran into the top-seeded Green Bay Phoenix on Saturday afternoon, an 89-60 defeat in the Horizon League Quarterfinals. Valpo finished the year winning four of its last seven and three of its last five. The Crusaders are expected to bring back 92.1 percent of their regular season scoring for the 2017-18 season.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders (10-21) scored on each of their first two possessions and owned early leads of 2-0 and 4-2. The first points of the game came on a second-chance bucket by Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / George Washington). Valpo’s second basket was a layup by Amber Lindfors (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Elk Grove).
- The Phoenix (25-4) gained the lead as Jessica Lindstrom and Mehryn Kraker nailed triples to put their team in front 8-4. Valpo’s next basket wouldn’t come until the 3:18 mark of the first, when Lindfors worked her way inside for a layup to end an 11-0 run for the Phoenix.
- Allison Schofield (McCordsville, Ind. / Heritage Christian) drained Valpo’s first 3-pointer of the game with one minute left in the first quarter. That snapped a 21-2 Green Bay spurt and cut the lead to 23-9.
- Allie LeClaire provided a quick response to the Schofield 3, knocking down a triple of her own.
- Lindstrom finished the first quarter with 15 points as the Phoenix knocked down six total 3s to build a 29-11 lead after 10 minutes. Lindfors owned six of Valpo’s 11 points in the first.
- Schofield swished her third 3 of the half with 50 seconds left in the second quarter.
- The Crusaders outscored the Phoenix 11-8 in the first five minutes of the third quarter. Hamlet, Franklin and Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind. / Westview) all made 3s during that stretch.
- The Crusaders outscored the Phoenix 19-9 in the fourth quarter.
Inside the Game
- Schofield had three first-half 3-pointers and led the Crusaders in scoring at the break. She shattered her previous career high of eight points before halftime. She finished with a career-high 15 points and knocked down four triples.
- Franklin finished her final game of the season with 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting and 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. Lindfors contributed six points and six rebounds.
- This marked the final game of the Valpo careers of seniors Haylee Thompson (Hailey, Idaho / Wood River [Utah State]) and Imani Scott-Thompson (Akron, Ohio / Firestone [Dakota College at Bottineau]). Thompson graduated last year and is pursuing a graduate degree, while Scott-Thompson is set to graduate this spring. Scott-Thompson came off the bench to swish two 3-pointers, her first game with multiple 3s this season.
- Lindstrom led all scorers with 20 points, while Kraker chipped in 11.
- The Phoenix shot just 8.3 percent (1-of-12) in the fourth quarter, and still finished the game at 45.9 percent. They shot over 60 percent in the first half.
- The Crusaders committed 23 turnovers to Green Bay’s 10 and were outscored in the paint 32-12.
Inside the Season
- The Crusaders are expected to return 92.1 percent of their regular season scoring. That’s the second-highest percentage of returning scoring in the Horizon League behind only Wright State.
- Franklin finished the season with 559 points, which ranks second in program history for points in a single year. She passed Debbie Bolen’s 1992-93 season (545) for second on the all-time list with her performance on Saturday. Bolen’s 1991-92 season (638) is the program record.
- Franklin enters her senior season with 1,236 career points, ranking sixth in program history. She passed Stephanie Greer (1987-91) for sixth on Saturday.
- Franklin finished the season at 18.0 points per game, ranking fifth in program history for single-season scoring average. She also shot 85.8 percent at the free-throw line, the second-best single-season free throw percentage in program history.
- Lindfors finished the year with 70 blocks, ranking third on Valpo’s single-season list. With still two years remaining, Lindfors has racked up 141 career blocks, third on Valpo’s all-time list.
- Schaub completed the season with 134 assists, ranking seventh in program history for assists in a single season. She passed Katie Boone’s 2001-02 season for seventh on Saturday.
Thoughts from Head Coach Tracey Dorow
- Opening Statement: “Green Bay is a really good team. They went 10-for-15 from 3 in the first half and moved the ball well. We didn’t seem to execute as well on defense as we did yesterday. There’s a reason they’ve won the regular season title 19 years in a row. I give Green Bay a lot of credit and I wish them well.”
