Purdue has been bouncing back and forth all season between #16 and #19 on the AVCA poll, and after splitting the week between ranked opponents the Boilers are back at #16.
Purdue started the week with a loss on the road against #2 Wisconsin and it was never particularly close. In set one the Boilers were outmatched for most of the game and Sarah Franklin had her way against our front row as Wisconsin jumped to an 11-6 lead. Purdue looked to Chicoine and Hudson to get Purdue going in front and back row attacks but Wisconsin pulled away 25-16 as the Boilers struggled to find their footing.
Purdue has a tendency to start sets slow and then play catch up at times but set 2 they took control early with a 7-3 lead. Wisconsin’s blockers bullied our hitters all night but Purdue was able to tip over and find the gaps to push the score 18-11 at the break. Lourdes Myers has a huge block and Hudson ends the set with a kill to hold Wisconsin to their second lowest set score in Big ten play 25-16.
Sets 3 & 4 were all Wisconsin as they proved why they are a top team in the country. Purdue made some mental errors and struggled with their defense falling 18-25 and 14-25. Eva Hudson continues to be the hot hand the Boilers look to in critical situation and led the team with 18 kills and 11 digs.
Purdue then hosted #16 Penn State on Sunday in a five-set thriller winning the match 25-17, 25-15, 21-25, 20-25, and 15-12. The win clinches the sweep over the Nittany lions and pushes Purdue to 15-8 overall and 9-5 in Big Ten play.
A lot is talked about Chicoine and Hudson this season but Lourdes Myers was the spark on Sunday afternoon for the Boilers. She had a .818 hitting percentage in the fifth set to lead Purdue to victory. She went errorless with her 9 kills and posted the highest hitting percentage for a Big Ten player this year. She also chipped in 8 of Purdue’s total 12 blocks.
Right now Purdue is looking at a 5 seed in bracket predictions for the NCAA tournament. They have six opportunities left to help out their resume and try to get into the 4-spot. Minnesota who they swept a few weeks ago, two matches against Michigan State, #2 Wisconsin at home, Maryland and Michigan.
If Purdue was able to close out the season undefeated especially with Wisconsin on their schedule I like their chances of jumping up a little in seeding but they’ll have to get though some of their mental lapses and start sets stronger. 3 of the 6 matches are on the road and as with any game in the Big Ten, it never comes easy.