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Purdue Volleyball: Penn State and Rutgers Preview

Purdue is still looking for their second conference win; Boilers host #10 Penn State and Rutgers this weekend.

Purdue Volleyball

Purdue needs some redemption. After a great showing in non-conference play Purdue has struggled mightily in conference play going 1-5 through the first six matches. Three losses did come at the hands of top three teams, but Purdue is losing matches they shouldn’t; two five-setters at home and another five-set loss at Iowa. At the very least they’ll come out of this weekend with their second conference win, but a 3-5 record could turn things around for Purdue.

Both matches this weekend will be on BTN. The Boilers will take on Penn State (14-3, 6-0) Friday night at 8:00 ET and Rutgers (4-15, 0-6) Saturday night at 8:30 ET. If you’re going to be in town for homecoming go to a match. If football loses Saturday you’ll be guaranteed to see a win Saturday night against Rutgers.

Purdue has yet to play a complete match where both phases of their game were 100% on in conference. They’ll show it for a set here and there, but never the whole match. Even if Purdue goes 1-1 this weekend they can’t feel that good about it. They’ve buried themselves in the standings and it’s looking less and less likely that they would get to host during the NCAA Tournament. If Purdue can pick up some wins over ranked teams they can get back in that conversation; they are #1 in strength of schedule and #8 in the latest RPI. If they can weather this storm and learn from this stretch they can be successful in the postseason.

Passing will be key this weekend, each Boiler hitter has shown flashes of brilliance but they can’t do anything if there’s a bad pass that forces them to hit out of system. That said when it is out of system the Boilers have to limit errors and keep the ball in play. Our lack of depth doesn’t allow for substitutions for someone is having an off night which was an issue against Iowa. It is up to these girls to turn it around and it can start with a win over Penn State.

Key Players

class, position, # name , stats, (statistical rank nationally, in the conference)

Postions: M- middle blocker, OH- outside hitter, Opp- opposite hitter, DS- defensive specialist, L- libero, S- setter

Stats: K/S- kills/set, B/S- blocks/set, D/S- digs/set, .000- hitting percentage, A/S- assists/set, SA/S service aces/set

So. DS 3 Brooke Peters- 2.12 D/S

Jr. S 5 Ashley Evans- 10.82 A/S (27, 5), 2.18 D/S, 0.29 SA/S

Fr. L 7 Natalie Haben- 3.36 D/S (10)

Jr. OH 10 Azariah Stahl- 2.97 K/S, 2.22 D/S

Sr. M 13 Faye Adelaja- 2.25 K/S, .409 (15, 3), 0.74 B/S

So. Opp 16 Sherridan Atkinson- 0.62 B/S

Rs Fr. M 17 Blake Mohler- .332, 1.06 B/S

Jr. OH 20 Danielle Cuttino- 3.89 K/S (4), .281, 0.65 B/S

Natalie Haben only played one set against Iowa and did not play against Nebraska. I am not sure what her status is this weekend. In her absence sophomore Brooke Peters has played libero and junior Linnea Rohrsen has been shuffled into the lineup.

Penn State Preview

Penn State is perfect so far in conference play, and hasn’t lost a match since September 4th. They dropped a match at home to then #19 UNC the first weekend of play then went on the road and lost to #9 Stanford and Colorado. The Nittany Lions are 3-2 against ranked opponents; most impressive was their five set win over #1 Minnesota.

Key Players

Fr. L 3 Kendall White*- 3.72 D/S (7)

Jr. OH 5 Ali Frantti- 2.19 K/S

Jr. S 7 Abby Detering- 10.47 A/S (31, 6), 2.04 D/S, 0.28 SA/S

Rs Fr. MB 11 Tori Gorrell- .373, 1.17 B/S (9)

Jr. MB 15 Haleigh Washington- 2.45 K/S, .459 (3,1), 1.14 B/S (12)

Jr. MB 19 Heidi Thelen- .346 (10), 0.77 B/S

Jr. OH 22 Simone Lee- 4.16 K/S (35, 1), .299, 0.6 B/S

Penn State is a strong hitting team; they outhit their opponents .314-.109. Simone Lee leads the Nittany Lion offensive and Haleigh Washington is fierce out of the middle. Against Minnesota Lee had 30 kills. Penn State’s other pin hitter are dependable. Tori Gorrell is pretty much strictly a blocker and doesn’t get a lot of sets. This can help Purdue as the middle blocker can ignore her and shade to one pin or the other. If Purdue can keep Penn State out of system and execute ball control they’ll have a chance.

*White is a graduate of Cathedral in Indy and was the 2015-2016 Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year

Rutgers Preview

Rutgers doesn’t even have a fraction of the talent necessary to be competitive in the Big Ten. Against some conference teams the Scarlet Knights have only managed five points in a set. They’ll duke it out with Maryland and Northwestern for champion of the basement of the B1G.

Key Players

Jr. OH 5 Meme Fletcher- 2.69 K/S, 2.17 D/S

Sr. Opp 8 Cole Trimble- 0.67 B/S

Fr. L 15 Karysa Swackenberg- 3.09 D/S (12), 0.25 SA/S

So. MB 14 Tiaja McKnight- 1.0 B/S

Sr. Opp 17 Lauren Cloyd- 2.28 K/S, 0.95 B/S

Fr. MB 18 Jasmine Stackhouse- 1.14 B/S (12)

Sr. MB 23 Mikaela Matthews- .326, 1.19 B/S (8)

Big Ten Standings

AVCA Rankings

Top 5

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Nebraska
  3. Minnesota
  4. Texas
  5. San Diego

Big Ten teams:

10. Penn State

14. Michigan State

18. Michigan

19. Ohio State

22. Purdue

24. Illinois

RPI Standings

Top 5

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Texas
  3. Nebraska
  4. Minnesota
  5. San Diego

Big Ten Teams in top 40:

8. Purdue

10. Michigan

12. Michigan State

22. Penn State

30. Ohio State

If you’re not in town, be sure to tune in to BTN both nights.