It will be an uphill climb to match the success of last season but things are looking up for the Purdue Volleyball program. Here’s a primer on everything about this season and everything else Purdue Volleyball.
Purdue graduated a ton of experience in two fifth years, Jena Otec and Caitlyn Newton, and four other starters and a reserve in Hayley Bush, Marissa Hornung, Jael Johnson, Grace Cleveland, and Emma Terwilliger. One other lineup regular left; Taylor Trammel transferred to Penn State. Reserves Savana Chacon and Molly Brown also transferred to Long Beach State and Texas A&M respectively.
There’s a handful of newcomers for the Boilers. Freshman Lizzie Carr, Eva Hudson, and Brielle Warren. Purdue also added a trio of transfers, two coming home to Lafayette, Grace Balenseifer from Northern Illinois and Emily Brown from Mizzou, and Hannah Clayton from Iowa.
Purdue began their season down in Knoxville picking up three wins. To begin their season Purdue swept Bowling Green; 25-23, 25-18, 25-23. They followed it up with another sweep over Loyola Chicago; 25-14, 25-23, 25-19. Last, the Boilers beat the Volunteers in four sets; 20-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-19.
Purdue’s block was a major factor against the Falcons as the Boilers racked up 10 to Bowling Green’s one. Freshman Eva Hudson was ready for her debut putting down 18 kills on .444 hitting to go with five digs. Raven Colvin posted seven blocks and Madeline Koch six. Maddie Schermerhorn recorded 18 digs in her first match as libero.
Against Loyola Purdue nearly hit .300. Hudson led the team again with 12 kills, .321 hitting, and six digs. She got more offensive help as Koch put away nine kills and Raven Colvin registered eight as both hit .467.
As was expected Tennessee played Purdue much closer as both teams tried to out-gun the other. Purdue outhit the Volunteers .327-.256. Hudson kept up her outstanding play going for 17 kills, .273 hitting, and six digs. Koch got 12 of her own hitting .333. Colvin hit .417 as she put away 11 kills. Maddy Chinn had a solid performance with 10 kills. Hannah Clayton led the Purdue block with four, while Koch, Colvin, and Grace Balensiefer got three each. Defensively Maddie Schermerhorn pulled up 18 digs and Ali Hornung got 15.\
Hudson was named the tournament MVP while Madeline Koch and Maddie Schermerhorn were also named to the All-Tournament team.
Eva Hudson was recognized by the conference for the outstanding start to her career as she was awarded the Big Ten Player and Freshman of the Week. She is the first Purdue player in program history to get the double dip. She averaged 4.7 kills per set over the weekend and had only 10 errors on over 100 swings, hitting .343. She added three aces and 17 digs over the three matches.
Purdue hosts this weekend. Friday morning they’ll face Bradley at 10:00 AM on BTN+. Friday evening the Boilers will take on Utah at 6:30 PM on BTN. Purdue will cap off the weekend Saturday afternoon at 3:00 PM against Milwaukee on BTN+.
Utah made the preseason top 25 at No. 22 but fell out after dropping a four-setter to Kansas as they come to town with a 2-1 record.
There still are plenty of question marks surrounding this year's lineup. For now, the middles, opposite, and OH1 seem set; Raven Colvin and Hannah Clayton- middle blockers, Madeline Koch- opposite, and OH1- Eva Hudson. As for OH2, Maddy Chinn and Emma Ellis both saw action and neither was overly impressive. Chinn might keep getting the starting nod based on passing abilities but this seems like more of the revolving door we saw for the last three seasons. Megan Renner ran the offense the first two matches but was pulled against Tennessee in favor of Grace Balensiefer who took the reins and ran with it. The libero/DS depth chart is crowded and not a lot separating them. So far Maddie Schermerhorn is getting the bro jersey which is consistent with Shondell’s unwavering loyalty to upperclassmen. Ali Hornung seems to be first in line should a change be made, however, Emily Brown has experience as libero from her time at Mizzou. I would not expect Schermerhorn to stay as libero all season long but we shall see.
While not an eye-popping schedule Purdue has a solid non-conference schedule. They’ll play at least one NCAA Tournament caliber team each weekend. They’ve already picked up a solid win over Tennessee. This weekend they’ll face Utah who is just outside the Top 25. Next weekend will be Purdue’s biggest test as they’ll get a crack at Louisville on the road. For the final weekend of non-conference play, the Boilers will host Kelli Miller Phillip’s (Purdue Volleyball class of ‘08) Ball State squad who’ve been receiving votes in both of the early season polls.
