VALPARAISO | On a night when it could've succumbed to any number of excuses, the Valparaiso volleyball team embraced its mantra and fought to the finish.
Playing in brutally hot conditions, the Times No. 2 Vikings overcame a slow start against No. 4 Crown Point and rallied to win 19-25, 25-19, 25-14, 25-17 Tuesday night.
The Vikings stayed focused despite a looming home match with No. 1 LaPorte Thursday night as both teams remain undefeated in Duneland Athletic Conference play.
"We haven't talked about LaPorte at all this week," Valparaiso coach Katie Lenard said. "We stay focused on the next match every time and tonight that was Crown Point.
"All we told the girls was that we have a big week. This was a good start for us."
The Bulldogs (5-5, 1-3) were down several players, including senior Taylor Equihua. The outside hitter suffered a possible season-ending injury against Chesterton last week and her absence forced Crown Point coach Allison Duncan to juggle the lineup.
"I thought our girls did some good things and they were working really hard tonight," Duncan said. "We had some really good defense and I thought we were able to get a lot of digs off of them.
"Whenever you can do that, you're going to rattle the other team."
The Vikings (10-3, 4-0) did a good job bouncing back from the first game loss, due in large part to a lineup shift and efficient serving from senior Alyssa Jones. The senior served seven straight points in the second game and finished with four aces for the match.
"We were making so many errors at the beginning of the match," Lenard said. "It seemed every ball out there was an error. We tried a couple different lineups and gave some girls some different looks."
Kate Bontrager led the Vikings with nine kills while Noelle Eveland eight kills and seven digs, but the star of the match for Valparaiso was senior libero Mary Bobos.
Facing one of the toughest servers in Northwest Indiana in Crown Point sophomore Alyssa Kvarta (10 kills, 20 digs), Bobos responded with 23 digs and helped set the Valparaiso offense in motion.
"She has a really good top-spin serve, but we were able to get the ball moving," Bobos said. "We had a lack of energy at the beginning, but we got things going as the match went on."