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Purdue Volleyball: Week 8 Preview

Purdue has gone 3-1 since we last checked in on them. The Boilers have a tough test Wednesday as the face the Huskers in Lincoln.

Purdue Volleyball vs South Florida 2014

We’re now three weeks into conference play and the Boilers (11-4, 3-3) have a .500 record in league play; all three losses have come against ranked teams. After dropping their first conference matches on the road to Wisconsin and Minnesota. They played at home the next weekend beating Northwestern and falling to then-No.18 Illinois. The following Wednesday they got their first win in the new Wilkinson Hall in Bloomington as the Boilers beat IU in five sets. Purdue followed it up with their second sweep over Northwestern.

Wednesday night Purdue faces No. 5 Nebraska in Lincoln at 9:00 ET on ESPNU. Saturday the Boilers travel to Columbus to face the Buckeyes at 7:00 ET on BTN+.

Northwestern 10/4 Recap

Purdue swept the Wildcats 25-18, 25-23, 25-21 as they outhit Northwestern .274-.214. Purdue also outdid them in blocks and aces 6-3 and 7-1 respectively. Purdue weathered a 21-kill effort from Northwestern’s phenom freshman Temi Thomas-Ailara.

Purdue finished the first set strong on a 6-1 run as they hit .379. Northwestern came back in the second set tying it at 22-all and even saving one set point before Purdue closed it out. Purdue came from behind in the final set. A 5-1 run helped them pull ahead 19-17.

Grace Cleveland led a balanced Purdue offense with 10 kills, three blocks, and three aces. Hayley Bush put up 29 assists. Jena Otec pulled up 11 digs.

Illinois Recap

Purdue suffered it’s first home loss of the season as they fell in four to Illinois; 30-28, 17-25, 14-25, 21-25. The Boilers couldn’t pass and they couldn’t hit as they surrendered eight aces and only hit .141 compared to the Illini’s .234 effort; Illinois outdid Purdue in every major stat.

Purdue clinched the opening set on their fifth chance after having even saved one Illinois set point. The Purdue offense came undone in the second set as they posted eight errors, .032 hitting. The third set wasn’t any better as Purdue struggled in all phases. Set four went back-and-forth for a stretch but the Illini eventually pulled away with a 6-2 run to go up 23-20.

Grace Cleveland led the Boilers with 14 kills. Hayley Bush finished with 40 assists. Shavona Cuttino was the leading blocker with six. Jena Otec had Purdue’s two aces and posted 18 digs.

Indiana Recap

It wasn’t pretty as they were down a starter, Caitlyn Newton, but Purdue showed enough grit to get the road win over the rival Hoosiers; 26-24, 16-25, 25-18, 24-26, 15-13. Indiana actually scored more points, 84.5-78, and had more blocks and aces but Purdue prevailed as they led in kills and digs.

Set one was tied 22-all but Purdue came up big late getting a block and three kills to take the opening set. The IU offense erupted and Purdue struggled to slow them down as the Hoosiers hit .417. Purdue dominated the back-half of the third set as they outscored IU 12-4. The end of set four was ugly as the teams combined for seven errors over the last 10 points. Four were committed by the Boilers, three were service errors as they handed the set to IU. Playing in her first match against IU, freshman Emma Ellis was clutch late scoring the last three points for Purdue as they came from behind, 12-11.

Grace Cleveland posted 23 kills and four blocks. Hayley Bush finished with 56 assists and 17 digs. Jena Otec had a match-high 24 digs.

Northwestern 10/12 Recap

Even with Newton still out Purdue was able to sweep the Wildcats; 25-22, 25-19, 25-18. Purdue did a better job defending against Temi Thomas-Ailara although she did post 15 kills, but hit only .156.

A 6-0 run by the Boilers put them in front 23-19 as they pulled away late in the opening set win. Like set one, Purdue went a run late in set two, 7-0 to go up 23-16, then surrendered a few points before closing the set out. A run mid-way through set three was the difference as Purdue broke a 11-all tie with a four-point burst.

Cleveland again led Purdue with 15 kills and four blocks. Bush recorded 28 assists. Otec led with three aces and 14 digs.

Week Preview

Whether Caitlyn Newton is back or not Purdue has to step it up and be more consistent in every phase. Grace Cleveland has been the go-to scorer, but she struggles to even hit over .200 which lessens her positive impact. Errors at the end of sets continue to plague Purdue and a team like Nebraska will gladly take advantage as well Ohio State who is looking to pull off the upset.

Key Players

class, height, position, # name, stats
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. 5’10 S 2 Hayley Bush- 10.67 A/S, 2.0 D/S

Jr. 6’1 OH 4 Caitlyn Newton- 3.58 K/S, .227, 0.25 SA/S

Sr. 6’2 MB 9 Shavona Cuttino- .318, 1.23 B/S

So. 5’7 DS 10 Marissa Hornung- 2.85 D/S

Fr. 6’2 OH 12 Emma Ellis- 2.0 K/S, .227

Sr. 6’2 M 17 Blake Mohler- 2.18 K/S, .333, 1.44 B/S

Jr. 5’10 DS 19 Jena Otec- 4.58 D/S, 0.46 SA/S

So. 6’3 OH 20 Grace Cleveland- 3.44 K/S, .246, 1.04 B/S


So far this season Nebraska (13-2, 5-1) has only lost to Stanford and a surging Wisconsin squad, albeit it was a shock that they were swept at home by the Badgers. Nebraska is a tough defensive team but they don’t have the serving edge like they have in previous years. If Purdue can stay in system and force out of system swings in transition they’ll have a chance.

