CROWN POINT | Though Times No. 4 Valparaiso struggled early during a match-deciding fourth game against No. 6 Crown Point, the intensity the Vikings displayed never wavered.
Valpo would end up defeating the host Bulldogs 25-23, 18-25, 25-14, 25-22 in Duneland Athletic Conference action.
Despite being down 7-3 early in the fourth game, the Vikings were able to fight back and go up 10-9, holding off the pesky Bulldogs in a game with countless momentum changes.
“That game, we were struggling to keep the momentum,” Valpo coach Katie Lenard said. “I think we were able to keep pulling it back to our side.”
While Valpo was unable to complete the sweep, the third game still impressed Lenard.
The Vikings (17-6, 9-2 DAC) took control of that game early, extending their lead by as much as 14-6 before forcing the Bulldogs to call a timeout. Perhaps even more impressive was Valpo’s ability to come out strong after losing the second game.
“The third game was definitely our strongest,” Lenard said. “We had the momentum, and we kept it going. We had to put the push on, and we had more of a sense of urgency in that game that we didn’t have in the other ones. That was a positive that we came out strong after losing the second one.”
The Vikings moved the ball around well the whole match, spreading around kill opportunities between four players. Noelle Eveland and Kate Bontrager led Valpo with seven kills, but Kelsie Schultz (six kills) and Madison Olsen (five) also contributed to the attack well.
“A lot of people were involved in the plays, so I thought that was a good thing,” Lenard said. “That is on Tarrah (Lasky’s) shoulders to move the ball around, and I thought we did a good job with that.”
Crown Point coach Alison Duncan continues to see improvement with her team and hopes that will come to its peak during sectionals. However, there is still a lot of work to do.
“A lot of times we’re at 15 (points) first, but then we struggle to finish at the end,” she said. “There’s going to come a time when my team gets mad enough. They’ve had enough of losing by a couple points.”
Crown Point (14-10, 5-6) was led by Alyssa Kvarta’s 13 kills.