Volleyball Extends Program-Best Start With Second Straight MVC Sweep

 

The Valparaiso University volleyball team extended its winning streak to nine straight matches with its second consecutive road sweep to open MVC play, taking down Evansville (25-14, 26-24, 25-19) on Saturday evening to improve to 15-2 overall.

 

How It Happened

–          Valpo’s offense was the story of the first set, as it hit at a .500 clip with 16 kills, while Evansville hit just .097 for the set. The Brown and Gold scored the first three points of the match and steadily increased its lead throughout in gaining the 1-0 advantage.

–          The second set proved to be the most tightly contested of the match, featuring 14 ties and eight lead changes. The two squads were tied at every point from 15-15 through 23-23.

–          A kill by Evansville at 23-all gave the Purple Aces set point at 24-23, but senior Allison Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) picked up a kill to keep the set alive and force extra points. Another kill from Ketcham made it 25-24 and a set point opportunity for Valpo, and the senior then combined with sophomore Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) on a block to make it a 2-0 lead.

–          Valpo limited Evansville to .024 hitting in the third set as it again led start to finish in closing out the sweep. The lead grew to as many as nine points at 22-13 before a rally from the Purple Aces closed Evansville to within 23-18. But an attack error gave Valpo match point, and on its second opportunity, Valpo closed out the sweep on a kill from senior Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep).

 

Inside the Match

–          This year’s team continues to match the 2014 and 2015 squads for the best starts in program history, as all three teams were 15-2 through 17 matches. The 2015 team took its third loss in the 18th match of the season, while the 2014 team made it to 16-2 before suffering its third loss.

–          The nine-match winning streak matches the program’s longest since winning 13 consecutive matches early in the 2014 season.

–          Valpo has now posted eight winning streaks of nine matches or longer in the tenure of head coach Carin Avery.

–          The wins the last two nights over Indiana State and Evansville mark Valpo’s first perfect MVC road trip since joining the conference last season.

–          This season is the first time since 2003 that Valpo has started conference play with consecutive 3-0 victories. Valpo won matches at Centenary and Oral Roberts in straight sets that year to kick off Mid-Continent Conference play, a stretch which would reach five consecutive sweeps and an eventual Mid-Con title.

–          Valpo is now a perfect 5-0 on the season in sets that extend past 25 points with the second-set victory on Saturday.

–          One night after joining Valpo’s 1,000-kill/1,000-dig club, Ketcham and Carlson led the way in Saturday’s win. Ketcham posted 14 kills on .278 hitting to go with 14 digs, while Carlson went for 12 kills on .345 hitting and 12 digs.

–          Sophomore Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) handed out 31 assists as Valpo hit .245 for the match, while at the net defensively, McCarthy paced Valpo with five blocks.

–          Valpo limited Evansville to just .043 hitting for the match, as the Purple Aces swung at under a .100 clip in all three sets.

 

Next Up

Valpo (15-2, 2-0 MVC) faces a quick turnaround, as it opens a four-match homestand at the ARC on Monday evening as it hosts Southern Illinois at 6 p.m., live on ESPN3.