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Purdue Volleyball wins Mortar Board Premier Tournament

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Purdue swept USF, San Diego, and LSU en route to winning the Mortar Board Premier tournament

Purdue Volleyball started their weekend off with a sweep of the University of South Florida Friday morning. Friday night they took down San Diego, and they ended their weekend with a sweep of LSU Saturday night. Redshirt freshman Ashley Evans was the tournament MVP. Senior Val Nichol and Junior Annie Drews were also an the All-Tournament team.

Against South Florida Purdue had to overcome errors and an upstart Bulls' team that wouldn't go away. Purdue started the first set strong jumping out to a 7-1 lead. USF got within three, 14-11 before Purdue broke it open and won 25-17. The Bulls played Purdue much tighter in the second set. USF led 12-9 and 18-17 before Purdue took over. Purdue was able to finish the set 25-22 with the help of three Kiki Jones kills, a Drews kill, and Evans block. In the last game USF threatened the Purdue lead several times, but Purdue was always able to squash any comeback attempt. Purdue was denied twice on match point before winning 25-23. Danielle Cuttino and Azariah Stahl made their debuts in the 3rd and combined for six kills.

Lydia Dimke also made her Boilermaker debut Friday morning. Purdue was led by Faye Adelaja and Annie Drews who both tallied nine kills. Adelaja contributed four blocks and Drews three. Val Nichol recorded 28 assists.

Friday night Purdue took on #14 San Diego. San Diego played Purdue tight in each game. In the first set the Toreros went up 6-5 before Purdue went on a couple of runs to regain and extend their lead. USD did make things interesting towards the end drawing within one, 23-22 before Adelaja and Sam Epenesa ended the game with kills. San Diego took the lead early in the second and led 11-10 before Purdue asserted themselves and kept a minimum four point lead the rest of the way out winning 25-21. Purdue won the third 25-20. Purdue struggled through the middle of the set. There were three ties and a lead change. Purdue finally went on a run to go up 23-18. Purdue outhit San Diego .294-.054 in the set despite the close score.

Annie Drews put down 11 kills. Kiki Jones had four blocks. Amanda Neill anchored the back row with 13 digs. Val Nichol added 10 herself, with 26 assists she earned her first double-double of the season.

The match Saturday night featured a marathon set. Purdue defeated LSU 25-17, 34-32, 25-22. Purdue took advantage of LSU errors to win the first set. Purdue was up 14-13 when the Tigers fell apart and committed five errors. This essentially sealed LSU's fate. The second set was a hard fought battle. Even before the lead changes and numerous missed match points Purdue and LSU exchanged the lead multiple times. Purdue was up 24-22 when the madness started. LSU ran off three points to earn a set point. It was a long time til the set point was clinched. Purdue was able to finish it with Drews and Jones kills. Annie Drews was the hero in the set driving home 14 kills. Purdue controlled the last set to end their long night. LSU did put up a fight but Purdue was ready for the night to be over and never let the Tigers overtake them. This time when they were up 24-22 they ended it.

Drews finished with 19 kills. Adelaja added nine. Val Nichol put up 40 assists to go with 12 digs. Amanda Neill saved 18 and Ashley Evans dug up 13.

Next weekend the team travels to Kennesaw, Georgia. They'll take on Kennesaw State University, Elon, and UNC-Asheville. KSU is 2-1. Head coach Keith Shunzel got his first coaching job with Purdue as an assistant back in 2005-2006. Elon is 1-2, and UNC-Asheville is seeking their first win of the season.