Valpo Slows Panther Offense In Claiming Four-Set Win
Nov. 1, 2013
MILWAUKEE - Four players reached double figures in kills and Valparaiso fought off a pair of set-points in the decisive fourth frame before claiming a 25-15, 25-19, 20-25, 30-28 win over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Friday night at the Klotsche Center.
The Panthers (13-9, 9-1 Horizon) looked like they might be on the verge of overcoming a slow start in winning the third frame and then holding multiple leads in the fourth. But, a Valpo block started the final Crusader rally before kills from Sarah Dooms and Morgan Beil finished the match.
Rachel Neuberger had 15 kills and Julie Kolinske 14 for Milwaukee, which lost for the first time in league play. UWM came into the match leading the league in hitting percentage but hit just .078 in the contest, committing 36 errors.
Taylor Golabowski led Milwaukee's defensive efforts with 25 digs and was one of four Panthers in double figures. But Valpo outdug Milwaukee, 96-86, and outblocked the Panthers, 11-6.
The loss dropped the Panthers into a tie in the loss column atop the league standings with the Crusaders (22-4, 8-1).
"It was hard. Valpo came to play and I knew they were going to do that," Milwaukee head coach Susie Johnson said. "The truth is that we had to fight back and we were able to do that in sets three and four. We actually managed to put ourselves in a position to come back in set four but the ball wasn't falling our way. It was just a tough one."
Milwaukee dug itself a hole by hitting .000 over the first two frames and the Panthers never seriously threatened to win either set. UWM bounced back to win the third set by building a five-point lead early before hanging on, though the Panthers still had to overcome 10 hitting errors to stay alive in the match.
The fourth set was extremely entertaining and included 17 ties and six lead changes. The Panthers had a 22-20 lead before the Crusaders struck back to lead 24-23. UWM then fought off three match-points before claiming a chance to win the set itself. Milwaukee led 27-26 on a Myanna Ruiz kill and 28-27 on another kill from Ruiz, but Valpo answered with a final surge to snap Milwaukee's nine-match losing streak.
"What we were trying to do better during the match was blocking and that was a struggle for us for some reason," Johnson said. "We did turn it around and we were able to get more kills, but the errors were just too much. It made it harder to get points in a row and that's what you need to do."
The Panthers wrap up their home schedule Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. when UIC visits the Klotsche Center.