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Purdue Volleyball Upsets #5 Nebraska

It took five sets, but Purdue was able to take down No. 5 Nebraska Saturday night.


After dropping a back-breaking first set, the No. 20 Boilers (14-5, 6-4) rebounded to take sets two and three and then dominated in set five as they clinched the win over the visiting No. 5 Huskers (16-3, 8-2); 23-25, 25-23, 25-17, 20-25, 15-8. Purdue gave Nebraska some of their own medicine as they served tough and were strong along the net racking up 11 aces and 16 blocks.

Purdue had it going from the start in the final set. A kill from Caitlyn Newton and a Husker hitting error put the Boilers up 2-1 and sent Moe Hornung back to the service line. Moe dropped in two aces and forced the Huskers out of system and into three more errors including one block from Blake Mohler, Grace Cleveland, and Newton as Purdue went up 7-1.

Nebraska cut the margin to three two times but never closer. Jena Otec dropped in one more ace for good measure and Purdue clinched it wth a block from Shavona Cuttino and Cleveland.

A successful Husker challenge turned the first set around after Purdue had gone up 17-8 and appeared to be in control. Purdue looked good out of the gate, getting a couple aces and blocks as they took advantage of a slew Nebraska errors. Over a 5-0 run which put Purdue up 17-8, the Boilers got three consecutive blocks.

Purdue was cruising when Madi Kubik’s swing was called out and put the Boilers up 22-12. Husker coach, John Cook though challenged the call and it was overturned as the Purdue block did get a touch on the ball. Kubik then went back to the service line and ran off seven points to cut Purdue’s lead to one, 21-20. Purdue got to 23-21 but would never score again as the Huskers finished the set on a 4-0 run.

Set two nearly played out the same as set one; Purdue led for most of the set then saw it slip away. This time Purdue was resilient and prevailed. A 10-1 run spotted Purdue an 11-5 lead as they got three blocks and an ace in the early going. Nebraska steadily chipped away at the Purdue lead and a late 5-0 run gave the Huskers back the lead, 23-22.

Purdue finally sided out on a kill from Cleveland. The next point was a long, wild rally that saw a pancake dig and lost shoe. Early in the point Nebraska’s Lexi Sun tripped herself and lost a shoe, as the point went on Hayley Bush laid out to cover a Purdue hit. It finally ended after Caitlyn Newton tooled Sun on the block. Nebraska challenged the point that the ball was down when Bush dove in for the pancake but the call stood. Cleveland capped the set off on the ensuing point.

Purdue led wire-to-wire in set three as the offense was firing on all cylinders as they hit .419. There were no big runs for Purdue but they were able to string together mini-runs and get in a good sideout rhythm. Strong serving and a well-orchestrated offense ran by Bush helped Purdue cruise to the 25-17 win.

Nebraska took the early lead in set four as Purdue had to play from behind. The Husker offense was just a little crisper in the fourth set as they edged the Boilers .381-.294 in hitting percentage as they did a better job hitting around and using the Purdue block. Purdue closed a five-point deficit to one, but were never able to tie it up as Nebraska forced a deciding fifth set.

Caitlyn Newton led Purdue with 17 kills to go with three aces, five blocks, and seven digs. Grace Cleveland posted 13 kills and racked up a match-high four aces, and six blocks and five digs. Blake Mohler hit .556 to lead all hitters putting away 11 kills, just missing on a double-double with nine blocks. Freshman Emma Ellis was solid hitting .300 recording nine kills. Shavona Cuttino posted six blocks. Hayley Bush finished with 48 assists. Moe Hornung got plenty of good touches to help Purdue in transition as she finished with a match-high 25 digs to go with two aces. Jena Otec also had two aces for Purdue.

Purdue out did Nebraska in hitting, service aces, and blocking; .250-.210, 11-7, and 16-5 respectively.

