- UNI defeats Valparaiso, 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-22, 25-16)
- UNI improves to 11-4; Valparaiso drops to 7-6
- Valparaiso, Indiana
- Attendance: 685
- Box Score
VALPARAISO, Indiana – The Panthers defeated the Crusaders Friday night in Valparaiso’s Missouri Valley Conference debut in the ARC. UNI is now 6-1 in four set matches this season.
UNI hit .223 on the match, with a .364 clip in the fourth. They held Valparaiso to a .160 hitting percentage. The Crusaders out-blocked the Panthers 10-7.
UNI setter, Heather Hooke dished out 57 assists and 18 digs for a double-double, along with two kills and one solo block. On the other side of the net, Brittany Anderson notched 37 assists and 18 digs for a double-double of her own. She also added 4 kills and two block assists.
Three UNI players posted double-figure kills with Piper Thomas totaling a career-high 23 kills on a .373 clip, Karlie Taylor with 21 kills, and Bri Weber with 11. Taylor and Weber added 18 digs a piece for double-doubles.
Valparaiso had two players with double-figure kills. Taylor Graboski put away 10 kills on a .296 clip and added 4 digs and 3 block assists. Ally Cummings also had 10 kills. She hit .250 and added 6 digs and 3 block assists.
Both teams will continue with Missouri Valley Conference play this Saturday as UNI travels to Chicago to face Loyola and Valparaiso hosts Drake.
Courtesy of UNI Athletics
VALPARAISO, Indiana – The No. 22-ranked University of Northern Iowa volleyball team notched a 3-1 victory over the Valparaiso Crusaders in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both squads.
UNI won by set scores of 25-21, 23-25, 25-22, 25-16. The match was Valpo’s first conference match in the MVC after joining the league this summer.
“It was a great defensive battle to start conference play,” UNI assistant coach Kalani Mahi said.
UNI (11-4 overall, 1-0 MVC) came within three digs of the school record for digs in a match with 104. It is the second time this season that UNI has secured more than 100 digs in a single match. UNI posted a season-best 37 digs in the first set vs. Valpo (7-6 overall, 0-1 MVC).
Junior Piper Thomas secured a career-high 23 kills with a .373 hitting percentage. Her previous career-high of 20 came earlier this season in a 3-1 win over No. 18 USC.
Sophomore Karlie Taylor tallied her ninth double-double of the season with 21 kills and 18 digs. It was Taylor’s fifth match this season with 20 or more kills. Taylor has recorded 12 or more kills in eight straight matches.
Senior Heather Hook delivered her seventh double-double this season (31st of her career) with 57 assists and 17 digs.
Junior Bri Weber collected her 41st career double-double with 11 kills and 18 digs.
UNI will travel to Chicago to take on the Loyola Ramblers on Saturday at 7 p.m.
NOTES: UNI is 11-1 when winning the first set … UNI moved to 6-1 in four-set matches this season … Lexi Astor registered her first career ace on the final point of the match … Kendyl Sorge scored her seventh 20-plus dig match of the season with 24 digs against the Crusaders.
Courtesy of Valparaiso Athletics
The Valparaiso University volleyball team welcomed #22 UNI to the ARC in the Crusaders’ first-ever home Missouri Valley Conference match in any sport Friday evening and claimed the second set from the Panthers to even the match at 1-1, but UNI eventually emerged with a 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-22, 25-16) victory in both teams’ conference opener.
How It Happened
– An early four-point run in the first set gave the Crusaders a brief lead at 4-3 before UNI fired back with five straight points. Later in the frame, another four-point spurt from the Panthers extended their lead to 15-9.
– The deficit was still six points at 21-15 late in the set before four straight Valpo kills – back-to-back terminations from freshman Ally Cummings (Novi, Mich./Novi), followed by kills from junior Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) and senior Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) – brought the Crusaders within 21-19.
– After a UNI sideout, the Crusaders scored the next two points – including a Carlson kill – to move to within one point at 22-21. But the Panthers would close the set with the final three points to take the opener.
– Valpo controlled the first half of the second set and led 17-13 before UNI came roaring back with a 6-1 run to go ahead, 19-18. The Crusaders answered with consecutive points to retake the lead, but the Panthers responded with three of their own to take a 22-20 lead and force a Valpo timeout.
– Out of the stoppage, the Crusaders kept rattling off points as the crowd at the ARC got louder and louder. A kill by redshirt junior Allison Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) was followed by a block from freshman Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) and junior Sydney Bronner (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth) to even the set at 22-all.
– After a timeout from UNI, Anderson got in the action with a kill of her own to pull the Crusaders ahead, and a Ketcham termination gave Valpo set point at 24-22. UNI successfully held off one Valpo chance to even the match, but on their second chance, the Crusaders got yet another Ketcham kill to send the match into the in-game break at one set apiece.
– UNI never trailed in the third set, as Valpo went down 5-1 early on. Down 20-14 late, the Crusaders came through with a rally to close to within 22-19, and after consecutive points from the Panthers gave them set point at 24-19, Bronner posted two blocks and a kill to keep the set alive. But a kill from UNI’s Piper Thomas closed out the frame in the Panthers’ advantage.
– The Crusaders battled UNI in the fourth set early on, tying the set at 7-7 and 9-9 and only trailing by two at 13-11 just past the midway point. Six straight points from the Panthers at that juncture gave UNI control of the deciding set.
Inside the Match
– A balanced Crusader attack was led by 10 kills apiece from Graboski and Cummings, while Carlson added nine kills and Ketcham chipped in eight.
– The 22nd-ranked Panthers – coming off a four-set win over #10 Nebraska last weekend – ended the night with a 69-46 advantage in kills, including a match-best 23 from Thomas. UNI also out-dug the Crusaders 104-85, but the Panthers also committed 27 attack errors.
– 10 of UNI’s attack errors were courtesy of Valpo blocks, as the Crusaders reached double figures in the category for the sixth time this season. Bronner, who entered the match leading the conference in blocks/set, paced Valpo’s effort at the net with a match-high seven rejections.
– Freshman Rylee Cookerly (Brownburg, Ind./Brownsburg) led the Valpo effort in the back row with 27 digs, while Carlson backed her up with 17 digs. Anderson posted another double-double, dishing out 37 assists and tallying 15 digs to go with four kills.
– Friday’s loss snapped the Crusaders’ five-match winning streak, the program’s longest since the start of the 2015 season.
Thoughts From Coach Avery
“Our crowd’s been amazing this year – I hope that everyone will keep coming out and supporting us. We’ve only been home twice so far, but both crowds have been awesome.”
“It was extremely hot today, so I’m not sure if you saw the best of both teams tonight. You could definitely tell as sets progressed that the energy level would go down.”
“(UNI is) #22 for a reason – they’re very disciplined, very well-coached and have high-IQ volleyball players. The difference between them and us right now is that they have two big hitters who put balls away on a regular basis, and we don’t really have anyone on our roster able to do that right now. We’ve been relying on our defense to wear teams out, and we’ve played some great defense this year and again tonight, but it gets hard for us when we can’t terminate balls.”
Valpo (7-6, 0-1 MVC) continues conference play on Saturday evening at the ARC as the Crusaders host Drake at 7 p.m. Live stats and a live audio broadcast (via WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso) will be available through ValpoAthletics.com.