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Purdue Volleyball Picks up Two Sweeps

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The Purdue Volleyball team swept Maryland last Wednesday and Northwestern last Saturday. This Wednesday is senior night against Rutgers

Back home in IAF, Purdue (21-7, 11-5) was able to sweep both opponents they faced last week. Annie Drews was back in the lineup, but Purdue stuck with the 6-2 rotation and it produced positive results for the Boilers. This week Purdue will play their home finale, Senior Night, against Rutgers Wednesday night and then travel to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers Saturday night.

Wednesday against Maryland Purdue started fast in the first set and never let up in a 25-15 win over the Terrapins. Purdue's 10-4 advantage grew to 15-6. A Kate Workman ace and two kills each from Sam Epenesa and KiKi Jones pushed Purdue's lead to 11, 22-11, before the set ended.

The Boilers watched their lead shrink before regrouping to win the second set 25-18. Purdue was on fire to start the second set. The Boilers were putting up blocks, dropping in aces, and putting the ball away en route to a 12-3 lead. Maryland though was able to cut the margin to four, 17-13. Before it got any closer Purdue went on a 5-2 run to reassert themselves.

Both teams saved their best for last but, Purdue's best was better. The Boilers went up early but, the Terrapins cut the margin to one, 8-7. Purdue responded with a 6-1 run fueled by four kills from Azariah Stahl. Maryland scored three in a row but Purdue quickly put the threat to rest with a 7-3 run. Purdue won the set 25-17 outhitting Maryland .500-.219.

Sam Epenesa and Azariah Stahl finished the night with 10 kills each; Stahl hit .571.  The team hit .373; match four players hit .400+; Annie Drews hit .429 with eight kills, KiKi Jones hit .600 with six kills and Faye Adelaja hit .500 with four kills. Jones contributed on three of Purdue's four blocks. Val Nichol put up 21 assists and Lydia Dimke tallied 18. Dimke and Kate Workman both had two aces. Amanda Neill led the back row with 10 digs.

Northwestern never really stood a chance against Purdue Saturday. The Boilers never trailed in any of the sets and hit .419 on the night. Faye Adelaja got things started for the Purdue offense with six kills on seven attempts in the first set. Purdue offense helped them increase their 10-5 lead to 17-9. The Wildcats came back though and cut the margin to three, 18-15. Adelaja, Stahl, and Jones came through for the Boilers with two kills each to go up 22-17. Like before Northwestern came back, this time cutting the Purdue lead to one. Purdue scored the next four points to wrap the set up 25-21.

Purdue was up 10-4 when Northwestern first threatened in the second set. NU cut the margin to three, 13-10, before trading points with Purdue tilt the score read 18-15. Northwestern struck with an ace but Purdue kept things from getting any closer by going on a six point run. Purdue was unsuccessful on their first set point but converted the second to win 25-17. The Boilers hit .536 during the set.

The Boiler offense outdid themselves in third set; Purdue had no hitting errors during the set hitting .556. Similar to the previous sets Purdue got a big lead early, Northwestern came back, and then Purdue finished the set off. An early eight point Purdue advantage shrunk to four, 13-9. Northwestern hung around for a little while longer but were never able to get closer than four. Up 18-14 Purdue went on a 6-2 run. Annie Drews finished the match with her fourth kill of the set, 25-17.

Faye Adelaja was the kills leader Saturday with 10, hitting a team best .643. Annie Drews and Sam Epenesa finished with nine kills each and Azariah Stahl put down eight. Five of the six hitters hit .400+. Epenesa and Jones both contributed on three of Purdue's six blocks. Val Nichol had 27 assists and Lydia Dimke added 15. Amanda Neill had a solid night with 16 digs and three aces.

Amanda Neill was awarded Defensive Player of the Week by the conference. Neill averaged 4.33 digs/set last week and converted all 22 of her service reception attempts. Neill also served up four aces.

After this last week Purdue is alone in fifth place in the conference standings. Ohio State lost both their matches last week and fell to sixth place. Wisconsin remains in first followed by Penn State, Illinois, and Nebraska.

Purdue is holding steady at No. 16 in the AVCA rankings. Wisconsin moved up to No. 2 this week. Previously undefeated Florida State and Washington both dropped two matches last week. The former No. 3 Seminoles dropped two four-set road matches against then vote receiving Duke and No. 8 North Carolina. Former No. 2 Washington lost five-set matches on the road against No. 22 Colorado and Utah who was receiving votes. No. 1 Stanford remains as the only unbeaten left. Fellow ranked B1G teams are No. 4 Penn State, No. 10 Illinois, No. 11 Nebraska, and No. 20 Ohio State.

Only four games remain in the regular season for Purdue. Wednesday night is the home finale against Rutgers. Seniors Val Nichol and KiKi Jones will be honored at the match. On Saturday Purdue will take on Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Purdue won the first match-up with Rutgers (7-22, 0-16) 3-0. Drews led the Boilers with 12 kills. In the beginning of November Purdue swept Minnesota (16-11, 6-10) in West Lafayette. The Boilers used a balanced offense to defeat Minnesota; four Boilers had eight or more kills. The Gophers have since going 2-2.

Since switching to a 6-2 offense Purdue has gone 3-2. Its likely Purdue will stick with it especially after this past weekend. Purdue's offensive production was some of the best they've had all season. Epenesa and Stahl were consistent contributors in both matches. Stahl played across the front row for all three rotations in place of Ashley Evans. Danielle Cuttino did not play and she wasn't needed; both Faye and KiKi stepped up and hit the ball well.