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Volleyball Bounces Back With Sweep of Bradley

 

The Valparaiso University volleyball team rolled to a key Missouri Valley Conference victory over Bradley Saturday evening at the ARC, downing the Braves in straight sets (25-17, 25-17, 25-16).

 

How It Happened

–          After committing three attack errors in the first eight points of the match, Valpo would commit just one more in the first set.

–          Bradley was ahead early 7-4, but after a service error returned the serve to the Crusaders, junior Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) served eight straight points to put Valpo ahead 13-7. The Braves would get no closer than four points the rest of the way, with a setter dump from freshman Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) ending the set.

–          Valpo continued its strong presence on the attack in the second set, tallying 16 kills against just two errors on just 27 swings for a .519 hitting percentage in the frame. Freshman Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) picked up six kills alone in the set as the Crusaders took a 2-0 lead into the in-game break.

–          While the second set featured a strong Crusader offense, the defense took center stage in the third set as Valpo picked up four blocks and held Bradley to -.065 hitting for the frame. The Crusaders enjoyed just a two-point lead at 15-13 before closing the match on a 10-3 run, a stretch which featured three blocks – two solo – and two kills by senior Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky).

 

Inside the Match

–          Five of the Crusaders’ six MVC victories have come in straight sets.

–          Valpo posted another fine performance offensively Saturday, committing just 10 attack errors for the match as it hit at a .290 clip. It marks the fourth time in the last six matches the Crusaders have hit between .290 and .300 – the team’s top-four hitting percentages of the year.

–          Carlson and Graboski tied for team-high honors Saturday with 10 kills apiece – Carlson doing so on .333 hitting, while Graboski swung at a .450 clip.

–          McCarthy matched her career high as well with her third straight strong effort from the right side, tallying nine kills on .438 hitting.

–          Graboski led the defensive effort at the net as well, as she was part of six of the Crusaders’ seven blocks and registered four solo rejections.

–          The senior will enter next week with 1,155 career kills – eighth in program history and just nine shy of seventh – 348 career blocks – 10th in program history and three away from ninth place – and 57 solo blocks – eighth in program history and just one solo out of seventh position.

–          Anderson handed out 32 assists in the winning effort.

–          With few long rallies on Saturday, Valpo – which has led the nation in digs/set all season long – needed just 46 digs over the three sets to earn the win, its second-lowest output of the year.

–          No Crusader reached double figures in the category, as Carlson and junior Allison Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) picked up nine digs apiece.

 

Next Up

Valpo (15-13, 6-8 MVC) heads on the road next weekend for a pair of key conference matchups against squads just behind the Crusaders in the conference standings. The weekend opens Friday night at 7 p.m. at Evansville, with links for live coverage available at ValpoAthletics.com.