The Valpo volleyball team claimed the opening set in its final contest of the Golden Flashes Classic Saturday afternoon against Robert Morris, but the Colonials came back to win the next three sets to earn the match victory, 3-1 (20-25, 29-27, 25-19, 25-23). Despite the loss, junior Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) set a career high with 18 kills.
How It Happened
- RMU led early in the first set, but five straight points for Valpo turned a three-point deficit at 8-5 into a two-point lead and were part of a larger 11-3 spurt that put the Brown and Gold ahead, 16-11.
- Valpo extended the advantage to six points at 19-13 on a kill by McCarthy before RMU scored the next four points to close to within two points. The teams traded sideouts on the next four points to make it 21-19, leading into a 4-1 Valpo spurt capped by a kill from sophomore Jillie Grant (Maumee, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) to close the opening frame.
- RMU led for the vast majority of set two and was ahead 20-15 late, but Valpo would make life difficult on the Colonials. Three straight points closed the deficit to two points before RMU came back with three of the next four.
- Robert Morris eventually earned set point at 24-21, but consecutive Colonial errors and a kill by junior Ally Cummings (Novi, Mich./Novi) staved off three set points for Valpo. The Brown and Gold were never able to earn their own set point chance, though, and RMU finally closed the set on its seventh opportunity to even the match.
- Valpo hit just .128 in the third set to the Colonials’ .304 clip, and a 5-1 run mid-set pushed RMU’s advantage to 16-11. Valpo would get no closer than three points the rest of the way as the Colonials took a 2-1 lead in the match.
- The fourth set was back-and-forth throughout the first half of the frame, but a 5-1 run just past the midway point proved vital as the Colonials went ahead, 19-16.
- Valpo came back with the next three points, including a solo block by freshman Kara Cooper (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte), to tie the set at 19 apiece. RMU responded with each of the next two points, the latter proving vital as it would be the last point of the match won by the team on serve. With the score 21-19, the teams traded sideouts on the final eight points to close out the match.
Inside the Match
- Despite the loss, McCarthy’s offensive effort stood out, as the junior finished with a match-high 18 kills to set a career best, edging past her previous high of 17, accomplished twice.
- McCarthy hit at a .467 clip for the match, needing just 30 swings for her 18 kills. In fact, both of Valpo’s middles hit better than .400, as Cooper ended up with eight kills on 19 swings, hitting .421.
- Grant joined McCarthy in double figures in kills with 13 and added 13 digs as well for a double-double.
- In all, three Crusaders posted double-doubles on Saturday. Both of Valpo’s setters did so as well – freshman Leah Pease (Petaluma, Calif./Marin Catholic) on 23 assists and 17 digs, and junior Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) on 23 assists and 14 digs.
- Anderson now owns 2,930 career assists – just four shy of moving into sixth place in program history in the category.
- Junior Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) led five Valpo players in double figures in digs with 20 digs on Saturday. Cookerly finished the day with 1,550 career digs, and moved past Lori Barton into seventh place in program history in the category early in the match.
Valpo (3-4) is off until next weekend, when it makes the short trip to the Windy City for the DePaul Invitational. The event starts for the Brown and Gold Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. versus Holy Cross.