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Purdue Volleyball: Regular Season Finale Preview

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The regular season is winding down and Purdue is well-positioned to make the NCAA Tournament, but they will most likely be hitting the road for the opening rounds.

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No. 16 Purdue (21-7, 13-6) has gone 7-2 over the last month of the season missing on their upset chances against then-No. 6 Minnesota and No. 8 Penn State. The Boilers though did take care of business otherwise, even getting the season sweep over No. 22 Michigan. Friday evening the regular season concludes for Purdue as they face Michigan State (14-14, 5-13) at 7:00 ET on BTN+.

Last weekend Purdue honored seniors Shavona Cuttino and Blake Mohler before the match against Michigan. The Boilers went on to sweep Michigan 25-18, 25-22, 29-27. Cuttino was error-less hitting .400 putting away six kills to go with three blocks. Mohler hit .385 finishing with eight kills and five blocks.

Wednesday, Purdue traveled to Ann Arbor and battled to a five-set win saving four match points in the final set; 26-24, 25-17, 20-25, 20-25, 20-18.

Caitlyn Newton was clutch for Purdue late in the fifth. Mohler saved the first match point then Newton picked up where she left off getting kills on the next three points. After the last, she got a solo block to give the Boilers a point advantage. Michigan saved one match then Purdue got another match point and went to the hot hand, as Newton finished the match off.

A late comeback gave Purdue set one as they finished on a 7-1 run. The Boilers dialed up the service pressure in set two as they went up 11-3 after five of their seven aces in the set.

Purdue was down most of set three and battled back to tie the score at 19 but couldn’t sustain their momentum as the Wolverines finished the set on a 6-1 run. Purdue struggled to sideout in set four as Michigan had a handful of service runs.

Newton finished with 23 kills and career-highs in blocks and aces, eight and seven respectively. seven aces. Moe Hornung also had a career day with 29 digs.

Michigan State Preview

Purdue has avoided bad losses this season and Friday is the last hurdle to get over. Sparty can be competitive, having taken sets off teams in the top half of the league and even forced Michigan to five last week. For Purdue, they just need to keep serving tough and stay locked in. Mental lapses can turn into dropped sets against the Spartans.

Key Players

class, height, position, # name, stats* from conference play only (in the conference)
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- 10.62 A/S (6), 2.16 D/S

Jr. 6’1 OH 4 Caitlyn Newton- 3.65 K/S (5), 0.48 SA/S (1)

Sr. 6’2 MB 9 Shavona Cuttino- 1.21 B/S (5)

So. 5’7 DS 10 Marissa Hornung- 4.37 D/S (4)

Sr. 6’2 M 17 Blake Mohler- 2.32 K/S, .357 (9), 1.03 B/S (12)

Jr. 5’10 DS 19 Jena Otec- 3.16 D/S (13), 0.43 SA/S (4)

So. 6’3 OH 20 Grace Cleveland- 3.11 K/S (13), .252, 1.11 B/S (11), 0.46 SA/S (3)

Michigan State

Sparty is high-error and struggles to score which has held them back this season. If they get into a sideout rhythm they can cause problems.

Key Players

Sr. 5’9 S 2 Audrey Alford- 4.34 A/S (14)

Jr. 6’3 OH 3 Meredith Norris- 2.48 K/S, 0.33 SA/S

Jr. 5’6 L 4 Jayme Cox- 4.02 D/S (8)

Jr. 6’2 OH 11 Alyssa Chronowski*- 2.15 K/S, 0.81 B/S

So. 6’1 S 12 Elena Shklyar- 4.9 A/S (13)

So. 6’3 MB 17 Naya Gros- 1.17 B/S (8)

