If you are playing Purdue in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, you're screwed and you might as well say goodbye to your dreams. We've seen the men's basketball team win 14 straight 1st round games, the women's basketball team has performed just as well over the last couple of years, and then there's Coach Shondell's team.
Under Coach Shondell, the team has NEVER lost a 1st Round game since he began coaching. His first NCAA Tournament game with Purdue was in 2004 at Fort Collins, CO against #9 Colorado State. Purdue upset CSU 3-2 in Purdue's first NCAA appearance since 1990. 8 years later, Coach Shondell led his Purdue squad against CSU again, this time in Tallahassee, as they beat the Rams 3-0.
The story of this game was the service errors. If I had played a drinking game related to service errors, I'd be dead right now. Purdue had 10 service errors to CSU's 13 service errors. That's not horribad, but that's also not good. It was worse in the 1st set where Purdue had 6 service errors, but CSU didn't fix the problem until the 3rd set when it was already too late.
Purdue seemed to be in control in the latter half of each set, and CSU did not give them that much trouble outside of their short runs that were led by the terrific blocking exhibited today by both teams. Colorado State has seen better days as it is traditionally one of the better non-major conference programs. But today, the team must travel back to Fort Collins after losing in the 1st round for the first time since 2006.
Ariel Turner finished with 13 kills, hitting 0.257, and finished short of a double-double with 9 digs. However, After tonight's game, Ariel Turner joined an elite club of Boilermakers as she has now earned over 1,000 kills AND 1,000 digs in her Purdue career. Simply an amazing feat! It is difficult to move back and forth between front and back court during a match, but somehow, Ariel Turner has mastered it.
Other notable stats include Val Nichol finishing the night with 9 kills and a hitting percentage of 0.368. Kiki Jones gave Purdue the boost they need with 6 thunderous kills and finished with an amazing 0.857 hitting percentage, and Carly Cramer finished with 10 digs, with Davis and Fox also finishing with 8 digs each. This team seems to play much better with Davis at setter, as she finishes with 34 assists.
Up next for Purdue is the winner of the Florida State/ Hofstra currently being played (FSU leads 7-4 in the first set). Florida State upset Purdue last year in the Sweet 16 before they went on to advance to the Final Four. It will be interesting to see how the match plays out tomorrow in Tallahassee and if Purdue seeks revenge, or if FSU keeps the Boilers down again.