You could hear a pin drop in Holloway. Maddie Schermerhorn steps behind the service line and exhales, Purdue had just taken a one-point lead after tying it up four different times at the end of the set. The senior has been here before, she’s prepared for moments like this. She tosses the ball and jump serves it right across the net as the ball lands between three defenders. Ace. The entire gym erupts and the Boilers take the set 26-24 and clinch a spot in the sweet 16.
Purdue had control early on in the match. In set one the front row could not be contained as Chicoine, Colvin and Hudson all had a kill as Purdue took an early 4-0 lead. Marquette would capitalize off some Purdue errors but never could catch up to the Boilers. Eva Hudson had 3 kills to end the set and Purdue starts out on top 25-19.
In set 2, again Purdue started out strong but a service error and hit out allowed Marquette to tie it up at 8. Marquette takes the lead in the middle of the set and Chicoine hits the ball out. This one feels like it’s slipping away as Marquette leads 16-19. Dave Shondell challenges the call and wins after officials see a Marquette touch. Momentum shift, now Purdue is within 2. Chicoine gets an ace and Purdue grinds out a gutsy win 25-23. Purdue is now up two sets and looking to sweep the same Marquette squad that took them to five earlier this season.
The Golden Eagles started out strong in set three, fighting like this is their last match of the season. They jumped ahead by as many as six points as Purdue played from behind the entire set trying to chip away at their lead. The Boilers tie it up at 24 but Marquette went on to win the final two points and take set three 24-26.
The fourth set was a battle between the two teams, one fighting to take it to one more set and the other trying to close out the match. There were 12 ties during the set including 4 at the end 19-19, 22-22, 23-23, and 24-24. But when Purdue needed to get a point, they looked to Hudson to close out the match. Taylor Anderson who had 60 assists and 16 digs on the night set the outside hitter time after time to close out the match. Hudson rose to the challenge.
The sophomore who is a staple of this offense ended the night with 27 kills on a career-high 73 attacks. Only in her second year, it’s hard to explain how much she offers to this team. Always composed. Always ready. She knows more often than not the ball is going to her in critical moments, and she delivers. If I know they are going to her to close out the set, the defense knows it and they still couldn’t stop her at the net as she helps propel Purdue to the win.
Maddie Schermerhorn who had the game winning ace also broke her own NCAA dig record with 25 digs. Chloe Chicoine had 15 kills while Raven Colvin chipped in 13 and 4 blocks.
For the third time in the last 4 years, Purdue is heading to the Sweet 16. They take on 2 seed Oregon on Thursday, December 7th. The winner of the match will head to the regional finals on December 9th to take on either Wisconsin or Penn State.