Purdue Volleyball came into Mackey Friday night after strong performances against Ohio State and Penn State the weekend before. The strong play carried over and helped Purdue dispatch Illinois in 4 sets, 29-31, 25-23, 25-17, 25-23. Purdue's strong defense and balanced offense were too much for Illinois to handle. On defense Carly Cramer and Hilliary Fox pulled up 21 and 20 digs respectively. The Purdue offense was led by Val Nichol and Sam Epenesa who each had 14 kills. Annie Drews and Kiki Jones also had double digit kills.
The first set was a tight one. The Boilers refused to let Illinois run away as Purdue kept themselves within striking distance throughout. Late in the set the Boilers used key blocks to prevent runs from Illinois. Both teams had set points, and by the time Illinois converted theirs Purdue had run out of substitutions; Amanda Neill was in front row with Rachel Davis, and Sam Epenesa was playing in the backcourt. The line-up proved to be a stumbling block as Purdue struggled to get points and lost the match on a communication error.
In the second set Purdue was back to its normal line-up and came out on top. The first half of the match was back and forth. Purdue began to control the last half but was never able to shut the door on Illinois. The Illini tied the set at 21-21 but that was the last threat from Illinois as Purdue closed the match with kills from Faye Adelaja, Annie Drews, and Kiki Jones.
Purdue was able to control the whole third set. Purdue gained a 9-4 advantage and from then on never let the Illini get closer than four. Coach Shondell made a slight adjustment coming out of the break after the second set; he played Katie Griffin instead of Catherine Rebarchak. Griffin performed well; she helped shut the door on Illinois at the end of the match with three kills before Val Nichol struck with a kill for set point.
Illinois put up more of fight in the fourth set. Illinois got the first substantial lead of the game, but two Amanda Neill aces brought Purdue right back. The teams were close moving on until Illinois gained an 18-14 advantage. Purdue countered, and went up 20-19. From then on strong hitting and Illinois errors allowed Purdue to thwart any comeback and close the match out.
Purdue wasn't quite as impressive as last weekend, but they still looked good Friday night. They'll look to pick up their fourth conference win Saturday night against Northwestern.