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Purdue Volleyball Starts Season with Two Wins

No. 18 Purdue got off to a winning start to the 2019 season beating Ohio and Ball State. Up next Purdue faces Notre Dame.


Purdue (2-0) looked a little shaky in the very first set of the season but rebounded as they picked up a four-set win over Ohio. The Boilers followed it up with a commanding sweep over the Cardinals. Friday, Purdue hits the road for the first time as they travel to South Bend to take on the Irish (3-1); the match will be at 7:00 ET on ACC Network Extra.

Week One Recap

Purdue didn’t hit the ball particularly well against the Bobcats but they were able to dominate in other phases of the game as they won 22-25, 25-17, 31-29, and 25-19. Purdue served up nine aces while only giving up two and had 14 stuff blocks to Ohio’s six.

Ohio got in front early as their offense hit the ground running in set one. The Bobcats were efficient, siding out with regularity as they carried an early lead down the stretch. Purdue saved two set points but Ohio was able to convert out of the timeout.

In set two, a handful of Bobcat errors helped turn a 6-6 tie into a 16-10 lead for the Boilers as Purdue dialed up the service pressure. Caitlyn Newton and Jena Otec both had two aces during the set as the Boilers went on to win by a comfortable margin.

Both teams had their chances in set three but Purdue was the one to finally close it out. Ohio had the first two set points but Caitlyn Newton produced two clutch kills for the Boilers to extend the match. An Ohio hitting error swung the point advantage to Purdue. Four times Ohio got kills to deny Purdue the set advantage, but Purdue was not to be denied after this SC Top 10 play from Jena Otec.

Moe Hornung followed it up with an ace to clinch the set.

Purdue answered an early Ohio run with one of their own in set four to take back the lead 11-7. Ohio later closed the margin to one, 18-17. Purdue though made a statement. Hayley Bush’s kill gave Purdue back serve which they followed up with four consecutive blocks as Ohio could not side out.

Caitlyn Newton led the Boilers with 14 kills and two aces; Jena Otec and Marissa Hornung also served up two aces each. Blake Mohler was the only hitter to finish above .300 putting away eight kills. Mohler and Shavonna Cuttino both posted six blocks. Hayley Bush finished with 37 assists and Jena Otec had 21 digs.

Purdue outhit the Bobcats .200-.174.

After a so-so offensive showing against the Bobcats Purdue came out on fire against Ball State. The Boilers hit .372 in the three-set victory winning 25-12, 25-21, 25-19.

Purdue came out swinging in set one hitting .571 with 14 kills on 21 attempts with two errors. Ball State spotted Purdue the early lead with four errors over a six-point Boilermaker run. Emma Ellis, who got the start over Madeline Koch, and Caitlyn Newton both had four kills in the opening set as Purdue cruised to an easy win.

Purdue got off to a great start in set two going up 10-3 but had to fight off a couple of rallies from Cardinals down the stretch. Four Cardinal kills and a Purdue error cut a nine-point lead to four, 18-14. Ball State also fought off four set points before Grace Cleveland was able to clinch it for Purdue.

Purdue controlled the final set from start to finish. A 6-2 run midway through the set gave Purdue more breathing room, 21-14.

Caitlyn Newton led Purdue with 12 kills. 500 hitting and two aces. Emma Ellis was tremendous in her Purdue debut getting nine kills on 15 swings with one error, .533 hitting percentage. Grace Cleveland also had a good line, 12-4-24, .333 hitting, to go with four blocks. Jael Johnson also had four blocks. Hayley Bush put up 36 assists and Jena Otec led the defense with nine digs and two aces.

Purdue outhit Ball State .372-.125 and had the only blocks in the match, six.

Notre Dame Preview

The key for Purdue will be being consistent and staying engaged. Notre Dame has been a high error team through their first four matches. The Boilers cannot sink to the level of the Irish. Emma Ellis looked great in her debut and should get the nod again against Notre Dame. It would be great to see Purdue get the ball to Blake Mohler more but otherwise, things are looking well so far this season.

Key Players

class, height, position, # name, stats (statistical rank nationally)
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- 10.43 A/S

Jr. 6’1 OH 4 Caitlyn Newton- 3.71 K/S, .254, 0.57 SA/S

So. 5’7 DS 10 Marissa Hornung- 2.14 D/S, 0.29 SA/S

Fr. 6’2 OH 12 Emma Ellis- 3.0 K/S, .533

Sr. 6’2 M 17 Blake Mohler- 2.6 K/S, .321, 1.6 B/S

Jr. 5’10 DS 19 Jena Otec- 4.29 D/S, 0.57 SA/S

So. 6’3 OH 20 Grace Cleveland- 3.0 K/S, 1.0 B/S, 0.29 SA/S

Notre Dame

Notre Dame dropped a five-setter to Wright State who is not even projected to finish near the top of the Horizon League over the opening weekend of play. They followed it up with two wins but it is still alarming. A big problem for the Irish is that two of their high volume hitters produce a high volume of errors. Sydney Bent hits .136 and Charley Niego hits .068. The two sophomores hit nearly .200 last season, still not great, but are off to brutal starts this season. Unless they get out of the funk against the Boilers, Notre Dame won’t pose much of a threat.

Key Players

So 5’10 S 2 Zoe Nunez- 11.31 A/S, 3.06 D/S

So. 6’0 RS 3 Sydney Bent- 3.0 K/S, 2.62 D/S, 0.56 SA/S

So. 6’0 OH 5 Charley Niego- 2.81 K/S, 3.19 D/S

Fr. 5’6 DS 9 Kiara Schmidt- 2.44 D/S, 0.31 SA/S

Fr. 5’11 OH 16 Caroline Meuth- 3.81 K/S

Jr. 5’4 L 20 Madison Cruzado- 3.88 D/S, 0.38 SA/S


  1. Stanford (63)
  2. Nebraska (1)
  3. Texas
  4. Wisconsin
  5. Illinois
  6. Penn State
  7. Florida
  8. Minnesota
  9. Oregon
  10. Pittsburgh

(first-place votes)

Other ranked Big Ten Teams: 14 Michigan, 18 Purdue, RV Iowa, and RV Maryland

Former No. 3 Minnesota was one of many preseason ranked teams that were upset in week one as they lost to Florida State. BYU lost at home to then-No. 16 Marquette which snapped their home win streak which dated back to the 2017 season. Kentucky lost on the road to Utah and Washington State fell just outside the top 25 after being swept by Iowa. Hawai’i picked up two signature wins upsetting Washington and San Diego. Cal Poly fell out of the top 25 after dropping all three of their matches, losing to Kentucky, Saint Mary’s, and Utah. Creighton fell after taking losses against Nebraska and Baylor.

Purdue has the week off after the Notre Dame match. Next up for Purdue is the LUV Invitational at Lipscomb in Nashville. Purdue will play Louisville first next Friday at 4:00.