UPDATED 9:35 10/27

Iowa Recap

Friday night the Purdue offense got better and better each set after dropping the first set; 20-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-15. Grace Cleveland was incredible setting a Purdue four-set record hitting .680 on over 20 attempts, 18-1-25.

Iowa was a little sharper to start the match as they hit .316 to Purdue’s .243. Grace Cleveland came out on fire getting six kills, including Purdue’s first four points of the match, but the Boilers didn’t hang on to the lead very long. As Iowa went up 7-6 and later 15-10. Purdue responded with four in a row but never was able to tie or get any closer from then on.

Neither team was able to grab the momentum early in set two. Down 12-10 Purdue went on a 6-1 run which put them in front for good. The Boilers finished the set on a 5-1 run fueld by Shavona Cuttino who racked up two kills and two blocks. As a team Purdue hit .371.

Purdue kept it rolling in set three hitting .400 and racing to an 8-2 lead as they got two blocks, two kills from Caitlyn Newton and ace from Moe Hornung. It was never in doubt as Purdue was able to sideout with regularity.

Purdue saved their best for last as they hit .556, 18-3-27, and posted four blocks in set four. Cleveland spotted Purdue to a 4-0 lead with two kills and a block with Cuttino. Iowa was able to answer back and tie it at 4-all. From then on Purdue sidedout on all but one Hawkeye serve as they cruised to the win. Iowa had no answer for the explosive Purdue offense and could not defend against it.

Overshadowed by Cleveland’s gaudy numbers Caitlyn Newton also had an impressive night posting a double-double 17 kills and 11 digs while hitting .333 and posting four blocks. Shavona Cuttino just missed on a double-double racking up 10 kills and nine blocks while hitting .368. Hayley Bush finished with 51 assists. Moe Hornung had 18 digs and two aces as did Jena Otec.

Purdue outhit and out-blocked Iowa .379-.192 and 11-4 respectively.

Ohio State Recap

Last weekend Purdue and the Buckeyes traded sets in a closely contested five-set match which saw the Boilers on the right end of the alternating wins and losses.; 25-17, 23-25, 26-24, 22-25, 15-13. The Boilers hit a shade under .200 but were able to generate more points offensively and with their block as they won the back and forth battle with the upstart Buckeyes.

After nearly taking the fourth set Purdue took the early lead in set five, 5-3. The two teams then traded sideouts over the next 10 points. Ohio State then strung together a 4-1 run to go in front 12-11. Not to be outdone the Boilers got 4-1 run of their own, a block and three kills as they took the set and the match.

Purdue went up 4-0 in set one and never looked back, steadily building their lead as the set continued. Inset two Purdue ran out of gas late as the Buckeyes stole the set away. The Buckeyes had chipped away at the lead and finished the set on a 4-1 run as they were able to terminate rallies. Looking to get the set advantage Purdue repaid the favor from OSU taking the lead and set late. A 5-1 run which included two Buckeye service errors and two Boiler blocks swung the set to Purdue, 26-24 after being denied on their first set point. A 7-0 Buckeye run was the difference in set four as three-point Boiler lead became a three-point deficit, 21-18. Desperate to force a fifth set OSU never relented despite missing on their first set point.

Four Boilers got into double-figure kills led by Caitlyn Newton with 19 who also tacked on two aces. Blake Mohler got 15 kills to go with eight blocks, Shavona Cuttino put away 11 kills on .429 hitting while also posting seven stuff blocks, and freshman Emma Ellis also recorded 11 kills. Hayley Bush put 55 assists. Grace Cleveland had another rough night offensively, 6-5-21, but did her part defensively racking up eight blocks. Getting the start at libero Moe Hornung posted a match-high 24 digs.

Nebraska 10/16 Recap

Purdue struggled to generate offense and made lineup changes to pass and defend better but it was enough as they fell in four sets; 25-21, 25-16, 23-25, 25-15. The Boilers game-planned to slow down Lauren Stivrins and it back-fired as freshman Madi Kubik torched Purdue with a season-high with 22 kills.

