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Purdue Volleyball: Wisconsin and Minnesota Preview

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Purdue comes into the toughest stretch of the their schedule on a seven-game win streak; Boilers face #8 Wisconsin and #3 Minnesota this weekend before hosting #6 Nebraska next week.

Purdue Volleyball

No. 12 Purdue (21-4, 10-4) already picked up one road upset this season when they beat Penn State, and they’ll have a chance to pick up two more this weekend as they head north to No 8 Wisconsin and No. 3 Minnesota. Friday at 8:00 on BTN+ they’ll face the Badgers. Saturday at 8:30 is the match with Minnesota which will be available on BTN+.

The Boilers had to go extra sets last week as they picked up home wins over Michigan State and IU. Against the Spartans Purdue spotted MSU early leads in each of the four sets then had to come back. Purdue outhit MSU .268-.139 as Sherridan Atkinson led the way with 18 kills hitting .417. Caitlyn Newton tallied 14 kills hitting .300. The IU match went back and forth as Purdue won in five sets. Atkinson again led with 23 kills, hitting .304. Blake Mohler hit .357 as she posted 14 kills and seven blocks. Caitlyn Newton had 15 kills and Grace Cleveland posted seven blocks.

We’ll see what Purdue is made of this weekend. The win over Penn State was no fluke but it was certainly owed in large part to Sherridan Atkinson and the change at libero. Brooke Peters is back in the libero jersey and it’s a tall order to expect Atkinson to have another 30+ kill, over .500 hitting performance against either Wisconsin or Minnesota. The supporting cast will have to step up and passing will be key. Both of these matches could come down to the play of outside hitter Grace Cleveland. She’s a tremendous blocker which will help Purdue defend against Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke on the slide attack and Minnesota’s opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy. Offensively though she needs to up her game. She’s hitting .161 in conference play and has hit below .150 in each of the last four matches. She has to eliminate some of the errors this weekend. Minnesota doesn’t give away many points nor do they have trouble scoring points of their own. Against the Badgers Purdue actually has an advantage on the left pin and they need to capitalize on it.

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- 11.23 A/S (4)

Sr. 5’9 DS 3 Brooke Peters- 4.13 D/S (9), 0.27 SA/S

So. 6’1 OH 4 Caitlyn Newton- 2.84 K/S, .274

Fr. 5’7 DS 10 Marissa Hornung- 2.52 D/S, 0.27 SA/S

Sr. 6’5 OH/RS 16 Sherridan Atkinson- 3.95 K/S (5), .301 (11), 0.32 SA/S (6)

Jr. 6’2 M 17 Blake Mohler- 2.39 K/S, .321 (8), 1.07 B/S (9)

Fr. 6’3 MB/OH 20 Grace Cleveland- 2.55 K/S, 0.93 B/S

Wisconsin

Dana Rettke is doing all she can to get wins for her team but sometimes even career-best efforts haven’t been enough. Last week against Minnesota her 30 kill, .560 hitting effort was not enough to get past the Gophers. Wisconsin (16-6, 9-5) hasn’t found any consistency on the left pin this season as Grace Loberg and Molly Haggerty have both hit sub .200 in conference play. In the first matchup, this season Madison Duello was able to pick up the slack for the Badgers. If Purdue can’t keep her in check we could see exactly what we saw in September, a sweep.

Key Players

So. 6’0 S 2 Sidney Hilley*- 11.92 A/S (2), 0.31 SA/S (8)

Sr. 6’2 MB 11 Tionna Williams- .317 (9), 0.9 B/S

Jr. 6’3 RS 14 Madison Duello- 2.81 B/S, .272

So. 6’8 MB 16 Dana Rettke- 4.25 K/S (3), .463 (1), 1.42 B/S (2)

Jr. 5’11 L 17 Tiffany Clark- 4.88 D/S (3)

So. 6’3 OH 21 Grace Loberg- 2.47 K/S, 2.43 D/S

So. 6’1 OH 23 Molly Haggerty- 2.42 D/S, 0.35 SA/S (4)

Minnesota

Last weekend the Gophers (20-2, 14-0) were forced to play their first five-set match of the season against Michigan State; Sparty has had the Gophers number over the last few seasons. This season the only other conference teams to take a set off the Gophers this season has been Nebraska and Wisconsin. Against the Spartans, Minnesota was unusually high error as they struggled with ball control and were blocked 13 times. Otherwise, Minnesota has been unflappable frustrating one team after another with their offensive balance and defense. The Gophers lead the conference with 15.57 kills per set, .300 hitting, and 17.62 digs per set. They’re also the second best passing team surrendering only 0.87 aces per set. It’ll take likely their best match of the season for the Boilers to score the upset. The match is also the regular season home finale for the Gophers.

Key Players

So. 5’6 DS 2 Lauren Barnes- 3.04 D/S, 0.32 SA/S (7)

Fr. 5’9 L 7 CC McGraw- 4.36 D/S (6)

So. 6’2 RS 10 Stephanie Samedy- 3.4 K/S (9), .295 (13), 3.04 D/S

Jr. 6’0 MB 12 Taylor Morgan- 2.77 K/S, .386 (4), 1.04 B/S (10)

Sr. 5’11 S 13 Samantha Seliger-Swenson- 12.36 A/S (1), 2.64 D/S, 0.38 SA/S (2)

Jr. 6’0 OH 19 Alexis Hart- 3.21 K/S (13), .270 (12)

Fr. 6’0 OH 20 Adanna Rollins- 3.09 K/S (15), 2.81 D/S

So. 6’5 MB 21 Regan Pittman- 2.34 K/S, .384 (5), 1.17 B/S (6)

Big Ten Standings

AVCA Rankings

  1. BYU (52)
  2. Stanford (12)
  3. Minnesota
  4. Illinois
  5. Texas
  6. Nebraska
  7. Penn State
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Creighton
  10. Pittsburgh

12. Purdue

15. Michigan

RPI Rankings

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

7. Wisconsin

12. Purdue

13. Michigan

14. Nebraska

17. Penn State

56. Northwestern

57. Indiana

65. Maryland

71. Ohio State

73. Iowa

79. Michigan State

210. Rutgers

NCAA Committee Rankings

  1. BYU
  2. Stanford
  3. Minnesota
  4. Illinois
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Texas
  7. USC
  8. Penn State
  9. Nebraska
  10. Creighton