Flames Drop Horizon League Opener to Valparaiso

Melissa Nava put down 11 kills on 23 attempts against Valparaiso Saturday
Melissa Nava put down 11 kills on 23 attempts against Valparaiso Saturday

Sept. 28, 2013

Box Score

CHICAGO – The UIC volleyball team put down as many kills as Valparaiso (47) but the Flames were held to a .133 attack percentage in a 3-1 loss (25-20, 25-17, 19-25, 25-16) to the Crusaders Saturday afternoon. Valparaiso (12-3, 1-0 Horizon League) had five service aces and ten total blocks against UIC (5-11, 0-1 Horizon League) in the Horizon League opener for both schools.

Valpo had 13 kills and led the entire way in the first set victory. UIC tied the second set at 7-7 following a Sara Sternard kill but the Crusaders rallied off three consecutive points and never looked back in a 25-17 win.

The third set was tightly contested early as it featured six ties and three lead changes. UIC tied the set at 9-9 following a Valpo service error and the Flames scored five consecutive points to take control of the set. UIC received four kills from junior Molly McCoy and used four team blocks to pull away for the set win.  

Valparaiso needed only eight kills to win the fourth set because UIC committed 12 attack errors. The Crusaders used six total blocks and two service aces in the final set to seal the match victory.  

Senior MaryKate Imrie dished out 43 assists and jumped two spots in the program rankings in the process. Imrie’s 14 assists in the third set victory helped her pass Eva Svoboda (3,156 - 1992-95) and Jessica Dalke (3,159 - 2008-11) and move into fifth all-time in program history.

Imrie now owns 3,168 career assists and needs 46 more assists to move into fourth all-time. Imrie also added nine digs, two block assists and her 15th service ace of the season.

Sternard (13 kills on 23 attempts), sophomore Melissa Nava (11 kills on 23 attempts) and freshman Kara Johnson (10 kills on 46 attempts) all recorded double-digit efforts for the UIC offense. Over the last four matches, Sternard is hitting at an impressive .477 clip with 45 kills on 88 attempts. Sternard needs three more kills to reach the 600-career kill milestone.

Nava was also efficient with a .435 attack percentage. She put down four kills on five swings in the fourth set and also finished with three block assists. Johnson posted her tenth double-digit kill effort of the season and finished one dig shy of her fourth double-double.

Senior Justine Garcia recorded her sixth consecutive double-digit dig performance with a team-high 15 digs. Garcia also added her team-leading 19th service ace of the season in the fourth set.

Redshirt sophomore Tracy Friel added 12 digs and her 15th service ace of the season while redshirt junior Maggie Strus recorded her sixth double-digit dig effort with 10 digs. Freshman Casey Harris had five block assists and the Flames collected eight total blocks as a team.

UIC stays in Chicago next weekend (Oct. 4-5) as Horizon League play continues against Milwaukee and Green Bay. The Flames play host to Milwaukee Friday night at 7 p.m. and take on Green Bay at 4 p.m. Saturday.