First things first, here's Purdue Athletics' game recap
It's always hard to be completely objective right after the season ends, but we'll give it a go. Starting with the obvious, Wisconsin just out played Purdue tonight, forcing the Boilers into a .167 hitting percentage as a team while hitting .244 themselves. Just as big, Wisconsin had two players with 15 or more kills and .400% or higher, while Purdue didn't have a player who hit either of those marks.
There were some positive performances from Purdue though. Kiki Jones had 11 kills with a .381 hitting percentage which is nice. Val Nichol didn't have her best hitting night and her blocking wasn't perfect, but she still came within 2 digs of another triple double. Hillary Fox in her last game led the team in digs with 14. Plus, Kiki, Faye Adelaja, and Cat Rebarchak each had 5 or more block assists.
The problem is that the negatives were pretty glaring in regards to what went wrong (though credit goes to Wisconsin as well, without a doubt). Kiki was the only player above .300 hitting and in regards to outside hitters, only Annie Drews and Val Nichol had what would even be called okay games. Purdue's offense all year may have been run through Val Nichol and Rachel Davis, but it lived and died with Cat Rebarchak and Sam Epinesa. Tonight it was more of the "dead" variety unfortunately. Cat had 9 kills on 34 attempts with 7 errors good for a .059 hitting percentage. Sam had 7 kills on 38 attempts and threw in 6 errors of her own, dropping her to a .026 percentage on the match and at that point you just have to feel for the both of them because we know they're significantly better than that.
As painful as it is for the season to end like this for this incredible group of seniors, the work put in by Carly, Hillary, Katie, Rachel, and Cat paid off with an excellent season overall capped by a run to the Elite Eight, a host of huge wins over many of the elite teams in the B1G, and as for me, I loved watching this team grow throughout the year from top to bottom. Just as much as this year's team was fun to watch, the future is bright for Purdue volleyball with talent at every position and another year of experience for big contributors like Val, Sam, Faye, and Kiki that will only help them get better.
On a more personal note, I want to say thank you to all of you who have read my articles throughout the year as well as Travis for giving me this opportunity (and Juan for inviting me to help). I've had a blast covering this year's team, and I couldn't have done it without all of you.