- On Green Bay’s Tradition of Success: “I don’t think most people understand how hard it is to win in this league, and they’ve done it time and time again. This season, I give credit to the teams that were able to knock them off by playing tough and with a lot of aggressiveness. That’s something we did not do today. Green Bay believes they’re going to win and you can tell with the confidence they have when they walk on the court. In order to be at that level, we have to prepare as hard as we possibly can and as tough as we possibly can. Their effort level exceeds most teams. We have to get better, and we will.”
- On Playing the Tournament at a Neutral Site: “For us right now, the biggest factor is that we’ve been treated like royalty here. We feel that people have really embraced us at the hotel, at every restaurant. At every place we’ve gone, it’s really special. We get that tournament feel and that tournament atmosphere. We’re a big family at Valpo, so it’s cool to be in the same place as the men.”
Crusaders Start Weekend with Extra-Inning Win over Jacksonville
The Valparaiso University baseball team started its spring trip in style on Friday evening in Jacksonville, Fla., prevailing 6-3 in a 10-inning contest. The Crusaders have won back-to-back games, including Friday’s win over an Atlantic Sun contender and strong warm-weather foe.
How It Happened
- The first run of the game came in the top of the second inning, when a pair of Jacksonville (5-5) miscues gifted Valpo (3-4) the early edge. Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth) was awarded first base after being hit by a pitch to start the inning, and then eventually scored on an error by the Dolphins’ third baseman on a ground ball by Steven Fitzsimmons (Golden Valley, Minn. / Robbinsdale Cooper).
- Valpo starting pitcher Mario Losi (Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon) yielded back to-to-back singles to begin the bottom of the second inning, creating a quality scoring chance for Jacksonville. The Dolphins bunted the runners over, then scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Mike Cassala.
- Chris Gau followed with a base on balls, then Dakota Julylia stepped in and spanked a run-scoring single to put the Dolphins ahead 2-1.
- Losi didn’t face any more major trouble until the sixth inning, when he issued a one-out walk followed by a single, leading to his departure. Michael Mommersteeg (St. Thomas, Ont., Canada / St. Joseph’s) came in and got two critical outs to keep it a one-run affair after six.
- Meanwhile, the Crusader offense couldn’t find a solution for Jacksonville starter Michael Baumann. After giving up the second-inning run, Baumann sent down 14 straight Crusaders.
- Valpo wasn’t sorry to see Baumann go when he was lifted after six dazzling innings in favor of reliever Mark Potter. The Crusaders greeted Potter with two runs on three hits and one error in the seventh.
- Jake Hanson (Yorkville, Ill. / Aurora Christian) cranked up the rally by stroking a single, then Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth) bunted Hanson into scoring position. Two batters later, Fitzsimmons came through with a base knock up the middle, driving in Hanson to tie the game at two. Fitzsimmons advanced to third on an error by the centerfielder.
- Scott Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mt. Carmel) followed with a single that drove in Fitzsimmons for an unearned run and allowed Valpo to gain a 3-2 edge.
- After Mommersteeg and Ellis Foreman (Round Rock, Texas / Stony Point) combined to work a scoreless seventh, Valpo threatened in the eighth as James Stea (Los Alamitos, Calif. / Los Alamitos [Golden West]) was hit by a pitch and stole second. He was left stranded at second.
- The Dolphins evened the score in the bottom of the eighth, when Mike Cassala doubled against Foreman to score Sam Armstrong. Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) came in to pitch for Valpo and notched two important outs to keep the game tied.
- Neither team scored in the ninth, sending the Crusaders to extra innings for the first time this season. Valpo posted a three spot in the 10th inning, as Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif. / Cathedral Catholic) lashed a run-scoring single, Shaikin ripped a run-scoring hit and Jayden Eggimann (Mesa, Ariz. / Desert Ridge [Central Arizona / Grand Canyon]) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
- Freshman Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) came on and sealed the deal in the bottom of the ninth, as he sent down the side in order to notch his second save of the season.
Inside the Game
- No Crusader had a multi-hit performance, but seven Valpo players had hits.
- Fitzsimmons drove in two runs and scored one.
- Losi did not factor into the decision. He allowed two runs (both earned) on five hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings.
