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Purdue Volleyball: Big Ten Week 1 Preview

Right off the bat No. 16 Purdue will square off against fellow unbeaten No. 8 Illinois to begin conference play.

Purdue Volleyball vs South Florida 2014

Purdue’s young roster made it through preseason unblemished and now find themselves taking on another unbeaten team for the second week in a row. Friday night at 7:00 P.M. the Boilers will take on Illinois followed by Northwestern Saturday night at 7:00 P.M,; both matches will be available on BTN+. Tickets are already sold out for Fridays match but are still available for Saturday.

Purdue (11-0) had a couple close calls last weekend but came home from their first road trip with three wins. Fortunately for the Boilers, they get to start conference play in the friendly confines of Holloway Gymnasium. However they do have to face one of the five Big Ten teams who are in the AVCA Top 10 right off the bat.

Scoring on out of system points will be key as Purdue faces two tough serving teams. Purdue’s pin hitters will need to make smart swings to extend rallies when necessary. Setter, Hayley Bush, and Purdue’s passers will need to make clean contact on the second ball in these situations and give their hitters something to work with. At times we’ve seen libero, Brooke Peters struggle to put up a good second ball. Bush too has trouble at times especially when feeding Sherridan Atkinson. Atkinson needs a high ball so she can take her approach and get on top of the ball as she can score out of system but she struggles when given a bad set.

Against Illinois blocking will be key; Illinois has outstanding pin hitters that Purdue will have to work hard to slow down at the net. On the other side of the net the Illini are the sixth best blocking team in the country with nearly three blocks per set.

Key Players

class, height, position, # name , stats (statistical rank nationally, in the Big Ten)
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- 10.7 A/S (32, 5), 2.0 D/S

Sr. 5’9 L 3 Brooke Peters- 5.17 D/S (33, 3), 0.43 SA/S (8)

So. 5’6 DS 6 Julianna Reisinger- 0.48 SA/S (39, 5)

Fr. 5’7 DS 10 Marissa Hornung- 2.5 D/S

Sr. 6’5 OH/RS 16 Sherridan Atkinson- 4.19 K/S (39, 4), .291, 0.29 SA/S

Jr. 6’2 M 17 Blake Mohler- 2.4 K/S, .420 (14, 2), 1.26 B/S (11)

So. 5’10 DS 19 Jena Otec- 0.38 SA/S (13)


Illinois’s seasoned squad has already faced four ranked teams in their thus far perfect season; then No. 25 Colorado State, No. 21 Colorado, No. 13 Washington and No. 10 Creighton. The Illini boast numerous top performers on their roster. Setter, Jordyn Poulter runs the show for Illinois, doing it so well she even spent time with the US National team this summer. Another standout for Illinois is Jacqueline Quade who has elevated her play this season posting an incredible combination of kills per set and hitting percentage for a pin hitter with over four kills a set and hitting nearly .350. As a team, the Illini are the sixth best team in the country, first in the Big Ten with a .307 hitting percentage. Illinois has a big advantage over Purdue at the pins which could make this a lopsided match.

Key Players

Sr. 6’2 S 1 Jordyn Poulter- 11.46 A/S (14, 1), .79 B/S, 2.59 D/S, 0.28 SA/S

Fr. 5’8 DS 3 Taylor Kuper- 0.51 SA/S (25, 2)

Sr. 6’3 MB 5 Ali Bastianelli- 2.03 K/S .418 (17, 4), 1.56 B/S (7, 3), 0.26 SA/S

Jr. 6’2 OH 7 Jacqueline Quade*- 4.33 K/S (28, 2), .341, 0.28 SA/S

Jr. 6’3 OH 8 Beth Prince*- 2.54 K/S

Jr. 6’4 MB 12 Ashlyn Fleming- 1.17 B/S (13)

So. 6’4 OH/RS 15 Megan Cooney- 3.31 K/S (13) .309

So. 5’8 L 16 Morgan O’Brien- 4.51 D/S (5), 0.26 SA/S

*Quade and Prince are Indiana natives hailing from Fort Wayne and Avon respectively


Northwestern is 10-2 coming into conference play dropping matches against Princeton and Arkansas. The Wildcats are a particularly young squad this year and similar to Purdue they played a softer schedule as they worked out their lineup. Nia Robinson has stepped up to shoulder the load carried by since graduated All-Big Ten performer Symone Abbott, however she doesn’t have a lot of help around her.

Key Players

Fr. 5’7 DS 1 Michelle Lee- 3.47 D/S (14), 0.28 SA/S

Jr. 5’7 DS 9 Sarah Johnson- 3.58 D/S (13), 0.42 SA/S (10)

So. 6’1 S 11 Britt Bommer- 8.29 A/S (13)

Fr. 6’3 OH/RS 16 Ella Grbac- 2.68 K/S

So. 6’2 OH 18 Nia Robinson*- 4.14 K/S (42, 5), .253

Fr. 6’2 OH 19 Hanna Lesiak- 2.09 K/S, 0.31 SA/S

So. 6’3 MB 20 Alana Walker- 2.16 K/S, .294, 1.14 B/S (14)

*Robinson is one of trio from Indiana; Robinson hails from Indy, teammate Emily Ehman, Bloomington, and Lexi Pitsas, Munster.

Also of note Hayley Bush’s sister, Ashley, is on the Wildcat roster as undergrad assistant after having missed the last two seasons to injury.

AVCA Poll Week 4

  1. BYU (58)
  2. Stanford (6)
  3. Nebraska
  4. Penn State
  5. Texas
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Minnesota
  8. Illinois
  9. Pittsburgh
  10. Creighton

16. Purdue

18. Michigan

RV: Michigan State

Texas slipped from three to five after only picking up one set in their home-and-away losses to Stanford. Otherwise there weren’t any big upsets and major shuffling to the Top 25.

BYU leads the way as one of six remaining undefeated teams. They’re joined by Illinois, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Michigan, and Portland.