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Purdue Volleyball Suffers Second Loss of the Season

Purdue finished non-conference play with a 10-2 record after winning the Active Ankle Challenge Title.

Purdue closed their non-conference schedule with the by winning the Active Ankle Challenge. It was not done without blemishing their record though. Purdue loss to the Saint Louis Billikens Friday morning in five sets. Friday night they were able to sweep Morehead State. The Boilers ended their weekend on a high note by taking down Notre Dame in three sets in front of a boisterous crowd in Mackey.

Purdue had a slow start to their Friday morning. In the first set St. Louis got off to a 21-14 lead before Purdue threatened. The Boilers cut the margin to four but the Billikens were able to finish the set off 25-20. St. Louis had five of their eight blocks in the first set. The second set was a different story. Purdue outhit St. Louis .500-.000. Purdue got up early, 9-4, and then extended their lead 19-8. Purdue won the set 25-13. Sam Epenesa had five kills in set, Annie Drews had four, and Amanda Neill dropped in two aces.

Early in the third it looked like Purdue would control the set like they did they did the second going up 5-0. Saint Louis though was able to regroup out of a timeout and won seven straight points en route to a 10-6 advantage. Purdue was able to get back into the match though and tie it at 13. The teams traded runs to finish the match. Purdue went up 22-19 on the strength of their blocking. Purdue denied St. Louis on four points in a five point run. Eventually Saint Louis was able to get a few balls past our front line and go up 24-23. Azariah Stahl put one down but Purdue never could get set point for themselves as they lost 26-24.

Down 2-1 in the match Purdue was able to hold of St. Louis 25-21. With the Billikens in the lead, 13-12, Purdue ripped off 9 of the next 10 points to go up 21-14. Stahl had four kills during the run while KiKi Jones added two to go with a block. Purdue looked to be in control but they let the match slip through their fingers losing 15-13. Purdue led 10-4 before the Billikens came to life and tied the set at 12. Purdue got a kill from Ashley Evans out of the a timeout but a Purdue error gave SLU match point which they converted on an ace. Both offenses were clicking in the last set; St. Louis outhit Purdue .579-.435.

Annie Drews led the Boilers with 17 kills to go with 2 aces. Azariah Stahl hit .500 converting 15 kills. KiKi Jones had 12 kills on 18 attempts in addition to contributing on 8 blocks. Sam Epenesa tallied 10 kills. Amanda Neill led Purdue with 19 digs and 3 aces. Ashley Evans had 12 digs. Val Nichol had an assist-dig double-double with 55 and 12.

Purdue had little trouble dispatching the Morehead State Eagles Friday night. Purdue hit .455 in the sweep. In game one Purdue pulled away from a 5-5 tie to go up 11-5. The Eagles were able to cut the lead to three but never got any closer as Purdue won 25-19. In the second set MSU only hit .057 to Purdue's .517 effort as Purdue had no hitting errors. Morehead lead early 5-1 but one Purdue quickly overtook them using a 11-3 run to go up 20-11. Purdue won 25-14. Purdue lead wire-to-wire in the final set. Morehead State pulled within one at 6-5, but again Purdue used a 11-3 to create some distance between them. Purdue won the set 25-12.

Nine different Boilers posted a kill in the set and seven had four or more kills. Six hitters hit at or above .500 on the night. Lydia Dimke had 8 putaways on 10 attempts. Val Nichol hit .778 posting 8 kills, and Azariah Stahl had 7 kills on 12 attempts. KiKi Jones was an efficient .556 with 5 kills, and Faye Adelaja hit .533 with 8 kills. Amanda Neill was the digs leader with eight. Nichol also had 27 assists.

To end their weekend Purdue faced Notre Dame.  There was a great turnout for the match in Mackey, and the girls did not disappoint the Purdue faithful. The Irish took the lead early going up 11-7, but Purdue overtook them and rode a 8-2 run to a 15-13 lead. Purdue lead the rest of way out winning 25-15. Sam Epenesa had five kills and two solo blocks in the set.  Like the first set ND lead early in the second, 10-6. After the set was tied at 14 the two teams exchanged points before Purdue went up 21-19. Purdue stretched their lead to 24-21. The Boilers were twice denied on set point before winning 25-23. Annie Drews had seven kills in the set. In the third set Purdue had the early lead, 9-4. Their lead shrunk to one though as Notre Dame was able to regroup out of a timeout. After that though the Boilers went on a 13-5 run to close the set and win 25-16. Purdue outhit ND .429-.107 in the set.

Drews was the kill leader with 12. Epenesa ended the night with eight, Stahl added seven and three other Boilers had six. Jones was a part of five blocks. Purdue had nine aces in the match; Lydia Dimke had three. Amanda Neill led the back row with 16 digs. Nichol had 38 assists.

Val Nichol was the tournament MVP. KiKi Jones and Kate Workman joined her on the All-Tournament team.

During the week of the tournament Purdue was ranked #11. In the latest rankings released Monday (9/22) they dropped to #15. #3 Penn State, #5 Wisconsin, #8 Nebraska, #16 Illinois, and #17 Minnesota also joined Purdue in the Top 25. Michigan dropped out of the Top 25 while Michigan State received votes.

This weekend Purdue hosts Michigan on Friday night and Michigan State on Saturday night. Michigan is 5-5 currently. So far this season they are 1-2 against teams in the Top 25. The Wolverines are led by 6'5 sophomore middle blocker Abby Cole. Cole hits at a .398 clip and averages 3.21 kills/set to go with 1.11 blocks/set. Outside hitter Ally Davis is averaging 3.38 kills/set. Michigan State is 7-4 currently. Sophomore outside hitter Chloe Reinig paces the Spartans with 3.15 kills/set. Allyssah Fitterer also contributes 2.92 kills/set. Their leading blocker is senior middle Jazmine White, 1.20 blocks/set.