- Mommersteeg tossed a scoreless frame out of the bullpen, while Rhodehouse was credited with his first victory of the year after working 1 2/3 scoreless frames.
- Spencer Stockton yielded three earned runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings and was hit with the loss out of the Jacksonville bullpen.
- Baumann, the Jacksonville starter, received no decision despite six strong innings. He struck out 11 and allowed just one unearned run on no hits and one walk.
- Jacksonville’s Sam Armstrong and Mike Cassala were the only players on either team with multi-hit games. Cassala had three hits, while Armstorng posted two.
- The Crusaders had three stolen bases in the game, two by Stea.
The Crusaders and Dolphins will go at it in Game 2 of the series on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT. Wes Gordon gets the ball for the Crusaders, while lefty Casey Kulina is slated to get the nod for Jacksonville. Links to live audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Crusaders Defeat Stony Brook, Set Mark For Best Start
The Valparaiso University softball team is 5-0 for the first time in program history as the Crusaders opened the Purple/Gold Challenge in Nashville, Tenn. on Friday with a 4-1 victory over Stony Brook. Senior Sam Stewart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) continued her hot start to the season at the plate, while sophomore Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) tied a program single-game record in the field.
How It Happened
- Both teams got a runner into scoring position in the first inning, but neither pushed a run across.
- A leadoff double for Stony Brook in the third threatened to open the scoring, but junior Ashlyn Montgomery (Lebanon, Ind./Lebanon) registered a strikeout and induced a pair of groundouts to keep the Seawolves off the board.
- Valpo would open the scoring in the bottom half of the third inning. Back-to-back errors and a walk loaded the bases with one out, and two batters later, Stewart delivered an RBI single to score classmate Jorgi Calombaris (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) and give the Crusaders a 1-0 lead.
- Valpo’s initial lead was short-lived, however, as Stony Brook responded with a two-out run-scoring single in the top of the fourth to tie the game at 1-1.
- The Crusaders claimed the lead for good in the bottom half of the fifth inning. Sophomore Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) opened the turn at-bat with a double, and with two outs, Stewart connected on a two-bagger of her own to right-center to plate Trepanier, making it 2-1 Valpo.
- A two-out rally in the sixth inning gave Valpo a pair of insurance runs. Back-to-back singles by freshman Gabby Magnifico (Elmhurst, Ill./York) and Calombaris put two on with two out, and then consecutive wild pitches scored Magnifico and moved Calombaris to third.
- Valpo added its final run as Trepanier drew a walk to put runners on the corners, and the Crusaders pulled off a double steal to score Calombaris and push the lead to 4-1.
- Stony Brook looked to rally in the seventh, as after the first two batters made outs, the Seawolves sandwiched a pair of singles around a walk to load the bases. Junior Mackenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) entered in the circle and induced a ground ball to short to close the victory.
Inside the Game
- Valpo had previously started 4-0 on three other occasions – most recently in 2002 – but each of those times, the Crusaders dropped their fifth game of the season.
- The Crusaders’ five-game winning streak is its longest since winning five straight games March 29-April 5 last season.
- Valpo remained one of just five unbeaten teams in the nation (among programs which have opened their seasons).
- Stewart ended the win 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and two runs driven in. The senior has now picked up multiple hits in each of the last four games and has driven in nine runs through the season’s first five games.
- Trepanier also went 2-for-3 out of the leadoff spot for the Crusaders, while Calombaris scored a pair of runs.
- Montgomery earned the win in the circle to improve to 3-0 on the year, surrendering just one run – her first earned tally given up this year – in 6.2 innings of work. The junior also set a new career high by striking out seven Stony Brook batters.
- Grossmann picked up her third save in just five games as a Crusader by coming in and registering the final out. Her three saves already rank seventh in a single season in program history, as well as sixth on Valpo’s career chart.
- When Montgomery wasn’t striking batters out, she was getting ground balls to shortstop and Lawton was making plays. The sophomore registered nine assists without committing an error in the field in Friday’s win – tying Valpo’s single-game record for assists dating back to 1999.
- Valpo has not trailed in any of its five wins this year. The Crusaders did trail in the contest against Appalachian State which was eventually ruled No Game.