*Chronowski starred at Munster

Big Ten Standings

Standings Conf. Pct. Overall Pct. Streak Final Matches
Standings Conf. Pct. Overall Pct. Streak Final Matches
Wisconsin 17-1 0.944 21-5 0.808 W5 @ PSU, @ RUT
Penn State 16-2 0.889 23-4 0.852 W6 vs WIS, vs MN
Nebraska 15-3 0.833 23-4 0.852 L1 vs MARY, vs OSU
Minnesota 15-3 0.833 21-5 0.808 W1 @ RUT, @ PSU
Purdue 13-6 0.684 21-7 0.750 W5 @ MSU
Michigan 12-7 0.632 19-10 0.655 L2 vs IU
Illinois 11-8 0.579 16-12 0.571 W4 @ NW
Ohio State 7-11 0.389 14-16 0.467 L2 @ IOWA, @ NEB
Michigan State 5-13 0.278 14-14 0.500 L4 vs PUR, vs IU
Maryland 5-13 0.278 13-17 0.433 L3 @ NEB, @ IOWA
Northwestern 4-15 0.211 13-18 0.419 L1 vs ILL
Indiana 3-15 0.167 14-17 0.452 W1 @ MICH, @ MSU
Iowa 3-15 0.167 9-20 0.310 L8 vs OSU, vs MARY
Rutgers 2-16 0.111 8-21 0.276 L6 vs MN, vs WIS
Current Standings as of 11-28-19 https://bigten.org/confstandings.aspx/2019-20/vb?path=wvball

The conference title, or at least a share is still up for grabs this weekend. Penn State will have to win out to split the title with Wisconsin.

NCAA Tournament Outlook

Purdue has a few quality wins but not enough to get a seed and hosting privileges. The Boilers went 3-5 against the RPI top 25 and 5-7 against the top 50. There are a few mid-west, non-Big Ten sites Purdue could be headed to Pittsburgh, Marquette, Kentucky, or Creighton. Lexington may be the most likely destination. Should Purdue end up in the Wildcat’s sub-regional we could get a rematch of last year’s second round match and a five-set Purdue win from earlier this season.

The tournament selection show will be Sunday evening at 8:30 ET on ESPNU.

RPI Rankings

RPI School Result
RPI School Result
1 Baylor -
2 Wisconsin L
3 Texas -
4 Stanford -
5 Pittsburgh -
6 Nebraska L, W
7 Kentucky W
8 Washington -
9 Florida -
10 Minnesota L, L
11 Hawaii -
12 Marquette -
13 Texas A&M -
14 Rice -
15 Western Kentucky -
18 Penn State L
23 Purdue -
24 Louisville W
34 Notre Dame L
39 Michigan W, W
43 Illinois L
64 Ohio State W, W
83 Ball State W
93 Iowa W
98 Michigan State -
100 Northwestern W, W
104 Texas A&M - Corpus Christi W
105 Ohio W
109 Indiana W, W
120 Maryland W
133 Rutgers W, W
144 Murray State W
149 Lipscomb W
212 Eastern Michigan W
Current rankings as of 11-24-19 https://www.ncaa.com/rankings/volleyball-women/d1/ncaa-womens-volleyball-rpi

AVCA Rankings Week 13

Rank School (First-Place Votes) Previous Week 2019 Record Result against
Rank School (First-Place Votes) Previous Week 2019 Record Result against
1 Baylor (30) 3 23-1 -
2 Pittsburgh (20) 2 28-1 -
3 Stanford (11) 4 22-4 -
4 Texas (2) 1 20-3 -
5 Wisconsin (1) 5 21-5 L
6 Nebraska 6 23-4 L, W
7 Penn State 8 23-4 L
8 Minnesota 7 21-5 L, L
9 Washington 10 23-5 -
10 Creighton 12 24-4 -
11 Colorado State 11 28-1 -
12 Marquette 9 26-4 -
13 BYU 13 24-4 -
14 Kentucky 14 21-6 W
15 Florida 15 23-4 -
16 Purdue 17 20-7 -
17 Utah 16 20-9 -
18 Hawai'i 18 24-3 -
19 Western Kentucky 19 31-1 -
20 San Diego 20 23-5 -
21 Rice 21 26-3 -
22 Michigan 23 19-9 W, W
23 UCLA NR 16-11 -
24 Illinois 25 15-12 L
25 Washington State 22 22-8 -
Week 13: 11-25-19 https://www.avca.org/polls/di-women/11-25-2019.html