Volleyball Opens Cornell Invitational Friday
The Valparaiso University volleyball team opened play at the Cornell Invitational on Friday afternoon against St. John’s, but was unable to top their Big East opponent despite a strong offensive match from Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky), falling to the Red Storm 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-14).
St. John’s went on an 8-1 run to close the second set to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
How It Happened
– Valpo led by five points as the first set passed the midway point, and after St. John’s closed to within one point at 14-13, scored four of the next five points to pull ahead 18-14.
– The Red Storm came back, however, going on a 9-2 run to take a 23-20 lead. The Crusaders answered with back-to-back points, including a block from junior Kayla Currier (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) and freshman Ally Cummings (Novi, Mich./Novi), but St. John’s scored the final two points of the set to take the opener.
– An 8-3 run by the Crusaders, which included three kills by Graboski, turned the second set in Valpo’s favor just past the halfway point and gave it a 20-17 lead. But St. John’s closed the frame on an 8-1 run to go ahead 2-0.
– Valpo enjoyed a narrow lead early in the third set, as the Crusaders led by a 5-4 score, before the Red Storm reeled off 12 of the next 15 points. Valpo would get no closer than five points the rest of the way.
Inside the Match
– Valpo was limited to just 31 kills on .074 hitting, while St. John’s (6-2) posted 43 kills on .226 hitting over the three sets.
– Graboski led all players, finishing the match hitting at a .258 clip with 12 kills. The senior reached double figures in kills for the third time this year.
– Freshman Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) handed out 27 assists.
– Freshman libero Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) tallied 14 digs to lead the Crusaders’ back-row play, while redshirt junior Allison Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) posted 13 digs.
– Junior Sydney Bronner (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth) was part of a team-best five blocks as the Crusaders totaled nine blocks as a squad. Cummings added four blocks as well, the highest single-match total of her young career.
Valpo (2-6) closes out action from Cornell on Saturday with a pair of contests. The Crusaders will face Binghamton at noon CT before finishing the tournament against the hosts at 6 p.m. CT. Live stats and video for both matches will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.