The Valpo volleyball team got the Jackrabbit Invitational in Brookings, S.D. going on a winning note Friday afternoon, taking down host South Dakota State in straight sets (25-20, 25-22, 25-13), but Valpo couldn’t complete the sweep of the day, falling in its second match to Kansas City, 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 25-17, 25-22).
How It Happened – South Dakota State
- Valpo led for much of the first set and held a lead of four to five points through the middle part of the frame.
- Leading 17-14, Valpo would surrender four of the next five points to the Jackrabbits to tie the set at 18-all.
- After the two sides traded a pair of sideouts, sophomore Jillie Grant (Maumee, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) recorded a kill to give Valpo the lead for good. Grant then combined with junior Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) on a block before three straight SDSU attack errors closed out the opener.
- Valpo held the advantage throughout the first half of the second set, but a five-point spurt from the Jackrabbits gave them a 15-13 lead.
- Valpo rattled off the next six points, however, as Grant tallied consecutive kills to open the run and junior Ally Cummings (Novi, Mich./Novi) had three kills of her own during the run. The Brown and Gold maintained a lead of at least two points the remainder of the set as Valpo took a 2-0 lead in the match.
- Valpo closed the match out with a bang. Leading 13-11 just past the midway point of set three, Valpo scored 10 straight points – four of which were courtesy of service aces from freshman Bella Ravotto (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) – as it pulled away for the sweep.
How It Happened – Kansas City
- Down 18-16 in the opening set, Valpo scored six of the next seven points – including three kills and a service ace by McCarthy – to take a 22-19 lead late. But the Roos closed the set on a 6-1 run to claim the opener.
- It was Valpo with the late-set run in the second set. The two teams were tied at 20-20 before Valpo closed the set with five consecutive points, highlighted by two kills and a set-ending service ace from Grant, to even the match at one set apiece.
- Kansas City never trailed in the third set, and with Valpo within one point at 13-12, the Roos reeled off eight consecutive points to take control en route to a 2-1 lead in the match.
- The Roos held off Valpo down the stretch in the fourth set to close out the match.
Inside the Matches
- Valpo has now won its opening match at each of its four early-season tournaments before dropping its second match of the tournament.
- Valpo hit .245 in the win over SDSU and .211 against Kansas City, but the main difference was on the defensive side. The Crusaders limited the Jackrabbits to .127 hitting, but allowed the Roos to hit .292.
- Valpo set a season high for kills in a single set with 20 in the second-set win against SDSU.
- The Crusaders tallied nine service aces in both matches Friday, just one shy of their season high.
- Grant and McCarthy both reached double figures in kills in both matches Friday. Grant picked up 10 kills in both contests and added 10 digs against Kansas City for a double-double.
- McCarthy tied for team-high honors with 10 kills on .333 hitting versus SDSU and then posted a match-high 17 kills on .344 hitting – just one kill off her career best – in the nightcap against the Roos.
- Cummings added eight kills in the sweep of the Jackrabbits on .438 hitting.
- Junior Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) set all the way around as Valpo played a 5-1 on Friday in both matches and racked up 72 assists – a season-high 42 of which came against Kansas City. Midway through the matchup with the Roos, Anderson tallied her 3,062nd career assist to move past Katie Bova for fifth in program history in the category.
- Ravotto tallied a team-high 11 digs to go with her four service aces in the win over SDSU, and added 12 more digs in the nightcap against Kansas City.
- Junior Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) reached double figures in digs in both matches as well, posting 10 against SDSU and a team-high 16 versus Kansas City. Fellow junior Melissa Flynders (Mokena, Ill./Providence Catholic) picked up 13 digs against the Roos as well.
Valpo (5-7) closes out the Jackrabbit Invitational Saturday morning against a Milwaukee team which has won eight straight matches. First serve is set for 10 a.m., and a pay live video stream will be available.