I intended to write this last night, but I ended up taking an antihistamine for my cold, followed by going out to eat dinner with my parents and having a beer or two. Anyone knows, except for me it seems, that the combination of any alcohol and antihistamines will just knock you out in a couple hours. So while Purdue was trying to put away UNC-Wilmington in the 2nd half, I ended up passing out on the couch and forgot to write this article. Great way to start off my Thanksgiving break!
Last night before the Men's Basketball game, the Volleyball team took to Belin Court for probably the penultimate time season against the Hooisers. Last time these two teams met, IU pulled off the upset in Bloomington 3-1, the first time IU beat Purdue since 2009. Luckily for Purdue, they only play for the Monon Spike in the 2nd game of the season, giving Purdue a chance to keep the trophy at home and prevent an I from being added to it. It wasn't an easy sweep, but the Boilers got the job done, beating the Hoosiers in 3 sets (25-21, 25-20, 25-23), getting the chance to add a P to the Monon Spike and keep it safe where it belongs.
Ariel Turner finished the match with another double-double as she earned 18 kills and 14 digs, and finished with a hitting percentage of 0.366. She wasn't alone as Annie Drews finished the match with 11 kills, hitting a match high 0.476 among those who had at least 10 total attacks. Rachel Davis continues to show why she is an outstanding setter, with 36 assists, 9 digs, and 4 kills out of 6 total attacks with no hitting errors.
However, the big stat of the night was the effort put forth by the front line, as Purdue out-blocked IU 2-1. Purdue finished with 14.0 blocks to IU's 7.0 blocks. This isn't surprising as the last match made Bloomington Block City with Purdue outblocking IU 15.0-10.5. As James mentioned in his article after the OSU game, the front line had seemed weak when it came towards blocking the ball and protecting the back court. Not the case last night as Kierra Jones led the blocking effort last night.
With the win, Purdue has reached 20 wins on the season, and a win Friday night would match the 2010 Season record. However, I do not think Purdue will host the 1st and 2nd Rounds of the NCAA Tournament unlike the 2010 Season as there are much better teams ahead of Purdue and they weren't entering the tournament with the same momentum like they did in 2010. If this does end up being the case, then Purdue will have to fight hard just to make it into the Sweet 16 so they can play in Mackey Arena for regionals.
Up next for Purdue is Senior Night this Friday night as they take on Wisconsin at 7pm. I plan on arriving from home just in time for this game, and if you plan on spending the night in West Lafayette before the Bucket Game on Saturday, I highly suggest spending the extra $8-$10 to watch this game in person. It will probably be the last time we see Ariel Turner, Amanda Miler, Courtney Gosewisch and Anna Drewry play on Belin Court, so please do show up to support the seniors and the volleyball team one last time during the regular season.
And finally, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to give thanks to certain people. First, I'd like to give thanks to Travis for supporting James and I as we cover a sport with little media attention. I know he could have Hammer and Rails cover just football and basketball and it could probably get a few more views that way, but he firmly believes that all Purdue athletics deserves some coverage, so I thank him for his support over the last 2 years. I also give thanks for James, without him, volleyball on H&R would be on its deathbed as I have become consumed with school, RA life, a new relationship, and extracurricular activities. He has added a new perspective to our coverage, and it will be tough to replace him when he graduates in the spring.
I also give thanks to you, the readers. Whether you are Coach Shondell, a volleyball player or manager, avid fan, or just someone who is curious about the sport, I thank you. Without you, I would just be talking to an empty room. Though volleyball doesn't bring in the same amount of fans that basketball and football do, it still is great to see that people do care about this sport and the athletes that play the game.
Happy Thanksgiving to all! Keep practicing those serves, and I'll see you at the game on Friday!