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Purdue Volleyball Preview: IU and Penn State

Boilers hit the road to take on the Hoosiers and #15 Penn State

The Boilermakers are on the road from here on out. Road wins could substantially boost Purdue’s resume. Purdue will face two ranked teams in the last two weeks. The team has played much better in the second half of conference play but hasn’t had a signature win in conference play. They were able to beat then #13 Michigan when they hosted the Wolverines, but that just isn’t the same as a win over Penn State on the road. Wins over Stanford and Kansas in non-conference play are thus far this team’s greatest wins.

Purdue (16-11, 6-10) will look to pick up two more conference wins this weekend. Boilers face IU Wednesday evening at 7:00 ET. Saturday night they travel to take on Penn State at 7:00 ET.

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- 2.33 D/S

Jr. S 5 Ashley Evans- 10.83 A/S (37, 5), 2.09 D/S, 0.25 SA/S

Fr. L 7 Natalie Haben- 3.16 D/S (12)

Jr. OH 10 Azariah Stahl- 2.63 K/S, 2.3 D/S

Sr. M 13 Faye Adelaja- 2.39 K/S, .379 (29, 4), 0.87 B/S

So. Opp 16 Sherridan Atkinson- 0.62 B/S

Rs Fr. M 17 Blake Mohler- .268, 0.99 B/S

Jr. OH 20 Danielle Cuttino- 4.06 K/S (46, 3), .265, 0.62 B/S

Indiana Preview

The Hoosiers are 16-13 on the season and 5-11 in conference play. They’ve had a couple upset wins this season over Michigan and Ohio State, but haven’t any sort of sustained success. Purdue crushed IU, in Mackey, during the first matchup. Purdue was phenomenal that night, hitting .517, committing only six hitting errors. Purdue likely won’t be able to repeat that performance, but should get the sweep nonetheless. IU has a couple of decent players, but no depth.

Key Players

Sr. MB 5 Jazzmine McDonald- 203 K/S, .381 (28, 3), 0.84 B/S

Sr. L 6 Taylor Lebo- 3.55 D/S (10), 0.35 SA/S (3)

Sr. S 9 Megan Tallman- 9.04 A/S (11), 0.29 SA/S (13)

Sr. OH 11 Allison Hammond- 3.41 K/S (7), 0.3 SA/S (10)

Fr. MB 16 Deyshia Lofton- 0.97 B/S

Rs Fr. OH 17 Kendall Beerman- 2.77 K/S

Penn State Preview

Penn State cruised through the first half of their conference schedule winning nine in a row. They then ran into the top three and dropped a five setter to Michigan. The Nittany Lions haven’t completely recovered from the losing stretch as they just lost on the road to Ohio State. One consequence has been uncertainty regarding their starting setter. Russ Rose has been alternating between having Abby Detering and Bryanna Weiskircher running the offense for Penn State. Symone Lee’s production has been unaffected but the rest of the offense has been a little inconsistent. Purdue’s best chance is if this trend persists. The Boilers will have clean up hitting errors too. In the first matchup they hit .137, committing 21 hitting errors. If Purdue can serve tough and keep the ball in play, not give points away, they’ll have a shot. What will be key is whether they can neutralize Haleigh Washington by not letting Penn State put up good passes.

Key Players

Fr. L 3 Kendall White*- 4.01 D/S (7)

Jr. OH 5 Ali Frantti- 2.31 K/S

Jr. S 7 Abby Detering- 9.82 A/S (10), 0.31 SA/S (9)

Rs Fr. MB 11 Tori Gorrell- .350, 1.02 B/S

Jr. MB 15 Haleigh Washington- 2.46 K/S, .450 (1), 1.2 B/S (9)

Jr. MB 19 Heidi Thelen- .297, 0.77 B/S

Jr. OH 22 Simone Lee- 4.23 K/S (33, 1), .272

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

Big Ten Standings

AVCA Rankings

Top 5

  1. Nebraska
  2. Minnesota
  3. Wisconsin
  4. Kansas
  5. Florida

Big Ten teams:

13. Michigan State

15. Penn State

18. Michigan

24. Ohio State

Receiving votes- Purdue

The Big Ten still has a stranglehold on the top three but are down from a season high of nine teams in the top 25 to only seven. The next closest conference is the Pac-12 with six teams.

RPI Standings

Top 5

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

Big Ten Teams:

11. Michigan State

15. Michigan

21. Purdue

25. Penn State

29. Ohio State

48. Indiana

50. Illinois

60. Iowa

113. Maryland

147. Northwestern

190. Rutgers

To demonstrate how messed up the RPI is, Texas lost last week to Iowa State who comes in at 30 in this week’s RPI, yet the Longhorns rose from 2nd to 1st. Wisconsin didn’t lose but they dropped from 1st to 3rd, although having to go five sets with #147 Northwestern was probably a factor. Nebraska who didn’t lose, rose from 3rd to 2nd, but two wins apparently are not better than a win and a loss from Texas who is 2-2 in the last two weeks; the Huskers haven’t loss since the first of October.

Not a big deal for teams at the top but it can hurt teams hoping for an at-large bid, as RPI is the selection committee’s seemingly favorite metric to use when deciding at-large bids.

NCAA Projection

Last week the NCAA this year released projected top 10 seeds for the tournament. The top 16 seeds host the first and second round matches. This year the regional semi-finals and finals will be held at the highest ranked seed remaining in the regional, giving a distinct home-court advantage to the top four seeds, providing they win both matches the first weekend. The top four teams will not leave home til they travel to the Final Four in Columbus, barring a loss.

Projected Top 10 Seeds

  1. Nebraska
  2. Minnesota
  3. Wisconsin
  4. Texas
  5. San Diego
  6. Kansas
  7. Stanford
  8. North Carolina
  9. Florida
  10. Washington

I don’t like this change to campus regionals. Nebraska specifically comes to mind. If this was the case last year they never would have left the state, as the National Championship was played in Omaha. I don’t know what the attendance numbers have been at the regionals historically, and they will likely see a bump moving them to campuses, but I wonder if we’ll see more Final Fours with the top four seeds, or only the hosts of the regionals making the Final Four. Part of being a champion or the best team in the country is taking your show on the road and winning in less than friendly confines. There always has been an advantage for some schools as they have larger fan bases or they are closer to the regional site, but putting it in their back yard heightens that advantage. First weekend at home is nice, but after that they should have to play at a neutral site.

Looking at the projected top four they all play in arenas that seat 4,000+. Nebraska’s arena is the largest with a capacity of 7,907 which they regularly stuff with 8,210 spectators. Texas has the lowest average attendance and percent capacity drawing 2,381 fans on average, 59% capacity. Three of the four have only had one loss at home this season and Minnesota has not lost at home since the 2014 season. Last year the top three seeds made the Final Four. These teams are good, they don’t need a boost from a home crowd.

That said, outside of the Big Ten the potential home court advantage is not as distinct. Nine of fourteen Big Ten schools fill over half their arena each night. Seven of the eight top drawing programs this season, based on average attendance, are in the Big Ten. Four more B1G schools draw over a 1000 a match, with Northwestern, the 13th place team in conference, falling just short averaging, 995.

I can’t imagine many coaches outside of those of top seeded teams would be in favor of campus regionals, but it will interesting to see reactions as we get closer to the tournament and regionals, especially if they wind up in Lincoln, Madison, and Minneapolis. So far I haven’t seen any quotes from any coaches as to what their opinion is. I could also be jumping the gun and or overreacting as this year is unique that the top three teams in the country are in the same conference. This might not happen again, nonetheless the regionals should be played at neutral sites, in my opinion.