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#21 Purdue Volleyball Upsets #16 Kentucky on the Road

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Purdue forced a fifth set against the Wildcats then blitzed them at the start of the final set en route to the win.

Purdue Volleyball NCAA

In a rematch of Purdue’s final match of last season, an NCAA Tournament second round loss, Purdue (5-1) got the upper hand over a Kentucky (6-4) team that had just been upset by IU.

Purdue won the first set against Kentucky then dropped the next two before coming from behind to force the fifth set. Purdue carried that momentum into the final set, racing out to an 8-0 lead as they won the match; 25-21, 20-25, 19-25, 25-22, 15-8.

Purdue sidedout on the first point of set five then ran off seven points on Hayley Bush’s serve. The Purdue defense was locked in getting three blocks and otherwise not letting anything hit the floor generating opportunities in transition.

Caitlyn Newton got it all started for the Boilers with a 3-0 run of her own; a tool kill, a kill in transition, and she threw back a Kentucky tip for a solo block. Shavona Cuttino then picked it up where Newton left off sandwiching two free ball kills around a Kentucky hitting error. Cuttino and Grace Cleveland then teamed up for back-to-back blocks.

Kentucky finally sidedout and got another point but Purdue strung together another four points to go up 12-2. The Wildcats did cut the margin to five, 13-8 after a 5-1 run but Purdue held it together. Cleveland got a kill and Blake Mohler got a solo block to close the match out.

Purdue was hot to start set four but cooled off before rallying late to extend the match. An 8-0 run put Purdue up five, 10-5, early in the set. Boiler passing struggles and hitting errors helped Kentucky later go back in front. Down 21-20, Shondell used his last timeout. Out of the timeout Purdue then got a back row kill from Cleveland and back-to-back kills from Newton. A Kentucky error then gave Purdue set point. The Wildcats saved one set point before Mohler, who had struggled offensively all night, crushed a slide attack between the blockers to finish the set off, 25-22.

Purdue went in front early in set one and then answered each UK run to stay in front. Newton scored four of Purdue’s first five points as the Boilers went up 5-2. The Purdue lead grew later to four, 12-8, after two Wildcat hits sailed long and Hayley Bush teamed with Mohler for a block. Kentucky tied the set with a 5-1 run but Purdue was able to keep the lead with a mini 3-0 run as they went on to win the set 25-21. Purdue weathered 11 kills from the reigning SEC Player of the Year, Leah Edmond in the opening set.

The Boilers got down early in two as Kentucky got more hitters involved and was forced to play catch-up. Kentucky ran out to a 5-1 lead to start the set. Purdue late cut the lead to one, 8-7, but never tied as Kentucky answered with 6-1 run before going on to win the set 25-20.

In set three Kentucky increased the service pressure and set better blocks forcing more Boiler errors as they ran away with the set midway through. Kentucky scored 10 in a row go to up 14-7. After Purdue scored three points the Wildcats went on a six-point run to leave little doubt. The Boilers though showed some resiliency and kept playing making the final margin a respectable six points.

Caitlyn Newton led Purdue with 24 kills while hitting .288. Grace Cleveland also reached double figures with 15 kills. Shavona Cuttino was the leading blocker with eight followed by Cleveland’s seven and Blake Mohler’s six. Hayley Bush posted a double-double with 50 assists and 10 digs. Jena Otec set a new career high with 29 digs to lead all players. Emma Terwilliger did her job as a serving sub collecting two aces to lead the Boilers.

Purdue outhit Kentucky .237-.180 and out-blocked them 17-10. Leah Edmond finished with 27 kills for the Wildcats.

The No. 21 Boilers won the LUV Invitational last weekend. Purdue got back in the win column last weekend as they beat then-No. 22 Lousiville and Lipscomb.

Purdue had to go four sets in both matches down in Nashville. The Boilers dropped a tight first set against the Cardinals before taking the final three sets; 24-26, 25-16, 25-21, 25-18. Caitlyn Newton led Purdue with 26 kills while hitting .316. Blake Mohler had eight kills and eight blocks. Hayley Bush put up 48 assists to go with two aces. Jena Otec also had two aces and led Purdue with 19 digs. Purdue outhit and out-blocked Louisville .261-141 and 14-6 respectively.

Like the previous match, Purdue fell in set one before going to win over Lipscomb; 23-25, 25-13, 25-20, 25-17. A trio of Boiler hitters got into double figures led by Grace Cleveland’s 16 kills and .375 hitting. Newton tallied 15 kills and two aces. Blake Mohler posted 11 kills, .300 hitting, and six blocks. Hayley Bush finished with 43 assists. Moe Hornung was the leading defender with 15 digs. Purdue hit .231 to Lipscomb’s .063 effort. Purdue also out-blocked them 12-6.

This weekend Purdue hosts the Stacey Clark Classic. Friday they’ll face Texas A&M - Corpus Christi at 10:30 A.M. They’ll turn around and play Murray State that evening at 7:30 P.M. Saturday Purdue closes the tournament out with Eastern Michigan at 3:00; all matches will be available on BTN+.

AVCA Poll Week 3

  1. Nebraska (37)
  2. Stanford (23)
  3. Texas (2)
  4. Penn State
  5. Baylor
  6. Pittsburgh (1)
  7. Minnesota (1)
  8. Marquette
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Washington

(first-place votes)

Big Ten teams ranked: #1 Nebraska, #7 Minnesota, #9 Wisconsin, #19 Illinois, #21 Purdue, receiving votes- Michigan and Indiana