As for the conference slate, it's pretty fair with favorable road matchups. Purdue will face Illinois, Northwestern, and Michigan State only once, all on the road. The Boiler’s home-only matchups are against Rutgers, Wisconsin, and Ohio State. Purdue is home-and-away with Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Michigan, and Penn State.
Fifty-five Big Ten matches will be televised this season and the league has a new global distribution deal with Volleyball World.
Purdue will be in 10 of those 55 televised matches. Your first chance to catch Purdue on tv will be this weekend against Utah.
chances to catch us on TV this fall. pic.twitter.com/tb5DC6UZs9— Purdue Volleyball (@PurdueVB) August 1, 2022
Big Ten Preseason Projections
Purdue was picked by conference coaches to finish in the middle of the pack.
4. Ohio State
5. Penn State
6. (tie) Illinois
11. Michigan State
With almost, a completely new roster no Purdue players made the preseason all-conference team.
Featuring the Top Five and Big Ten teams (First-place votes) - Last week's results and upcoming matches
- Texas (41) - Won both matches at Ohio State against the Buckeyes. Host Minnesota Wednesday night then travel to Stanford Sunday.
- Nebraska (23) - Opened with three wins over mid-major teams. At home again this week against Loyola Marymount and Ole Miss
- Louisville - 3-0 start in South Dakota. They travel to Western Kentucky Wednesday then come back home to face San Diego and Ohio State this weekend.
- Minnesota - The Gophers are spending lots of time in Texas they beat Baylor and TCU and will face Texas in Austin Wednesday. Sunday they’ll host Florida.
- Georgia Tech - Tech won all three matches at Ole Miss. They’ll host Dayton, Arizona State, and FIU this weekend.
- Wisconsin - The Badgers went 1-1 in Fort Worth falling to Baylor. This weekend they’ll host Marquette and High Point.
8. Ohio State - Dropped both matches to Texas. They head to Louisville to play the Cardinals and San Diego.
11. Purdue - 3-0 Weekend in Tennessee. Home this weekend against Bradley, Utah, and Milwaukee.
19. Illinois - The Illini were swept by Georgia Tech then beat Ole Miss. They head west to face Colorado and Washington this weekend.
21. Penn State - Penn State opened against lower-tier teams going 3-0. This weekend they’re in Louisiana.
RV. Michigan - Michigan got three wins out west. They are home this weekend, hosting a trio of mid-majors.
Other notable matches: Then No. 6 Pitt fell to No. 25 San Diego. Former No. 8 Washington was upset by unranked Arkansas. Not as big of an upset, but then No. 11 Kentucky fell at home to Marquette who received votes in the preseason poll.
- Nebraska (24)
- Texas (27)
- Wisconsin (12)
- Louisville (1)
7. Ohio State
20. Penn State
Purdue had some major pickups in recruiting this spring benefitting from coaching changes at other schools. Impacting this season, Eva Hudson was the 25th ranked recruit in the class of 2022 and had signed with Notre Dame before they let go of head coach Mike Johnson. Once Notre Dame made a change Hudson, who hails from Fort Wayne, made a change of her own.
An even bigger coup was the commitment of the #4 ranked player in the class of 2023, Chloe Chicoine. Chicoine, a local product attending McCutcheon, had committed to Penn State. Once Russ Rose retired she backed off and Purdue was able to swoop in.
The future is bright for Purdue Volleyball. The Boilers ‘23 class features the #4, #14, #17, #44, and #95 ranked recruits. Purdue already has a commitment from the no. 1 ranked libero in the class of 2024 and John Shondell’s daughter Allie who is a setter in the same class just committed in the last month.
After last summer’s Olympic gold medal run Annie Drews has continued training and playing with the top national team squad. Danielle Cuttino and Ashley Evans have also been training and playing with the national team this summer.
Sophomore Raven Colvin was a reserve middle blocker for the U21 Pan Am champion team. Recruit Choe Chicoine also played on the squad. Despite being the only current high schooler on the team she was named the tournament’s Best Spiker. Chicoine had previously played on the U18 team.