It seems Purdue may be righting the ship after they picked up a win over Illinois. Purdue needed that win desperately after falling to lowly Northwestern. This weekend should be a good test. They aren’t playing the class of the Big Ten, but they are playing two very tough, competitive squads. Two wins this weekend could help Purdue gain some momentum for the second half of conference play.
Purdue (13-8, 3-7) had mixed results from their trip to Illinois. The Boilers started the weekend with a four-set loss to Northwestern giving the Wildcats their first win in conference play. It was an ugly error filled match, only two Purdue hitters hit over .200, and the teams combined for 25 service errors. Purdue was out-hit .185-.167. The next night Purdue was able to avenge their loss to Illinois by dealing the Illini a five set loss. The Boilers got the win despite being out-hit .221-.185. Great defense was key as Purdue had 70 digs compared to Illinois’ 52.
If Purdue can defend their home court they can pick up two quality wins this weekend. Friday night at 7:00 ET Purdue faces #13 Michigan. Saturday night at 7:00 ET Purdue will take on #15 Michigan state.
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- 2.19 D/S
Jr. S 5 Ashley Evans- 10.76 A/S (34, 5), 2.17 D/S, 0.26 SA/S
Fr. L 7 Natalie Haben- 3.11 D/S (11), 0.26 SA/S
Jr. OH 10 Azariah Stahl- 2.79 K/S, 2.33 D/S
Sr. M 13 Faye Adelaja- 2.23 K/S, .392 (23, 3), 0.75 B/S
So. Opp 16 Sherridan Atkinson- 0.62 B/S
Rs Fr. M 17 Blake Mohler- .300, 1.04 B/S
Jr. OH 20 Danielle Cuttino- 3.99 K/S (49, 3), .281
Azariah Stahl struggles have not ended, in conference play she is only hitting .071. Unfortunately Shondell has no one to replace her with so she has been forced to keep playing despite multiple negative hitting performances. Hopefully she can put together two good matches this week and spark a turnaround for herself and Purdue. While Z, has struggled in conference play Sherridan Atkinson and Brooke Peters have been thriving. Atkinson is hitting .286 and averaging 2.03 kills per set, both better than her season averages. Brooke Peters is averaging .28 aces a set, ninth best during conference play.
Last weekend Michigan ended Penn State’s 15-match win streak, defeating the Nittany Lions in five sets. The Wolverines have only one other win over a ranked team this season, then #14 Ohio State. Michigan is balanced and doesn’t commit a lot of hitting errors, keeping the ball in play. When Michigan does struggle however they are able to go to their bench, and they don’t miss a beat.
Jr. MB 1 Claire Kieffer-Wright- 2.03 K/S, .266, .95 B/S
Fr. S 9 MacKenzi Welsh- 10.48 A/S (8), 2.3 D/S
So. L 10 Jenna Lerg- 4.47 D/S (1)
Jr. OH 11 Adeja Lambert- 2.73 K/S
Jr. Opp 13 Katherine Mahlke- 2.04 K/S, .308
Rs Fr. MB 16 Cori Crocker- .272, 1.13 B/S (11)
Sr. MB/Opp 17 Abby Cole*- 3.28 K/S (8), .337 (15), 1.07 B/S (15)
So. OH 18 Carly Skjodt**- 2.1 K/S, .257
Sr. OH 44 Kelly Murphy- 2.45 K/S, .264, 0.28 SA/S (15)
Welsh has done a great job for a freshman setter, she leads the league with 11.28 assists per set in conference play. Lambert too is performing better during the conference slate averaging 3.3 kills per set, although she is not a regular starter. One key reserve for Michigan is redshirt senior Ally Davis. Davis has a pretty incredible story. She missed Michigan’s run to the Final Four years ago because she donated stem cells for her sister’s cancer treatment. She has also overcome an ACL injury.
* At the end of the volleyball season, the 6’5 Cole will join Michigan’s Women’s Basketball team playing this year and next.
** Skjodt is an Indy native and went to Carmel.
Michigan State Preview
Michigan State (17-5, 6-4) has a veteran squad that can serve tough and play with anyone. The Spartans nearly beat Nebraska in five sets and were able to beat Minnesota in five sets; Sparty is 3-4 against ranked teams this season. The Spartans are very balanced and can get kills all along the net from all of their hitters. Additionally the Spartan front line is imposing. Brooke Kranda is 6’6 and the only hitter shorter than 6’2 is Autumn Bailey who does a phenomenal job for being only 5’10. Michigan State’s height doesn’t directly correlate to a lot of blocks, but nonetheless gives them a menacing presence along the net. Another thing the Spartans do well is serve. Michigan State is the fifth best serving team in the country, best in the conference, averaging 1.97 service aces each set. In conference play that number drops a little to 1.74, but still is best in conference.
Jr. OH 2 Autumn Bailey- 3.21 K/S (11), 2.41 D/S, 0.3 SA/S (11)
Sr. OH 11 Chloe Reinig- 2.70 K/S, .8 B/S
Jr. MB 17 Alyssa Garvelink- 2.46 K/S, .383 (29, 4), 1.28 B/S (38, 6)
Jr. OH 18 Holly Toliver- 0.36 SA/S (5)
Sr. MB/Opp 6 Allyssah Fitterer- 2.17 K/S, .404 (16, 2) .61 B/S
Jr. OH/Opp 13 Brooke Kranda*- 2.12 K/S, .62 B/S, 0.52 SA/S (9,1)
Jr. S 12 Rachel Minarick- 10.23 A/S (11), 0.37 SA/S (3)
Jr. L 10 Abby Monson- 3.08 D/S (12)
Purdue will have to pass the ball better than they have all season to get a win over the Spartans, as MSU has four of the conference’s best servers. Garvelink has been able to elevate her game during conference play. Garvelink has been getting 1.43 blocks each set, third best in the league.
* Kranda is a Westfield native.
Big Ten Standings
- San Diego
Big Ten teams:
10. Penn State
15. Michigan State
19. Ohio State
Receiving votes- Purdue
- San Diego
Big Ten Teams in top 40:
14. Michigan State
22. Penn State
24. Ohio State