In a game of highs and lows, Purdue saw two lows over the weekend. After Nebraska I felt a lot of promise for this young squad, but Northwestern reminded me there are still a lot of growing pains to go through. Purdue has proven to start matches strong but continues to struggle with momentum and closing sets out.
Purdue vs. Nebraska (23-25, 25-22, 25-18, 19-25, 15-12)
Purdue took on Nebraska Friday night in what was one of the most exciting matches of the season thus far. Nebraska, currently the #2 team in the country hadn’t been pushed by any teams to 5 sets this season. The Boilers proved they can hang with anyone after going point for point with them through a long 5-set match.
Purdue took control of set one early and despite some questionable calls by the officials were able to take it 25-23. Nebraska storms back for set 2 and 3 led by Murray who was untouchable at the net.
In set 4 the two teams battled back and forth going point for point before Purdue went on a 9-0 run to win it 25-19.
Purdue took the lead early in set 5 before Beason had two kills to make it 5-4 Nebraska. The Cornhuskers were blocking everything from the Boilers and went on a 4-0 run to take the lead 8-4. Hudson carried Purdue back and Boilers had a couple blocks to make it 9-8. The teams again battled before Nebraska pulled away and won 15-12.
Purdue vs. Northwestern (25-17, 25-15, 25-27, 11-25, 12-15)
After hanging with Nebraska in 5 sets the Boilers took on Northwestern and lost in a disappointing fashion.
Purdue took the first two sets looking to sweep the Wildcats before Northwestern stormed back taking sets 3-5. In set 3 the Boilers fell behind but came back tieing it up 25-25 on a set point before losing the next two points.
Maddie Schermerhorn had a season high 22 digs for Purdue while Hudson went errorless with 14 kills.
Having played Volleyball, let me just say it’s hard to gain momentum back after going down 2-0, and even if you do get one set back it’s really hard to get 3 and win the match. This was Northwestern’s first conference win and one of those Purdue should have won with the feels of “I hope it doesn’t come back to haunt them as the season moves on.”
It’s disappointing to walk away from the weekend with two losses after battling 10 sets but this is a young team that is still learning. It’s understandable to lose to a top team at home but losing to the likes of Loyola or Northwestern is a tough pill to swallow.
The Boilers are loaded with talent and when they put it all together look dangerous. Will they pull it all together consistently as the season goes on? Only time will tell.