News - 9/25/12

Crusaders claim Hoosier Classic crown

The Valparaiso volleyball team won its first in-season tournament title in two years on Saturday, Sept. 15, closing the Hoosier Classic in emphatic fashion with sweeps of Miami and UT-Chattanooga. Redshirt sophomore Kelsey Victor was named Tournament MVP, while juniors Sarah Dooms and Ellen Vanden Berg joined Victor on the All-Tournament Team.

Valpo needed just six sets to complete the tournament victory after downing host IU in five sets on Sept. 14, capturing its first tournament crown since the 2010 CEFCU Classic, hosted by Bradley. Victor earned MVP honors after hitting a team-high .365 on the weekend, averaging 2.27 kills and 0.91 blocks per set. Vanden Berg registered 2.55 kills/set on .361 hitting and led the Crusaders with 13 blocks, while Dooms hit .281 with 21 kills and 29 digs.

"We are very excited to win our first tournament in a couple years," said Crusader head coach Carin Avery. "Just like I said last night, it was a total team effort. We had a great weekend of play and we are excited to start league play. This is a great group of young ladies and they have been working extremely hard. It was nice to see things come together for us this weekend."

The Crusaders kicked off Saturday's action early in the morning against Miami, and despite a couple tight sets, Valpo came out with the sweep. In fact, the first set saw the RedHawks lead most of the way, as the Crusaders claimed just a pair of brief advantages in the very early going. But trailing 20-17, Valpo got a kill by Victor, a Miami error and a service ace from senior Taylor Root to tie the frame at 20-all.

Miami re-claimed the lead with a kill, but another termination by Victor set up junior Ariel Cudney for a service ace to give the Crusaders a 22-21 lead. The RedHawks tied the set on their next three chances, but Valpo held Miami from claiming the outright lead thanks to kills by Vanden Berg, redshirt sophomore Lindsey Hauch and junior Janelle Hobbs. On their second set point chance, the Crusaders claimed the opener as Hauch and Victor combined on a block. Valpo hit at a .342 clip in the opening set to offset Miami's .289 hitting.

Hoosier Classic Crown Valpo continued the offensive dominance in the second set against the RedHawks, swinging at a .344 clip while holding Miami to just .029 hitting. The Crusaders led for the vast majority of the set, with the key run coming just past the midway point. Leading by just one at 15-14, Vanden Berg stepped up with back-to-back kills to push the lead to three points. Hobbs followed with a kill of her own, and a Miami error made it 19-14 Valpo. The Crusaders closed the set by scoring four of the final five points, capped by a Victor kill, to claim a 2-0 advantage.

The third set saw both squads attempt to use swings in momentum to their advantage. Miami got out to a hot start, leading 10-5, but a four-point spurt got the Crusaders back into the set and another 4-0 run, featuring two kills by Vanden Berg and one each from Dooms and Hobbs, gave Valpo a 16-14 lead. The RedHawks answered immediately though, scoring five of the next six to claim a 19-17 lead and force a Crusader timeout.

Out of the stoppage, Valpo took advantage of Miami errors to re-gain control, as a kill by Hobbs and a block from Victor and senior Mary Dent combined with four MU miscues pushed the Crusader lead to 23-20. Miami scored consecutive points to close to within 23-22, but kills by Hauch and Dooms closed out the sweep.

Valpo hit at a .287 clip for the match, as four of its six attackers hit better than .300. Victor finished with a team-best 10 kills on .421 hitting and also picked up a team-high three blocks. Hauch hit .444 with nine kills, Hobbs .412 with eight kills and Vanden Berg posted seven kills on .316 hitting. Freshman Kelsey Berrington tallied 18 assists to go with Cudney's 14, while Root paced the back line with 13 digs.

The Crusaders had already clinched the tournament title thanks to tiebreakers going into their final match of the weekend against UT-Chattanooga, but didn't let that slow them down. Valpo dominated the Mocs on both sides of the ball, committing just five attack errors en route to a .343 team hitting percentage while holding UTC to .906 hitting.

Chattanooga's biggest threat came in the opening frame, as the Mocs led 6-3 early on, but the Crusaders quickly rallied. With the score tied at seven-all, Valpo scored 12 of the next 16 points, getting kills from six different attackers, including a pair by sophomore Morgan Beil to go ahead 19-11 and cruise to the win in the opener.

A mid-set run was the impetus for the second-set win, as an 8-1 spurt turned a two-point lead into a 19-10 advantage. Vanden Berg was in on three blocks during the run, while Dent tallied a pair of kills as Valpo went ahead 2-0. There was little doubt in the final frame, as a 14-2 run, featuring two kills and a block each from Dent and Hauch, was plenty for the Crusaders to complete the sweep of the Mocs and close the tournament on a high note.

The balanced Crusader offense saw no player tally more than eight kills against Chattanooga. Victor led the way, hitting .438 with eight kills, while Dooms matched her hitting percentage on seven kills. Vanden Berg also picked up seven terminations, going along with a team-high six blocks, and Hauch added six without an error as well. Cudney recorded 17 assists and Berrington 14, while the back line was led by Root's 15 digs.