The Crusaders (5-0) look to extend their unbeaten start with a pair of games on Saturday. Valpo will face host Lipscomb at 12:30 p.m. before taking on Eastern Illinois at 5:30 p.m. Live stats for both games will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Crusaders Pull Away From Penguins, Advance to Horizon League Quarterfinals
When the stakes were the highest, the Valparaiso University women’s basketball team came through with one of its best performances of the season on Friday afternoon. The ninth-seeded Crusaders dispatched eighth-seeded Youngstown State 79-62, extending their season at least another day and advancing to the quarterfinals of the Horizon League Tournament at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The Crusaders received contributions from up and down the roster while compiling a shooting percentage of 49.3 and pulling down an eye-popping 52 rebounds against Youngstown State’s 26.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders (10-20) started strong, as they sprinted ahead 8-0 in the first 1:32 of the game. Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / George Washington) and Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill. / Glenbrook South) drained 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to give the Crusaders the early edge.
- The Penguins (9-21) threw the next punch, closing to within three at 10-7, but then Valpo embarked on another 7-0 spurt, starting with a Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich. / McBain) 3-pointer and culminating with a layup by Amber Lindfors (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Elk Grove) to push the lead to 10 with 3:38 to go in the first.
- Alison Smolinski heated up late in the first quarter, and finished the period with four made 3-pointers.
- The Crusaders held a 21-19 lead after shooting 52.9 percent in the opening quarter.
- Smolinski matched a school record for 3s in a Horizon League Tournament game by knocking down her fifth early in the second, giving the Penguins a short-lived 22-21 edge. Morrison responded by swishing a triple of her own to put the Crusaders back in front.
- The two teams went back-and-forth until the 3:27 mark of the second quarter when Valpo started a 7-0 run to turn what was a one-point deficit into a 34-28 halftime lead.
- After Youngstown State had the first basket of the second half to cut Valpo’s lead to four, the Crusaders went on a 10-0 run to boost the edge to14. They outscored the Penguins 17-2 during a stretch spanning the end of the first half and start of the second half.
- The Crusaders continued to pour it on for the duration of the third period, outscoring the Penguins 31-19 in total in that stanza.
- The Penguins made a slight push in the fourth, but the Crusaders sealed the deal, holding on for the 17-point win.
Inside the Game
- The 31 points in the third quarter marked the most points the Valpo women have ever scored in a quarter. The NCAA went from halves to quarters for women’s basketball before the 2015-16 season.
- The 79 points is the most Valpo has scored against a Division-I opponent since last year’s 94-91 overtime win over Detroit Mercy in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament.
- The Crusaders have won a Horizon League Tournament game in five of the last six seasons.
- Franklin posted a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Crusaders in scoring. She took over seventh place on Valpo’s all-time scoring list, surpassing Marlous Nieuwveen (1998-2002) and Tabitha Gerardot (2010-13).
- Hannah Schaub (Brooklyn Park, Minn. / Park Center) handed out six assists in the game, lifting her season total to 129 and moving into a tie with Jessica Carr’s 2014-15 season for eighth in program history.
- Lindfors filled the stat sheet with 12 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks. Valpo is now 4-0 when Lindfors posts a double-double this season.
- Hamlet knocked down six of the seven shots she attempted and put up 16 points, her first time in double figures since she matched a career high with 29 at Youngstown State on Jan. 14.
- Lindfors boosted her season blocks total to 70, third in program history for blocks in a single year. She’s one shy of her own season total from a year ago, which ranks second all-time.
- Morrison established a career high with 11 points while equaling her career watermark in rebounds with eight. She drained three 3s, her first time achieving that feat since Nov. 25 against Liberty.
- The 52 total rebounds marked the most since Dec. 21, 2015 against IU Kokomo, when Valpo had 58 boards. It’s the most rebounds against a Division-I opponent since Jan. 15, 2015, when the Crusaders pulled down 55 against Oakland.
- The shooting percentage of 49.3 was Valpo’s highest against a Division-I opponent since last year’s first-round tournament game against Detroit, when the Crusaders shot 57.1 percent.
