It was just Indiana's night as almost everything fell their way as they were able to do things better than Purdue tonight (heck, they even got the Box Score up faster than Purdue's website). IU was able to contain Purdue in the first and second sets, even as the Boilers tried to rally. Though IU looked flat in the 3rd set, they stayed strong in the 4th and beat Purdue for the first time since September 30th, 2009, when they beat Purdue 3-2 on Belin Court in West Lafayette.
Unlike other Purdue losses recently, I thought Purdue played a decent game. This is the first time this season that a Purdue loss has not been a sweep, but for a while it looked like the Hoosiers would pull off the sweep. Though I said in my preview that IU was not a good team, I did warn that they have the potential to make huge and strong attacks like they did against Nebraska, and that the back court had to be ready.
IU came out on fire and caught Purdue sleeping.
Purdue had to make come backs in both the 1st and 3rd sets, but both times just fell a few points short as IU always seemed to get the most important points to kill a Purdue rally. Though IU barely out hit Purdue by 3 kills and had a lower percentage, their way of attacking and the timing just worked out for them. Multiple times, I would see a Purdue dig just fly into the rafters or stands because of how hard IU hits the ball this year. Purdue hit the ball well too, but tonight Bloomington was just Block City.
Purdue had 15.0 team blocks compared to 10.5 blocks for IU. Kiki Jones and Anna Drewry gave IU hitters hell with multiple blocks up front, especially during Purdue's 3rd set win. Kiki also had 12 kills with 1 error, and had led all players with more than 5 attacks in percentage with 0.579 percentage.
Looking at these stats, you may wonder why IU even beat Purdue? After all, they only had 3 more kills, had more attack errors, only 3 more digs and a worse hitting percentage. Well ladies and gentlemen, look at this next stat:
Ouch. That's ultimately what killed Purdue in this game, especially in the 4th set when IU got 2 aces in a row when Purdue thought the 1st one was out of bounds (BTN offers horrible reply, and the camera lofts at IU in general just suck), so I can't contest the refs, but Carly Cramer was not happy. Either way, this is a 7 point swing in IU's favor that was the difference for them. Most of these aces came after poor handling by Purdue as well, along with most of IU's kills.
I said in the preview that Purdue had to have a great game in the back court in order to hold off the Hoosiers. Carly Cramer can't do everything by herself back there, especially after coming off her concussion against Nebraska. IU's hard hitting isn't unique in the Big Ten, and the back court has been a problem for Purdue most of this season. They need to improve their digs so they aren't going into the crowd or into the rafters like tonight's game (though University Gym does have a fairly low ceiling). Purdue showed that it can still attack and has an amazing blocking system up front, they just need to fix the digs in the back court, and the wins will start to come again for this team. If they don't, the game against #10 Minnesota in Minneapolis this Saturday will not be pretty.
I think I will just end this post though with a fun fact in that Carly Cramer did break a chair going for the ball in the 4th set. That brings the total amount of chair fatalities in Bloomington due to the Purdue/IU rivalry up to two. I know petition for Carly and Bobby Knight to have a chair duel.