Purdue was on fire offensively and ETSU gave them plenty of help with costly errors as Purdue swept the Buccaneers; 25-23, 25-7, 25-18. The Boilers hit .409 to ETSU’s .125 effort; the Bucs had 21 hitting errors and four blocking errors on the night.
ETSU was sharper to start the match as they turned a 7-5 deficit into an 11-8 lead after three consecutive blocks. The team split the next four points then Purdue strung together a 10-2 run to go up 20-15. ETSU, with the help of three Purdue errors, tied the set at 20-all. Purdue cleaned it up. A Buccaneer error put Purdue in front then they dialed in the passing getting kills from Grace Cleveland, Blake Mohler, and two from Sherridan Atkinson to the close it out.
Purdue was unstoppable in set two. The Boilers hit .700, tallied four blocks, and sided out on each ETSU serve in the set. Purdue was perfect on their first seven attempts and didn’t have a hitting error til they were up 23-7. Purdue ran out to a 7-0 lead three blocks, one kill from Caitlyn Newton and three from Grace Cleveland, and just kept rolling.
Seth three started a lot like set two. Purdue went up 9-2 as everyone was contributing. Jael Johnson, Mohler, Atkinson, and Hornung all scored for the Boilers. ETSU answered with a 7-2 run as they were able to force Purdue out of system and into some errors. Purdue stopped the bleeding with a Caitlyn Newton tip kill down the line. Up 14-11 a four-point run gave the Boilers more breathing room. From there it was business as usual for Purdue as their passing held up down the stretch.
Sherridan Atkinson got off to a slow start in set one but finished the night with 12 kills, .321 hitting, seven digs, and four blocks. Grace Cleveland had a great night offensively converting 10 of her 22 attempts for kills with no errors (.455). Caitlyn Newton posted nine kills hitting .467. Jael Johnson hit .625 with six kills to go with five blocks. Blake Mohler had a modest six kills but this one was emphatic.
Hayley Bush set a great game putting up 34 assists. Marissa Hornung led Purdue with 16 digs and racked up six assists.
Kentucky swept Murray State in the second match Friday night 25-18, 25-17, 25-19, setting up the showdown with the Boilers for a spot in the Sweet 16. The match Saturday night will be at 7:00 ET.
Last season Kentucky (25-4, 18-) earned a top-four seed and lost to eventual National Champion Nebraska in the regional final on their home floor. Expectations were high for the Wildcats this season as they came in at No. 5 in the preseason rankings. They opened the season with three consecutive losses and since flew relatively under the radar as they went undefeated in the SEC. Kentucky was 8th in the final RPI and went 3-4 against the RPI Top 25 and 8-0 against 26-50. This is the Cats 14th consecutive tournament appearance and 19th overall. Kentucky has the edge in the all-time series with Purdue 10-9 as they won a five-setter in 2016 between the teams. Purdue also scrimmaged Kentucky this past spring.
Kentucky is similar to some of the teams Purdue has faced this season. The Wildcats rival Minnesota in offensive efficiency but are built more like Nebraska or Michigan who are led by their outside hitters. Kentucky has two talented pin hitters in Leah Edmond and Alli Stumler who can score in a variety of ways from anywhere on the floor. Purdue will have to keep one of them in check if they’re going to have a chance. Sherridan Atkinson will be key in this as she’ll matchup against one blocking. Purdue though can’t ignore middle blocker Brooke Morgan who converts at a high rate. Besides containing the Kentucky offense the Boilers will have their work cut out for them as the Wildcats serve and pass exceptionally well.
class, height, position, # name, stats (statistical rank nationally)
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
So. 5’11 S 3 Madison Lilley- 11.21 A/S (20), 2.47 D/S, 0.33 SA/S
So. 6’3 MB 6 Kendyl Paris- 0.87 B/S
Jr. 5’11 RS 10 Caitlyn Cooper- 2.13 K/S, .337
So. 5’8 L 12 Gabby Curry- 4.35 D/S
Jr. 6’2 OH 13 Leah Edmond- 4.61 K/S (14), .297
Sr. 6’5 MB 15 Brooke Morgan- 2.28 K/S, .399 (13), 1.03 B/S
Fr. 6’1 OH 17 Alli Stumler- 2.37 K/S, .234, 2.18 D/S, 0.28 SA/S
Kentucky Team Stats
|Kentucky||14.37 (10)||.305 (3)||13.11 (25)||1.49||14.52||2.13|
There’s one Indiana native on the Wildcat roster; Stumler hails Floyds Knobs. The ties between the teams run even deeper though. Head Coach Craig Skinner is from Muncie and played for Dr. Don Shondell at Ball State while also coaching for the Munciana club. Skinner’s assistant Anders Nelson followed the same path, playing at Ball State and coaching Munciana and Muncie Burris with Steve Shondell. Lastly, Kentucky Assistant Carly Cramer is Boilermaker having played from 2009-2013.