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Purdue Volleyball Preview: Michigan State and Indiana

The Boilers are on a win streak and will look to extend it at home this week as they take on Michigan State and Indiana.

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Fresh off a huge road upset over Penn State, Purdue will be back in the friendly confines of Holloway Gymnasium this week. Wednesday evening they’ll face Michigan State at 7:00 on BTN. Saturday the Hoosiers come to town for a match at 8:00 which will be on BTN+.

Judging by the last three sets of the Penn State match and how successful Purdue was, we’ll likely see Marissa Hornung back in the libero jersey and Jena Otec and Julianna Reisinger will be double subs for the outside hitters. When Otec is in, her and Hornung are the only passers in serve receive. In the last three sets against Penn State they were only aced once. They both also got a lot of great touches defensively keeping a lot of balls in play for Purdue. A late-season demotion like this has to sting for senior Brooke Peters but Purdue has to keep moving forward.

Key Players

class, height, position, # name, stats (statistical rank in the Big Ten) **stats from conference play only**
Positions: MB- middle blocker, OH- outside hitter, RS- right side hitter, DS- defensive specialist, L- libero, S- setter
Stats: K/S- kills/set, B/S- blocks/set, D/S- digs/set. .000- hitting percentage, A/S- assists/set SA/S- service aces/set

Rs Fr. 5’10 S 2 Hayley Bush- 11.11 A/S (4)

Sr. 5’9 DS 3 Brooke Peters- 4.13 D/S (9), 0.3 SA/S (10)

So. 6’1 OH 4 Caitlyn Newton- 2.77 K/S, .270

Fr. 5’7 DS 10 Marissa Hornung- 2.55 D/S, 0.28 SA/S (15)

Sr. 6’5 OH/RS 16 Sherridan Atkinson- 3.83 K/S (6), .292 (14), 0.3 SA/S (10)

Jr. 6’2 M 17 Blake Mohler- 2.38 K/S, .312 (11), 1.02 B/S (9)

So. 5’10 DS 19 Jena Otec- 2.3 D/S

Fr. 6’3 MB/OH 20 Grace Cleveland- 2.57 K/S, 0.96 B/S (14)

Michigan State

The Spartans (15-10, 3-9) come into Wednesday’s match on a five game losing streak, all of which have been sweeps. Michigan State doesn’t do a lot well which can be attributed in part to their serve-pass game. They’re last in the conference averaging only 0.79 service aces a set and give up nearly twice as many, 1.51. They’re also pretty high error hitting only .173 as a team. They block well, 2.45 per set, but still have in a deficit in the blocks category as their opposition averages 2.59 per set.

Key Players

So. 5’6 L 4 Jayme Cox- 3.42 D/S (13)

Sr. 6’2 OH 9 Maddie Haggerty- 2.54 K/S

So. 6’2 OH 11 Alyssa Chronowski*- 3.49 K/S (10)

Fr. 6’1 S 12 Elena Shklyar- 8.07 A/S (13)

Fr. 6’3 MB 17 Naya Gros- 1.07 B/S (8)

Fr. 6’2 MB 21 Rebecka Poljan- 0.86 B/S (15)

*Chronowski hails from Munster, IN

Indiana

The IU Volleyball program is turning a corner. They have a new coach and shortly a new facility. The product on the court has improved however they were dealt a blow when junior Kendall Beerman went down with a knee injury towards the beginning of Big Ten play. The Hoosiers (14-9, 5-7) have gone five sets against Illinois and Michigan without Beerman, but they haven’t been able to beat anyone in the top half of the conference even losing to Michigan State in five sets and Maryland in straight sets. The match with Maryland in Bloomington was the lone matchup between new coach Steve Aird and his former team. Purdue can’t overlook this Hoosier team. They ball handle well and if they get hot on offense they could cause some trouble. Last season Aird’s Maryland squad upset Purdue in five sets on the road.

Key Players

Jr. 6’0 S 1 Victoria Brisack- 5.6 A/S (14)

Jr. 6’1 MB 2 Hayden Huybers- .352 (7), 0.86 B/S

So. 5’7 L 4 Bayli Lebo- 4.09 D/S (10)

Fr. 6’2 OH 11 Breana Edwards- 2.53 K/S

Jr. 6’2 MB 16 Deyshia Lofton- 2.36 K/S, .314 (9) , 1.0 B/S (10)

Fr. 5’10 S 18 Abigail Westenhofer- 4.27 A/S (15)

So. 6’0 OH 22 Kamryn Malloy- 2.03 K/S, 2.12 D/S

Big Ten Honors

After leading Purdue to the upset over then No. 4 Penn State Atkinson was recognized by the conference as the Big Ten Player of the week for the second time this season.

Sports Imports/AVCA Player of The Week

Atkinson was also recognized as the National Player of the Week by the AVCA. She’s the first Boiler to earn the honor since Ariel Turner six years ago.

Atkinson is so deserving of all the praise and accolades. Since arriving at Purdue with only four kills she’s put in the work, transforming body and elevating her game to become an All-American. She will leave Purdue as a member of the 1,000 kill club but she could also make the Top 10 for kills in a season. As it is she is just the second Boiler to make the 1,000 kill club after only playing three seasons in the Old Gold and Black. Should she maintain her four kills per set pace (her season average) and the Boilers average playing four sets over ten matches, eight conference and two NCAA Tournament--- hopefully, more than just two--- she’d tie Linda Reichl and Annie Drews for ninth on the season kills top 10 list with 518. This also would move her into 17th on the career kills list.

Big Ten Standings

The Big Ten isn’t the only major conference with an undefeated front-runner. Stanford is perfect in the Pac-12 as is Kentucky in the SEC. BYU, of course, is still perfect overall and has only dropped one set in the West Coast Conference.

AVCA Rankings

  1. BYU (52)
  2. Stanford (12)
  3. Minnesota
  4. Illinois
  5. Wisconsin

7. Penn State

8. Nebraska

13. Purdue

14. Michigan

Penn State was not the only team to be upset this past week. Even though Illinois was ranked higher coming into their match with Nebraska it was in some ways an upset as they beat the Huskers in four sets in Lincoln. Pitt who was previously unbeaten lost on the road to Duke dropping them from No. 5 to 10. Hawaii scored a big upset snapping Cal Poly’s 26 match conference win streak when they won in five sets.

RPI Rankings

  1. Stanford
  2. Illinois
  3. BYU
  4. Minnesota
  5. Texas
  6. Wisconsin

12. Purdue

13. Michigan

14. Nebraska

16. Penn State

49. Northwestern

57. Ohio State

64. Iowa

71. Maryland

72. Indiana

79. Michigan State

198. Rutgers