Valparaiso (8-6) opens Horizon League play at UIC on Friday, Sept. 21. Live stats for the match will be available through

Valpo tied for 4th in U.S. News Midwest regional ranking

Valparaiso University's outstanding educational value and quality academic programs earned strong recognition once again from U.S. News & World Report in its annual rankings. In the Best Regional Universities in the Midwest, Valpo tied for fourth. In the Best Value category, Valpo ranked second among regional universities in the Midwest. The University's College of Engineering tied for 17th place nationally among undergraduate engineering schools. Valparaiso University has been identified as one of the nation's best regional universities in the Midwest for 24 years.

Despite recent reports of decreasing higher education enrollment nationwide, Valparaiso University has a great story to tell. After laying the foundation with its Strategic Plan, a refined recruitment strategy, and an increased emphasis on diversity, the University has recruited its largest student body since 1983. This marks the largest international presence in the school's history, and Valpo is well on its way toward becoming the world's most prestigious international Lutheran university.

Increasing enrollment has been a priority since University President Mark Heckler assumed his role a little more than four years ago. New facilities such as the $13 million Donald V. Fites Engineering Innovation Center, the $19 million Arts and Sciences Building and the up-and-coming Duesenberg Welcome Center provide the University with the resources necessary to attract and accommodate a larger student body.

"We are very pleased that U.S. News & World Report continues to recognize the comprehensive and highly personalized educational experience Valparaiso University offers our students," Heckler said. "Students want to learn in an environment of academic rigor with the freedom to inquire without constraint. They want a place where they can come together and learn how to navigate difference and disagreement with care, compassion, and mutual respect. Today, we have new students coming to Valparaiso University from 33 states and 16 countries."

    Additional enrollment facts and figures:

  • The 994 freshmen and transfer students on campus at Valparaiso represents the school's largest new undergraduate enrollment in 31 years.
  • International students comprise 9.7 percent of the student population; this year's enrollment is the highest international student enrollment in Valparaiso's history.
  • With a population totaling 17.1 percent of the student body, the number of American minority students has reached its highest level in the school's history.
  • College of Nursing enrollment is the highest in the University's history, while the College of Engineering headcount is at its highest level in 10 years.
  • New leadership in enrollment management with the appointment of Michael Joseph as vice president in late 2011.
  • A concerted effort toward recruiting students from Indiana led to a freshman class featuring the most students from the state in 21 years.

    Notable U.S. News rankings:

  • Valparaiso University tied for fourth in the ranking of Best Regional Universities in the Midwest, a ranking that includes comprehensive institutions. Valparaiso University tied with Xavier University. These rankings take into account academic reputation, retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate, and alumni support. Valparaiso University was also tied for fourth in this category a year ago.
  • Valparaiso University was again placed on the list of A+ Schools for B Students, which measures institutions that provide opportunities for students of different academic achievement levels to thrive.
  • Valparaiso University's College of Engineering finished tied for 17th place nationally among undergraduate engineering schools, an improvement of 10 places from the year before.

The Valparaiso University educational experience focuses on both professional schools such as the nursing, engineering, and business colleges, and a respected broad-based liberal arts curriculum. Valparaiso University is also committed to providing the best value possible, with more than 90 percent of students receiving some form of financial aid, and more than $70 million in financial assistance awarded annually to undergraduates.

Valparaiso University has ranked in the top five of the quality rankings every year since 1990.

Adding to the well-rounded student experience at Valpo, five athletics teams had tremendous success this past year. The softball and baseball teams each advanced to the NCAA Tournament, winning Horizon League regular-season and tournament titles. Men’s soccer and men’s basketball each won Horizon League regular-season championships. And, the women’s bowling team advanced to the NCAA National Championship.

Tolkien conference coming to Valpo in March 2013

"Celebrating 'The Hobbit,' " a conference on the works of author J.R.R. Tolkien, is coming to Valparaiso University March 1-3, 2013. The conference will celebrate the December 2012 premiere of the new "Hobbit" movie and the 75th anniversary of the publication of the novel "The Hobbit," as well as Tolkien's other works.

Brad Eden, dean of library services, will serve as host for the conference. Eden is the author of "Middle-earth minstrel: essays on music in Tolkien," published in 2010.

"I have been a Tolkien scholar for a number of years, back to when I discovered his works as a teenager in the 1970s," Eden said.

The conference will feature a variety of events honoring the works of Tolkien, including musical performances and a themed dinner. There will also be an exhibit in the Brauer Museum of Art, featuring rare and unusual Tolkien memorabilia from Eden's collection, including several signed letters and books. Plenary speakers include Tolkien scholars Verlyn Flieger, John d. Rateliff, and Douglas A. Anderson.

"The plenary speakers are well-known experts in Tolkien scholarship, especially related to 'The Hobbit,' " Eden said. "The main draw will be the performance of Symphony No. 1 'The Lord of the Rings,' composed by Johan de Meij, who will be attending the conference and conducting the performance himself. There will also be a student essay contest for Valpo students, and the winners will have the opportunity to present their essay during the conference."

Any Valpo students who volunteer to assist with registration and help conference attendees will get free registration to the conference.

Visit or contact Brad Eden at for more information.