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Purdue Volleyball Wins KSU Invite

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The Purdue Volleyball team moved to 6-0 this weekend after winning the Kennesaw State University Invite.

Since winning the Mortar Board Premiere last weekend Purdue moved up a spot in the polls to No. 7, which ties a program best. They were joined in the Top 25 by six other B1G teams; #1 Penn State, #4 Wisconsin, #9 Illinois, #12 Nebraska, #14 Michigan State, and #18 Minnesota. Michigan and Northwestern also received votes. Also last week Val Nichol was named B1G Setter of the Week.

Down in Kennesaw, Georgia, Purdue swept UNC-Asheville, Elon, and Kennesaw State. This week it was Sam Epenesa who was the tournament MVP. Val Nichol, Amanda Neill, and Faye Adelaja joined her on the All-Tournament team.

Friday night against UNC-Asheville Purdue dominated the Bulldogs with strong serving and hitting. In game one Adelaja threw down three kills and added a block as Purdue got out to a 11-4 advantage. From there Purdue maintained the pressure en route to a 25-13 win. The Bulldogs played the Boilers tougher in the second set. UNCA had the lead early but a 9-2 run by the Boilers featuring three Azariah Stahl kills allowed the Boilers to take the lead 14-10. Despite UNCA's best efforts they never could close the gap as Purdue won 25-20. Purdue saved their best for last, after being down 2-1 the Boilers ran out to 16-3 lead and never looked back. Purdue won 25-12.

Faye Adelaja had a great match turning in a .700 hitting performance. In game one she was was able to put down six kills on seven attempts. She ended the night with eight kills. Stahl added seven. Annie Drews had five to go with four aces. On the night Purdue had 10 aces. Lydia Dimke contributed three, Amanda Neill two, and Adelaja one. Val Nichol dished out 23 assists, and Neill held down the back row with nine digs.

Against Elon University Purdue was forced to come from behind in all three sets to get the victory. Neither team was able to create any distance from the other til late in the first set. Up 19-17 Purdue went on 6-3 to close match and win 25-20. The two teams traded runs in the second set. Elon went up 9-5. A 8-3 run by the Boilers allowed them to take the lead 13-12.  Elon tied things up at 1 5, but from there Purdue was in the lead. Annie Drews ended the set on a strong note with three kills and block as Purdue won 25-20. Purdue was down by as many as four before they took the lead back from Elon at 13-12. Purdue never relinquished their lead winning 25-18.

Purdue hit .390 during the match. Annie Drews turned in 3 blocks and 14 kills while hitting .571. Sam Epenesa added 8 kills. Six other Boilers contributed kills. Kiki Jones had four blocks. Nichol put up 33 assists.

In the last match of the tournament Purdue faced Kennesaw State. Both teams used big runs to put the pressure on in the first set. First Purdue went on a 8-3 run to go up 10-7. Then KSU went on a 7-1 run to go up 14-11. Then a 11-4 Purdue run brought the score to 22-18. As Purdue tried to close the set the Owls denied the Boilers on two set points before Purdue converted and won 25-23. In game two Purdue got themselves out to a 16-6 lead before KSU was able to get their bearings. KSU then went a five point run. Out of the timeout the Boilers regrouped and finished the set 25-14. The last set went much like second. Purdue got out to a 9-4 and then 14-7 lead. The Owls were able to cut the lead to four but that was the last of it. Five different Boilers scored points as Purdue closed the match on a eight point run to win 25-13. Purdue hit .429 in the last set.

Sam Epenesa had 12 kills in the last match. Adelaja added 10. Ashley Evans just missed on a double-double with 9 kills and 10 digs. Kate Workman also recorded 10 digs. Nichol had 43 assists.

Next weekend Purdue will travel down to Bowling Green, Kentucky for the Holiday Inn University Plaza Invitational. They'll take on Austin Peay, host Western Kentucky, and Western Michigan. Austin Peay is 3-5,.WKU is 6-2. Last season Purdue took on the Hilltoppers during the Mortar Board Premiere and lost in five sets. Western Michigan is 4-2. This past weekend they beat Notre Dame in three sets. Purdue will face Notre Dame September 20th in West Lafayette. Currently ND is winless.