With a late start of 9:30 I was hoping Purdue would sweep Oregon so I wasn’t up so late. Unfortunately, the Ducks were looking out for me and swept them instead. In a 3-set match, Oregon’s experience and size overtook Purdue to win 25-14, 25-19, and 29-27 to advance to the Elite 8.
Set one started out about as poorly as it could as Oregon took an early lead that Purdue could never recover from. The Ducks run a lot of quick sets to their middles and outsides that make it hard to defend. Our blockers struggled to slow down the ball and Oregon attacked time and time again.
Coach Shondell brought in Lorrin Poulter, the transfer from Colorado to change up Purdue’s offense and get something going. She is better with the middle hitters and Purdue did start to come alive to end the set, but 3 service errors and a big deficit was too much to overcome and the Ducks take set 1.
It’s hard to tell if Purdue just played poorly or if Oregon’s offense was making them uncomfortable but it just seemed every time Purdue would get a point they could never create a run out of it or gain any momentum. Coach Shondell stressed controlling parts of the game they could and the Boilers just didn’t do that to start out.
By set 2, Purdue knew what they were dealing with and made some adjustments. Purdue had to have good defense and make their serves to hang with this experienced team. The Boilers had a 12-8 lead in the second before Oregon called a timeout. They came roaring back after the break to end on a 10-1 run to defeat Purdue in set 2.
Set 3 was a nail biter as both teams went point for point for almost the entire match. The serving was finally giving Purdue an edge as Oregon struggled to pass the ball. Chicoine threw their defense off with some short serves and as they adjusted would serve deep. This slowed the Ducks offense enough to give Purdue a fighting chance.
The two teams had a long rally that ended on a Chicoine kill and Purdue took a 26-25 lead. They were a point away from taking this to 4. Oregon’s coach challenged the call and it was overturned as Purdue’s front row touched the net. It was now 25-26 Oregon. Purdue caught some breaks as the Ducks had three service errors at the end of match and a net violation but Purdue couldn’t capitalize losing the set 29-27.
This was the first time Purdue had been swept by a team since the second match of the season against Creighton.
Oregon plays 8 seniors compared to us starting 3 freshman and it showed as they made big time plays when it counted. I still think had Purdue played better they could’ve stretched this match out but Oregon looks like a team playing their best volleyball of the season at the right time.
Hudson and Chicoine combined for 22 kills while Maddie Schermerhorn had 16 digs in her final match for Purdue.
Purdue ends the season with a 23-9 record and 15-5 in the conference. The good news is we return almost everyone, another year of experience for freshman Chicoine and Anderson coupled up with veterans Hudson and Colvin and this team has a chance to do something really special next year.