Thoughts from Head Coach Tracey Dorow
- Opening Statement: “The experience so far has been phenomenal. Winning helps a ton, but it’s really exciting to be in Detroit. It’s a really cool atmosphere. Our kids were really excited about coming here. We played with a lot of energy today. Coach Mo (John Motherwell) did a great job with the game plan and really pressuring (Indiya Benjamin) and keeping the ball out of her hands and making it hard on her early. We didn’t do as good of a job on (Alison) Smolinski in the first half, but we made some adjustments and did a much better job taking her away later in the game. I think our biggest key was rebounding. We did a great job pounding the glass on both ends, and I’m really proud of the effort that we had. We were really happy to come out with a win.”
- On Battling Adversity: “I think the biggest key is that these kids really care about each other, and they don’t want this to be over. We struggled throughout the season to stay healthy. We’ve got a young team, and they’re confidence has been knocked around a little bit. Sometimes it’s a matter of having an injury or kids being sick. We’ve had a lot of adversity, but these kids are battling and I’m really proud of them. I know they don’t want the season to be over.”
- On the Matchup: “I know Youngstown is a very good team, and obviously they didn’t go away. We were hoping they would, but they didn’t. It’s a tough matchup, and our kids just battled. We talked a little bit about that first game and what UIC did. They just had that look in their eyes that said, ‘We have to do this.’ That’s what we focused on going in.”
- Looking to Green Bay: “We’ve got nothing to lose. Nobody believes in us but us. We need to continue to play within ourselves. When Dani, Amber and Meredith play well, we’re really good. When they don’t play well, we’re not as good. Everybody knows that. Green Bay is going to do their best to take those three out of the game. We’re battling to make sure that we’re taking care of the basketball and rebounding well. I expect us to go out there and compete, and if we do that possession-by-possession, we’re going to give ourselves a chance to win the game.”
Valpo will have no choice but to embrace the role of underdog as it faces top-seeded Green Bay (24-5, 15-3 Horizon) on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. CT. The Phoenix, a yearly Horizon League powerhouse, will be playing their first game of the tournament after earning a first-round bye. The game can be seen on ESPN3 with Andy Masur (play-by-play) and Kelley Deyo (color commentary). The hometown call is available on 95.1 FM Valparaiso with David Horak (play-by-play) and Renee’ Turpa (color commentary). Links to live video, audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Bowling Earns Win Over Nation’s Top Team Friday at Nebraska
With former Valparaiso University president Dr. Alan Harre and his wife, Diane, in attendance Friday, the #25 Crusader bowling team posted a 3-1 record in action at the Big Red Invitational in Lincoln, Neb., including a victory over the nation’s top-ranked team.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders opened the day, which was contested in the traditional team format, with a bye. Senior Marianna Guerrieri (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) led Valpo in the opener with a 180 game.
- Valpo ran into a buzzsaw in their first contested match of the day, as the five bowlers for #3 Arkansas State averaged nearly a 250 apiece as the Crusaders fell 1247-943. Senior Savannah Carr (Buckeye, Ariz./Youngker) paced Valpo as she rolled a 222.
- The Crusaders edged out #RV Maryville in their next match, 900-889, thanks to games of 216 from Guerrieri and 202 by senior Alyssa Meade (Chesterfield, Mich./L’Anse Creuse North).
- Valpo then defeated the nation’s top-ranked team, taking down #1 McKendree by a 1013-970 final. Sophomore Kendra Tryniski (Fulton, N.Y./Fulton) rolled the Crusaders’ best individual game of the day, posting a 248, while Meade registered a 202 for the second straight game.
- The Crusaders ended the day on a three-match winning streak, earning a 991-816 victory over Lincoln Memorial in their finale. Meade and fifth-year senior Olivia Wirtz (Battle Creek, Mich./Harper Creek [Vanderbilt]) led the way with matching games of 210, while Tryniski closed out the day’s action with a 204 game.
- Guerrieri recorded the Crusaders’ top average of the day, averaging an even 197 over the day’s five matches.
- The Crusaders have tallied 8,509 total pins through two days of action and enter Saturday’s final day of competition in sixth place.
The Crusaders (40-41) close out the Big Red Invitational on Saturday from Lincoln. Action is slated to begin at 8:25 a.m.