Though I have only been following Purdue sports since 2007, and a true Boilermaker since 2009, I can't think of a better weekend in Purdue sports in recent memory. Purdue football upsets Ohio State in an overtime thriller that will certainly be a classic we will all remember for years to come, Hummel makes his official return in a newly dedicated Mackey Arena, the Women's Basketball is set to tip off today in the new Mackey Arena to conclude Mackey Rededication Week, and of course, our #10 Purdue Volleyball team SWEPT the #2 Nebraska Cornhuskers in dominant fashion last night for senior night and the last regular season home game in the Boiler Box. It was the first time that Nebraska has been swept since October 30th, 2009 at the Texas Longhorns. This win certainly boosts Purdue's tournament resume, and now they control their seeding in the tournament.
Standing room only in the Boiler Box against #2 Nebraska
It is without a doubt that Saturday night's game was probably Purdue's best performance since they beat the #1 Florida Gators in the Sweet 16 last year. In many games, Ariel Turner is the one who stands above everyone else with impressive stats. Though she did lead all hitters with 17 kills, Catherine Rebarchak played an almost perfect game, with 10 kills, 7 diggs, and 0 errors. Blair Bashen has greatly improved her playing ability, getting down low to not only get those hard digs, but also keeping them within the court so the team can set up a kill. Shondell's squad played almost perfectly last night, and frankly, I can't find anything wrong that stood out to me. The atmosphere was great, the team played great, the Block Party was loud, all around it was a great match.
I was shocked at how easily we beat Nebraska, they are probably going to win the Big Ten as they control their own destiny with 4 winnable games and only 2 B1G losses (Purdue is tied for 2nd with 3 B1G losses). All Purdue can do is to win its last 4 games on the road and hope Nebraksa trips up at least once so Purdue can have a share at the Big Ten Title. There is also a good chance Purdue will again host the 1st and 2nd rounds of the NCAA Tournament like last year. If so, we get to experience 1-2 more home games that will hopefully set up another trip to the Sweet 16, and maybe even the Final 4 in San Antonio.
What also amazed me was the amount of red in the IAF last night. I knew Nebraska had a large fanbase, but I was amazed at how many actually made the drive to West Lafayette for a volleyball game. I have always heard how passionate their fanbase was for the entire university, but to see it in person for a volleyball game was outstanding. I can't think of any other Big Ten school with such passionate fans for all sports, not just for football and/or basketball. I may be quick to judge, but now I know why they call themselves the greatest fans in college sports, and frankly, they deserve it.
Up next for the Boilermakers, our ladies travel to Columbus and State College to face the #22 Buckeyes and #9 Nittany Lions. Ohio State is currently on a 3 game losing streak after their 4 game road trip and may even drop out of the rankings by Monday. They will be looking to establish themselves at home and look for revenge, but it won't be easy with Purdue playing red hot, along with 50 members of the Block Party (including myself) making the trip to Columbus. We will be looking for revenge after the Paint Crew's trip to Columbus in January (which I was also a part of). Then on Saturday night, Purdue faces Penn State in Rec Hall, another difficult place to play in the Big Ten. PSU is coming off a 1-1 weekend in Land of Lincoln, after being swept at Illinois Friday night and then sweeping the Wildcats Saturday night. I think Purdue can pull off the victory in Columbus, but the game in State College will be difficult, and could result in Purdue being swept by Penn State this year. I hope the Lady Boilers prove me wrong against Penn State; we can still win the Big Ten Title!