Aces volleyball falls to Valparaiso in MVC tournament opener
NORMAL, Ill. (WFIE) - In the opening contest of the Missouri Valley Conference Championship, the University of Evansville fell to Valparaiso by a 3-1 final inside Redbird Arena.
Alondra Vazquez led the way for the Purple Aces (19-11) with a match-high 17 kills while adding 13 digs. She added a pair of service aces along with a block assist. Melanie Feliciano registered 11 kills and 9 digs while Giulia Cardona added a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs. Taya Haffner had a match-high 35 assists while totaling 19 digs, just two short of her career mark of 21. Madisyn Steele picked up a solo block and three block assists in the contest.
Set 1 – Valpo 25, UE 20
Evansville came out of the gate strong, scoring the first four points with Alondra Vazquez recorded a kill and assisting Kate Tsironis on a block. The Aces continued to hold the lead until Valparaiso tied it up for the first time at 6-6 before taking an 8-7 edge. Three blocks in a row for the Beacons spearheaded a run that saw them take their largest lead at 16-10. All-MVC First Teamer Alondra Vazquez picked up a pair of aces that helped UE reel off five in a row to get within one, but Valpo responded with five in a row to match their largest lead before taking the set, 25-20.
Set 2 – UE 25, Valpo 16
For the second game in a row, it was the Aces with the big start, but this time, they took full advantage on their way to tying up the match. Kills by Vazquez and Giulia Cardona were part of a 4-0 start. After Valparaiso scored, Melanie Feliciano recorded her first kill of the set to begin another run that saw UE score nine in a row to cap off a 13-1 start. Feliciano had five kills during the stretch to widen the advantage. The Beacons chipped away, but the early deficit was too much to overcome with Evansville tying the match on the strength of a 25-16 victory.
Set 3 – Valpo 25, UE 22
A 3-1 start for Valpo saw them lead throughout the opening moments of the set. Evansville forced seven tied before takings its first lead at 14-13 with a kill by Vazquez. Madisyn Steele and Taya Haffner picked up a block to give the Aces a 15-13 edge before VU responded with three in a row to jump back in front. The defining moment came when the Beacons turned a 17-17 tie into a 22-17 lead. UE did its best to close, but fell by a 25-22 final.
Set 4 – Valpo 25, UE 17
The opening moments of the fourth set were similar to the third with things remaining close. After three ties, the Beacons wrestled away a 5-3 lead. Evansville made it an 8-7 game on a Cardona kill before Valparaiso countered with eight in a row to go up 16-7. Tailing 20-11, Evansville made its move, posting the next four with Vazquez recording two more kills. Unfortunately, UE could not get closer, falling by a 25-17 score to finish the match.
Courtesy: UE Athletics
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