Raven Colvin is a goddess amongst women.
Purdue volleyball had an early wake-up call today, playing the first scheduled Sweet 16 match of the NCAA Tournament at 11am in Pittsburgh against No. 11 seed BYU. It definitely came out ready too, as the ladies rolled to an easy 25-12 win in set one.
That’s when the Cougars woke up though. They quickly turned things around by taking set 2 25-16 and won set 3 narrowly 25-21. Just like that, Purdue was against the wall much like last week’s second round against Dayton.
The Boilers rebounded strong, taking set 4 25-13 to force a decisive set 5, and what a set it was. If you like volleyball, this was as tense as it gets. BYU jumped out 4-1, but Purdue eventually got it to 7-7 and 8-8. Two huge service errors then turned the tide and the match appeared to be over, as BYU got it all the way to 14-10 and match point. It was the ninth and tenth service errors of the game for Purdue, and they looked to be costly.
NOT SO FAST!!!
Somehow, Purdue stayed alive. Grace Cleveland got a kill, then Jena Otec dropped consecutive aces to make it 14-13. A BYU attack error got it to 14-14 and Purdue had fought off four straight match points to stay alive.
BYU finally got a point on a kill to make it 15-14, but Purdue fought off a fifth match point on a Caitlyn Newton kill and then got a match point of its own on a BYU error. BYU fought off their own match point with a kill, but it was Newton again that made it 17-16 with a kill. Purdue’s second match point was decisive, as Raven Colvin delivered a massive block for the win.
This was just an incredible fifth set to watch. Purdue was dead in the water. Fighting off five match points is extremely hard to do, but the ladies advance tot he Elite 8 to face either No. 3 seed Pitt on their home court or Kansas, who Purdue swept way back in August. Cleveland had 14 kills, Colvin had 11 kills and an amazing eight blocks.
Rachel will have a more formal wrap later, but holy hell, what a match.