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Avery Earns 400th Win at Valpo; Volleyball Closes Weekend With Victory


Valparaiso University volleyball head coach Carin Avery hit another milestone in her distinguished career on Saturday evening, picking up her 400th win at the helm of the Valpo program as the Brown and Gold closed the Hampton Inn Invitational with a 3-1 (25-22, 18-25, 25-19, 25-21) victory over host IUPUI. Earlier in the day, Valpo dropped a 3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 24-26, 25-23) decision to defending Summit League champion South Dakota.


How It Happened – IUPUI

–          Valpo started the tournament finale off quickly, leading 5-1 early on in the first set. IUPUI rallied however and would briefly take the lead at 10-9.

–          The opener eventually featured seven tie scores, the latest coming at 16-16. A kill by freshman Bella Ravotto (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) sparked a 5-1 spurt, featuring a kill and two blocks from junior Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton), that pushed Valpo out to a 21-17 lead, and IUPUI got no closer than two points the remainder of the set.

–          IUPUI never trailed in the second set, but Valpo hung around for most of the frame, closing to within one point on a number of occasions. The last of those came at 16-15, at which point the Jaguars closed the set on a 9-3 run to even the match at one set apiece.

–          Three kills from junior Jaclyn Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) and two kills and an ace by Ravotto helped stake Valpo to an 11-4 lead in the third set. While IUPUI did close to within 17-14 at one point, necessitating a Valpo timeout, the lead was never relinquished as the Brown and Gold went ahead two sets to one.

–          The fourth set featured the most back-and-forth action of the match, with 12 tie scores and a trio of lead changes. In fact, the set was tied at 17 apiece at the two-thirds mark, with neither squad having gained more than a two-point lead to that point.

–          But Valpo closed the set strong to finish out the tournament. A kill by freshman Kara Cooper (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) was followed by an ace from junior Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg), and McCarthy and junior Ally Cummings (Novi, Mich./Novi) then combined on a block to force an IUPUI timeout at 20-17.

–          IUPUI scored the first point out of the break, but then it was three straight for Valpo on two kills from McCarthy sandwiching a service ace by junior Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) to make it 23-18. Another kill by McCarthy gave Valpo match point at 24-19, and on their third effort, the Crusaders closed the match thanks to a termination by sophomore Jillie Grant (Maumee, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) to finish the weekend with a winning record.


How It Happened – South Dakota

–          The Coyotes led practically start to finish in the opening set, jumping out to leads of 9-4 and 16-8. Valpo did put together one big run late, using a 7-1 spurt to close to within three points, but South Dakota scored three of the set’s final four points to take the opener.

–          The second set was very similar to the first, with South Dakota jumping ahead 12-5 approaching the midpoint of the frame. Valpo got no closer than four points the rest of the way.

–          It looked like the third set would be more of the same, especially with the Coyotes hitting .407 in the frame. They led from the start and led 13-8 as the set passed the midway point.

–          But on the back of a strong service game, Valpo rallied in the second half of the set. A 5-1 run which included a service ace from freshman Leah Pease (Petaluma, Calif./Marin Catholic) brought the Brown and Gold back within 15-14. The teams then traded three-point spurts, Valpo’s including an ace from Cooper.

–          South Dakota scored four of the next five points to pull ahead 22-18, but Valpo answered with another 5-1 spurt to tie the frame at 23-all. McCarthy accounted for three of the five points during the run with kills, while Bulmahn had an ace as well. The Coyotes earned set point at 24-23 following a kill, but a service error tied things at 24, and Pease took care of the rest, tallying consecutive service aces to extend the match to a fourth set.

–          Valpo led for the entirety of the first half of set four, but the Coyotes reeled off four straight points to pull ahead, 13-12. A 6-2 run for Valpo gave it an 18-14 advantage before South Dakota scored four more in a row to even things at 18-18.

–          Tied at 20-20, Valpo took advantage of a trio of USD errors to pull within two points of forcing a fifth set at 23-21. The Coyotes closed the set with four consecutive points, however, finishing the match with back-to-back kills from Elizabeth Juhnke to cap a 23-kill performance.


Inside the Matches

–          Far and away Valpo volleyball’s all-time wins leader, Avery reached another milestone by winning her 400th match in charge of the Brown and Gold. She now owns a 400-179 record in her time at Valpo and is 455-203 overall as a collegiate head coach.

–          McCarthy was at the forefront on both sides of the net in the win over IUPUI. She led all players with 14 kills on .476 hitting and tied for match-high honors with five blocks as well. The junior also picked up 12 kills in the morning encounter with South Dakota.

–          Grant had the best match of her career to date, setting new bests with 11 kills and a match-high 21 digs.

–          Ravotto recorded her second double-double in as many days in the win over IUPUI, finishing with 11 kills and 17 digs.

–          Splitting time at setter, Anderson posted 21 assists and 13 digs in the win over IUPUI, while Pease finished with 20 assists. Anderson tallied 28 assists against South Dakota as well.

–          Pease led the service game in the morning match, coming off the bench in the third set with all three of her service aces. As a team against the Coyotes, Valpo tallied 10 service aces – the most by a Crusader team since recording 11 at Youngstown State on Oct. 17, 2015.

–          The opening match saw Cummings join McCarthy in double figures, posting 10 kills. Bulmahn tallied seven kills, six digs and four blocks, while Cookerly led all players with 20 digs and Cooper finished with a team-best five blocks.

–          The win over IUPUI was Valpo’s fourth straight in the all-time series. It was also the first in that stretch to not require the full five sets.


Next Up

Valpo (2-1) steps away from tournament play for a mid-week match next Wednesday evening at Notre Dame. First serve is slated for 6 p.m. CT, and all the action can be seen live on the ACC Network.