Purdue Volleyball upsets #4 and undefeated Missouri 3-1

Juan Crespo

Purdue advances to the Sweet 16 for the 4th consecutive season.

In Purdue's 2010 Sweet 16 match up, they faced #1 Florida, who had only lost 1 game all year. By the end of the day, Purdue swept the Gators, giving them their 2nd loss of the season. Tonight, #4 Missouri entered the game undefeated and had only lost 8 sets throughout the whole season.

Tonight, Purdue upset the Tigers, crushing even more hearts in Columbia, Missouri. It's a bad day to be a Mizzou fan, but a great day to be a Boilermaker.

The first set started close, as neither team had larger than a 2 point lead. The Boilermakers soon took over and busted open a 16-11 lead and never looked back. Though Mizzou tried to close the gap, Purdue won the set convincingly 25-18, and Mizzou was starting to worry. Purdue carried that momentum into the 2nd half and opened up to an 11-6 lead. But then Mizzou slowly crept back, tied it at 15, 16,  and 18, and then never gave up the lead with the home court advantage giving them momentum to take into the locker room. For Purdue, this was nothing new as they have faced these situations throughout the difficult Big Ten season.

Purdue remained calm, entered the 3rd set and showed no mercy. Mizzou had no chance. Though they did add 4 points at the end to make the score more respectable, they couldn't shake off Purdue as they won 25-16. Their 4 point run at the end did worry me as I knew that they could use that as momentum into the 4th set.

The fourth set was just like the 1st set; even though Purdue had a 13-9 lead, they would never be able to pull away. Mizzou kept it close, and eventually retook the lead with set point at 24-22. However, if there is anything we know, it is that Shondell's teams fight until the end, as Purdue not only tied it at 24, they ended up getting match point at 25-24, making the Mizzou crowd fall silent. Though Mizzou did tie it up again at 25 a piece, it would ultimately be the last point they scored this season, as Purdue blocked a kill and forced an attack error from Mizzou to upset the Tigers and advance to the Sweet 16.

Purdue dominated the stat sheet and outhit Missouri 0.352 to 0.237. Though Carly Kan led all hitters with 18 kills for Mizzou, she seemed to be the lone bright spot, with Lisa Henning and Emily Wilson also making 12 and 11 kills respectively. Purdue continued their balanced attack, as Nichol, Epenesa, Jones, and Rebarchak all had double digit kills. Val Nichol ended the night with a triple-double, with 27 assists and 10 digs on top of her 14 kills, as well as a pair of blocks. Cramer and  Davis also ended with double digit digs, and Davis finished with 21 assists. Though she may not stand out on the stat sheet, Faye Adelaja had some key kills at crucial points throughout the match, demoralizing any Mizzou attempts at a run.

Up next for Purdue, they travel down I-74 to Champaign for the Sweet 16. They will have a much tougher match up against host team and #13 Illinois. Purdue has split the series with Illinois this year, each winning on their home court. It should be a great game between two great programs. The winner will face the winner of the Florida State/#12 Wisconsin match up, as FSU upset their rival #5 Florida in Gainesville earlier today.

It was certainly an exciting game, and my heart was racing throughout the fourth set. Purdue once again pulled off the upset in the 2nd round, much like last year's 5 set win at Florida State, as they continue their impressive late season run. Let's all hope that they continue this run through Champaign and into the Final Four.

All Hail to OUR Old Gold and Black. BTFU.

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