Key Players

So. 5’10 S 1 Nicklin Hames- 10.65 A/S, 2.97 D/S

Fr. 5’8 L 2 Kenzie Knuckles*- 3.9 D/S

So. 5’6 DS 3 Megan Miller*- 2.02 D/S

Fr. 6’3 OH 10 Madi Kubik- 2.19 K/S, 2.56 D/S

Jr. 6’2 OH 11 Lexi Sun- 3.59 K/S, .299 2.26 D/S

Jr. 6’3 RS 12 Jazz Sweet- 2.77 K/S, .275

So. 6’5 MB 25 Callie Schwarzenbach- 1.14 B/S

Jr. 6’4 MB 26 Lauren Stivrins- 2.49 K/S, .404, 1.11 B/S

*Knuckles and Miller are both Indiana natives, Yorktown and Alexandria respectively.

Ohio State

The Buckeyes (9-9, 2-4) are one win away from matching last year’s conference win mark. A talented freshman class has helped buoy the Buckeyes. Most impactful may be libero Kylie Murr from Yorktown. Murr has stabilized their passing and leads the defense with over 5 digs per set. For the Boilers, it will be important that they play their game and don’t sink to the level of Ohio State.

Key Players

Jr. 5’9 S 1 Becca Mauer- 7.7 A/S

Fr. 5’6 L 6 Kylie Murr*- 5.11 D/S

Jr. 5’6 DS 7 Hannah Gruensfelder-

Fr. 6’3 OH 8 Gabby Gonzalez- 2.69 K/S

Fr. 6’2 S 10 Mac Podraza- 7.5 A/S

So. 6’6 RS 13 Vanja Bukilic- 2.5 K/S

So. 6’2 OH 16 Adria Powell- 2.31 K/S

Fr. 6’0 OH 18 Jenaisya Moore- 3.56 K/S, .268

Sr. 6’0 MB 19 Elle Sandbothe- 2.02 K/S, 0.81 B/S

*Murr was a standout at Yorktown and teammate Madison Smeathers also was an Indiana prep star at Center Grove.

Big Ten Standings

Standings Conf. Pct. Overall Pct. Streak Most recent Big Ten Games
Standings Conf. Pct. Overall Pct. Streak Most recent Big Ten Games
Wisconsin 6-0 1.000 10-4 0.714 W6 W 3-0 vs MN, W 3-0 @ NW
Nebraska 5-1 0.833 13-2 0.867 W2 W 3-0 MICH, W 3-1 MSU
Penn State 5-1 0.833 12-3 0.800 W3 W 3-0 vs OSU, W 3-2 MARY
Minnesota 5-1 0.833 11-3 0.786 L1 L 0-3 @ WIS, W 3-1 @ ILL
Michigan 5-1 0.833 12-4 0.750 L1 L 0-3 @ NEB, W 3-1 @ IOWA
Illinois 4-2 0.667 9-6 0.600 W1 W 3-0 vs IU, L 1-3 vs MN
Michigan State 3-3 0.500 12-4 0.750 W1 W 3-2 @ IOWA, L 1-3 @ NEB
Purdue 3-3 0.500 11-4 0.733 W2 W 3-0 @ NW, W 3-2 @ IU
Maryland 2-4 0.333 10-8 0.556 W1 W 3-1 @ RUT, L 2-3 @ PSU
Ohio State 2-4 0.333 9-9 0.500 L1 L 0-3 @ PSU, W 3-0 @ RUT
Indiana 1-5 0.167 12-7 0.632 L2 L 0-3 @ ILL, L 2-3 vs PUR
Iowa 1-5 0.167 7-10 0.412 L5 L 2-3 vs MSU, L 1-3 vs MICH
Northwestern 0-6 0.000 9-9 0.500 L6 L 0-3 vs PUR, L 0-3 vs WIS
Rutgers 0-6 0.000 6-11 0.353 L8 L 1-3 vs MARY, L 0-3 vs OSU
Current standings as of 10-15-19

AVCA Week 7 Poll

  1. Baylor (61)
  2. Stanford (2)
  3. Pittsburgh (1)
  4. Texas
  5. Nebraska
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Minnesota
  8. Penn State
  9. BYU
  10. Washington

(first-place votes)

Ranked Big Ten Teams: #5 Nebraska, #6 Wisconsin, #7 Minnesota, #8 Penn State, #17 Illinois, #20 Purdue, RV Michigan


Top 15

  1. Baylor
  2. Stanford
  3. Wisconsin
  4. Nebraska
  5. Texas
  6. Washington
  7. Pittsburgh
  8. Kentucky
  9. Hawaii
  10. Creighton
  11. Louisville
  12. Minnesota
  13. Colorado State
  14. Marquette
  15. Rice

Purdue is ranked 23rd, 2-4 vs the Top 25, 2-4 vs Top 50, 5-4 vs Top 100, 6-0 vs 100+