The Huskers got in a sideout rhythm right away in set one and that was the difference as they went up 10-5. Stivrins got three kills and a block over the first 15 points which re-focused the Purdue blockers on her. Purdue middle blockers shaded to right pin to slow down Stivrins on the slide attack which Nebraska setter Nicklin Hames was good about giving it to Kubik on the left pin as she racked up seven kills as the Huskers exploited one-on-one blocking matchups. For the Boilers their offense was anemic hitting only .059.

Three Purdue errors spotted Nebraska a 5-2 lead in set two. Purdue struggled to side out all set long and couldn’t go on any service runs of their own. Purdue was within two, 14-12 when Nebraska effectively shut the door with a 5-0 run.

When Purdue came out from set break Jena Otec and Moe Hornung had switched libero jerseys. It didn’t yield immediate results as the Huskers went up 10-5 early but Purdue eventually settled in. A 6-1 Purdue run tied the score and later they took the lead on a quick 3-0 run. Nebraska kept hanging around and even saved three set points but the Boilers eventually finished it off.

Nebraska blew set four open with a 6-0 run as they scored 14 of the final 19 points. There was nothing Purdue could do that slowed down the Huskers as they hit over .500 in the final frame.

Caitlyn Newton led Purdue with 17 kills. Hayley Bush finished with 35 assists. Shavona Cuttino was Purdue’s lead blocker with six. Moe Hornung recorded 14 digs.

Grace Cleveland who is one of Purdue’s go-to hitters had her worst match of the season with a 4-5-33 line, -.030 hitting percentage.

Purdue as a team was outhit .284-.099.

Big Ten Standings

Standings Conf. Pct. Overall Pct. Streak Most recent Big Ten Games Up Next
Standings Conf. Pct. Overall Pct. Streak Most recent Big Ten Games Up Next
Wisconsin 10-0 1.000 14-4 0.778 W10 W 3-1 @ MICH, W 3-0 @ MSU vs MARY, @ IU
Penn State 9-1 0.900 16-3 0.842 W7 W 3-0 @ MARY, W 3-2 vs ILL @ IOWA, @ NEB
Minnesota 9-1 0.900 15-3 0.833 W4 W 3-1 @ MSU, W 3-2 vs MICH vs OSU, @ PUR
Nebraska 8-2 0.800 16-3 0.842 L1 L 2-3 @ PUR, W 3-1 @ IU vs RUT, vs PSU
Purdue 6-4 0.600 14-5 0.737 W3 W 3-2 vs NEB, W 3-1 vs IOWA vs IU, vs MN
Michigan 6-4 0.600 13-7 0.650 L2 L 1-3 vs WIS, L 2-3 vs MN @ ILL, @ NW
Illinois 5-5 0.500 10-9 0.526 W1 W 3-0 vs OSU, L 2-3 @ PSU vs MICH, vs MSU
Michigan State 4-6 0.400 13-7 0.650 L3 L 1-3 vs MN, L 0-3 vs WIS @ NW, @ ILL
Maryland 4-6 0.400 12-10 0.545 L1 L 0-3 vs PSU, W 3-2 @ NW @ WIS, @ OSU
Ohio State 4-6 0.400 11-11 0.500 L1 L 0-3 @ ILL, W 3-1 vs RUT @ MN, vs MARY
Iowa 3-7 0.300 9-12 0.429 W1 W 3-2 @ IU, L 1-3 @ PUR vs PSU, vs RUT
Indiana 1-9 0.100 12-11 0.522 L6 L 2-3 vs IOWA, L 1-3 vs NEB @ PUR, vs WIS
Rutgers 1-9 0.100 7-14 0.333 W1 W 3-2 vs NW, L 1-3 @ OSU @ NEB, @ IOWA
Northwestern 0-10 0.000 9-13 0.409 L10 L 2-3 @ RUT, L 2-3 vs MARY vs MSU, vs MICH
Current Big Ten Standings as of 10-27-19