Third-seed Valparaiso battled back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat sixth-seed Milwaukee in five sets in the first quarterfinal of the Horizon League Volleyball Tournament played at Woodling Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio. The win advances the Crusaders into Saturday’s semifinals where they will face second-seed Oakland at 5:30 p.m. E.T.
The Crusaders were led by sophomore Allison Ketcham who had a match-high 21 kills on a .391 hitting percentage. Ketcham also recorded 12 digs in the win. Taylor Graboski added 13 kills, Kayla Currier 12 and Katherine Carlson 11 for the Crusaders who were without their top offensive player and All-League member Emily Campbell for the match.
Carlson and junior libero Morganne Longoria led the Crusaders with 19 digs, while Currier had a team-high seven blocks.
After capturing the first set, Valparaiso dropped the next two sets to fall into a 2-1 hole. In the fourth set, Valpo took control early and never trailed past the third point. Leading 16-14 late in the middle of the set, the Crusaders scored nine of the next 12 points to win and force the deciding set.
The fifth set was tight throughout the beginning as neither team led by more than two points. Back-to-back kills by Graboski and Carlson gave Valpo a 12-9 lead and after UWM cut the lead to 12-10, two straight points by Carlson and Ketcham put the Crusaders in match point position. Ketcham closed the match with her 21st kill to send Valpo into the semifinals.
Milwaukee was led by freshman Celine Jones with a career-high 18 kills on a .295 hitting percentage. Maggie Dunbar added 12 kills and Sammi Herron had 11 in both players final match for the Panthers. Myanna Ruiz led UWM’s defensive effort with a match-high 24 digs.
(4) Northern Kentucky 3, (5) Green Bay 1
Fourth-seed Northern Kentucky defeated fifth-seed Green Bay in four sets in the second quarterfinal of the Horizon League Volleyball Tournament. The Norse advance to the semifinals to battle top-seed and host Cleveland State at 3:00 p.m. E.T.
The Norse were led by junior Keely Creamer who had 12 kills on a .409 hitting percentage. Freshman Keyaira Lankheit added 12 kills, along with senior Jayden Julian who had 12 kills and also added seven digs to lead the Norse offense.
Senior libero Mel Stewart led the defense with 20 digs, while Lankheit, Creamer and Freshman of the Year Haley Libs recorded 5 blocks.
Northern Kentucky came out hot in the first set to win 25-15. Green Bay battled back in the second set to win 28-26 after both teams battled for the lead. The Norse would then go on to take set three, scoring three of the last four points to win 25-21.
Going into set four the Norse and Phoenix fought hard to gain a lead with neither team having more than a one-point lead in the early going. Kills by Lankheit and Libs sparked momentum for the Norse as they started to pull away from Green Bay to gain an 18-14 lead. As Green Bay started to close in on the Northern Kentucky lead, back to back kills by junior Tristen Simpson would bring the Norse to a 24-23 lead setting up the match point. Julian closed the match with a winner to send Northern Kentucky to the semifinals with a four-set victory.
Green Bay was led by freshman Jessica Wolf who had 19 kills on a .196 hitting percentage. Lydia DeWeese added 12 kills and Megan Powers had eight kills to anchor the Phoenix offense. In her last match for Green Bay, Defensive Player of the Year Jillian Bauer led the defense with 22 digs.
2015 Horizon League Volleyball Championship (All times ET)
Saturday, Nov. 21 – Semifinals
3:00 – (1) Cleveland State vs. (4) Northern Kentucky
5:30 – (2) Oakland vs. (3) Valparaiso
Sunday, Nov. 22 – Championship
2:00 – Championship Match