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Purdue Volleyball Moves to 4-0 in Conference Play

#14 Purdue Volleyball is in first place in conference standings

Purdue brought home two wins from their East Coast trip. Purdue swept Rutgers on Friday night . On Sunday afternoon they defeated Maryland in four sets.

Purdue started the sweep off with a 25-20 win. With the game tied at nine Purdue went on a 7-2 run. After Rutgers cut the Purdue lead to two the Boilers went up 20-16. The Scarlet Knights though made one last run at the Boilers to cut the lead to one. From there Purdue controlled the set with a 5-1 run to finish. Rutgers dug themselves a big hole early in the second set and was never able to get out of it. Purdue was up 21-7 before Rutgers was able to make a serious run. The Scarlet Knights took seven of the next nine before they became undone and ended the set with a hitting error. Seven different Boilers had kills in the set; Purdue won 25-14. The last set was a different story. To start the set the teams traded 8-4 runs. From there Purdue used three Annie Drews kills to go up 19-15. Out of the timeout Rutgers went on a 6-2 run to tie the set at 21. Purdue then got three kills to get to set point which Rutgers denied on the first attempt but a missed serve ended the match at 25-23.

Annie Drews led the Boilers hitting .429 with 12 kills. Ashley Evans had 7 kills on 10 attempts with no errors. Val Nichol led the Boiler backline with 13 digs. She also had 38 assists to garner a double-double. Danielle Cuttino had two solo blocks.

It took Purdue a little while to get going on Sunday afternoon. With the game tied at 12 Maryland went on a 5-0 run. Purdue tried to get the lead back but they only got as close as a tie. Purdue tied the set at 22 but Maryland got to set point first, 24-23. Sam Epenesa put one down to deny Maryland but Purdue couldn't find the court on the next two points as the Terrapins won 26-24. The second set was a battle at the net; Maryland had six blocks. Purdue got out to a 10-6 lead before Maryland came back and tied at ten. From then till the score read 19-19 the two teams traded points. The Boilers then went on a 6-1 to close the set 25-20. Annie Drews had six kills in the set. Purdue kept getting better as the match wore on. Purdue lead the whole way through in the third to win 25-16. Two Drews kills and an Epenesa-Cuttino block extended Purdue's lead to seven, 16-9. Purdue closed the set on a 4-0 Annie Drewsrun; Drews had two blocks and two kills. Like the third Purdue led from start to finish in the fourth. Nichol got things going early for the Boilers with three kills. Eventually Purdue held a 15-8 advantage. Maryland wouldn't get closer than six the rest of the way. Purdue won 25-16.

Annie Drews, Sam Epenesa, and KiKi Jones all hit over .400 with 17, 11, and 7 kills respectively. Danielle Cuttino had six block assists. Amanda Neill and Kate Workman both had 12 digs. Val Nichol did a little bit of everything finishing with 7 kills, 2 aces, 8 digs, 2 solo blocks, and 36 assists.

Purdue now stands alone at the top of the Big Ten with a 4-0 record in conference play. Previously perfect Penn State, Northwestern, Illinois, and Nebraska all dropped a match this past weekend and now have 3-1 records. Penn State lost to Nebraska in four sets in Lincoln. Then the next night Ohio State took down Nebraska in five sets. Illinois and Northwestern both lost to Wisconsin. Wisconsin and Indiana also 3-1 records in conference play.

In the latest rankings Purdue is #14. Other B1G teams in the Top 25 are #5 Penn State, #6 Wisconsin, #8 Nebraska, #15 Illinois, #23 Minnesota, and #24 Northwestern. Ohio State received votes. With seven teams in the Top 25 the Big Ten is tied with the Pac-12 for most teams.

Purdue is 5th in the country with a .296 hitting percentage. KiKi Jones is 12th in the country at .424. Annie Drew still leads the conference with 4.25/set.

This week Purdue faces Indiana twice for the Monon Spike. The first match will be in West Lafayette on Wednesday evening at 7. Then Saturday the Boilers will travel down to Bloomington for the second match. IU is led by Amelia Anderson and Taylor Lebo who average 3.16 and 3.03 kills/set. Lebo also averages .56 aces/set. Morgan Leach puts down 2.82 a set and leads the hitters with a .269 hitting percentage. In conference play middle Awele Nwaeze Is averaging 2 blocks/set.

Currently Purdue leads the series with IU 58-34. There are 28 "P" links and 12 "I" links on the Spike. The travelling trophy was introduced in 1981. Dave Shondell has won 10 of the 11 Spike matches he has coached in.