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Purdue Volleyball Preview: Boilers Look to Get Back in the Win Column

Another weekend, another Top 3 matchup, such is life in the Big Ten

Shondell

This week might be a little easier for Purdue as they head out on the road, but they still face a big challenge in #3 Nebraska. Friday Purdue will take on Iowa at 8:00. Then on Sunday our Boilers will be back on ESPN2 when they take on #3 Nebraska at 3:00.

Iowa is much improved from last season. If Purdue struggles against the Hawkeyes like they did last year, it might be a five-set loss, not a five-set win. Nebraska was just upset last weekend at home against Ohio State, who interestingly enough has had their number the last few years. The Huskers will likely be on alert for any upset as that loss is still fresh in their minds.

After last week’s losses Purdue now stands at 11-4, 1-3 in conference, and now 2-3 against ranked foes. Our non-conference win over Washington State is looking better and better as Washington State has been terrorizing top ranked teams in the Pac-12 and risen to 10 in the AVCA rankings

Purdue should be hungry for a win Friday night, as they’ve gone almost two weeks without a win. If Danielle Cuttino and Azariah Stahl can continue their high level of production and we get the middles involved Purdue should come away with a win over Iowa. The bigger feat would be a win over Nebraska in their building. It seems unlikely that the Huskers would drop matches two weeks in a row, but we were able to get a win over then #9 Stanford on the road.

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

Fr. L 7 Natalie Haben- 3.4 D/S (12), 0.25 SA/S

Rs Fr. M 17 Blake Mohler- .328, 1.07 B/S

So. DS 3 Brooke Peters- 2.02 D/S

So. Opp 16 Sherridan Atkinson- 0.63 B/S

Jr. OH 10 Azariah Stahl- 3.19 K/S (14), 0.6 B/S, 2.32 D/S

Jr. OH 20 Danielle Cuttino- 3.93 K/S (5), .289, 0.65 B/S

Jr. S 5 Ashley Evans- 11.09 A/S (18, 4), 2.18 D/S, 0.28 SA/S

Sr. M 13 Faye Adelaja- 2.31 K/S, .436 (8, 2), 0.73 B/S

Iowa Preview

Iowa seems to be on an upswing, they have escaped the basement of the B1G. Right now they sit in the middle at 2-2. They also have already matched their win total from last year with a 12-4 record. The only ranked teams faced this season have been then #22 Michigan and #20 Michigan State. The Hawkeyes managed to get a set from Michigan before falling.

Key Players

Sr. OH 18 Lauren Brobst- 3.43 K/S (10), .344 (11)

Rs Fr. OH/Opp 5 Meghan Buzzerio- 2.44 K/S

Jr. MB 29 Jess Janota- 2.41 K/S, .344 (12), 0.65 B/S

So. OH 6 Kasey Reuter- 2.24 K/S, .296, 0.29 SA/S

So. Opp 8 Reghan Coyle- 2.0 K/S, .332, 0.8 B/S

Sr. MB/OH 4 Ashley Mariani- .337 (15), 0.86 B/S

Sr. S 10 Loxley Keala- 11.59 A/S (9, 2), 2.06 D/S

Jr. L 9 Annika Olsen- 4.24 D/S (3)

So. DS 1 Molly Kelly- 0.26 SA/S

Iowa is fairly balanced as setter Loxley Keala runs a balanced, efficient offense. The Hawkeyes hit .301 as a team, 4th best in the conference.

Nebraska Preview

After two missed upset opportunities last weekend, Purdue gets to take on the reigning National Champs on national TV Sunday. The Huskers (12-1, 3-1) are 5-1 against ranked foes this season. The Huskers did graduate two starters off last years squad, but have reloaded. The Rolfzen twins lead a veteran Nebraska team in their quest to win back-to-back National Titles.

Key Players

Sr. OH 6 Kadie Rolfzen- 3.27 K/S (13), .314, 0.32 SA/S, 2.52 D/S, 0.95 B/S

So. OH 2 Mikaela Foecke- 2.77 K/S, .291

Jr. MB 13 Briana Holman- 2.27 K/S, .363 (9), 1.16 B/S (13)

Sr. OH 9 Andie Malloy- 2.61 K/S

Sr. MB 5 Amber Rolfzen- .337 (15), 1.36 B/S (24, 4)

Jr. S 3 Kelly Hunter- 11.09 A/S (18, 4), 0.3 SA/S, 2.07 D/S, 0.89 B/S

Jr. OH 17 Annika Albrecht- 0.27 SA/S

Sr. L 4 Justine Wong-Orantes- 3.86 D/S (7)

Nebraska is an aggressive team. They are very skilled and do a lot of things well. Even more specifically Kadie Rolfzen does a lot of things well. The Huskers are second in the country in hitting percentage, .315 while limiting their opponents to .155, third best in the country. They also rank in the top five for digs, blocks, and aces per set. Sunday it’s all going to start with the pass for Purdue. If the Boilers can pass the serve and execute good ball control they will have a chance. Our outside hitters are great and when we can get the ball to our middles they can put it away, but they get limited opportunities. Purdue will have to rise to the occasion to get the upset in Lincoln.

B1G Standings

A brutal front end of the schedule has sunk Purdue in the standings, but they should be able to rebound through the course of the season.

RPI Rankings

The NCAA has released the first RPI rankings of the season. This antiquated tool is a favorite of the selection committee and this season it is very kind to our Boilers, unlike previous seasons.

Top 5

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Minnesota
  3. Texas
  4. Nebraska
  5. Stanford

Big Ten teams in the top 40

7. Purdue

12. Michigan

19. Michigan State

30. Penn State

31. Ohio State

40. Indiana

AVCA Rankings

Nebraska’s loss shuffled the top three teams and helped Ohio State leapfrog Purdue.

Top 5

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

Big Ten Teams

14. Ohio State

15. Penn State

17. Purdue

21. Michigan State

23. Michigan

24. Illinois

Minnesota will drop in the next week’s poll after losing to Penn State in five sets in Happy Valley Wednesday night.

There are a couple things about this week’s rankings that puzzle me a little. I’m surprised that Nebraska didn’t drop further. Yes, they lost to a ranked team, but they lost at home, in four sets. Earlier in the season Minnesota and Wisconsin dropped matches on the road to teams ranked higher than Ohio State was and dropped further than Nebraska did. I don’t doubt that Nebraska is still a top five team, but I think the loss should’ve weighed heavier, not trying to take anything away from Ohio State.

While I’m ranting... Washington State is being disrespected week after week. We hosted them the first weekend of the season and beat them in four sets. While they here WSU beat then #24 Kentucky. They didn’t really play anyone else in their non-conference slate and dropped their final non-conference match to Baylor in Waco in five sets; Baylor is now receiving votes. Then Washington State burst onto the scene winning three straight matches against Top 10 opponents. First week of conference play, while only receiving votes in the national poll, they went on the road to #4 Washington and beat the Huskies in four sets. That weekend they went to #9 UCLA and topped the Bruins in five sets. Finally cracking the Top 25 in the next week’s poll, #17 Washington State bested #9 Stanford in five sets. This week they rose to 10th in the poll, meanwhile two of the teams they beat are ranked ahead of them. Hopefully Purdue can knock off Nebraska and then we can be the next team to be disrespected by the AVCA voters.