Purdue (15-10, 5-9) is still in the bottom half of the conference, but they’re playing much better lately. The Boilers struggled a little against Maryland then nearly upset #3 Wisconsin last week. Purdue still has plenty of opportunities to prove themselves in the last three weeks of the regular season.
Maryland made things hard on Purdue all night. Purdue answered the bell though getting the win in four sets.
The lead changed hands six times in the first set. Purdue took a 3-0 lead to start the match. From then on neither team had more than a two point advantage. Down 22-21 Purdue scored four of the next five to win the set 25-23. Sherridan Atkinson had two kills during the stretch. The first tied the score and the second got Purdue set point.
It looked like the second set was going to be another slugfest then Purdue turned it on winning 25-15. The set was tied at 13 then the Boilers finishing the set on a 12-2 run. Azariah Stahl led the effort with four kills during the run, and Blake Mohler had two blocks.
Maryland was a different team in third set. After committing 10 hitting errors in the second set, the Terrapins only had one in the third set as they hit .556. A quick little 4-0 run at the beginning of the set that put Maryland up 5-2 was difference. Purdue was never able recover and Maryland steadily grew their lead with little runs; the Boilers lost 25-16.
Maryland carried over some momentum to the fourth set using a five-point run to go in front 11-5. At this point Purdue started the slow climb out of the hole they’d dug. The Boilers wouldn’t take the lead from the Terrapins until they’d already had two set points. Down 24-23 Atkinson and Mohler combined to stuff Maryland, keeping the set going. The Terrapins started to fall apart, first a hitting error. They momentarily regrouped putting down a kill, giving them their second set point, 25-24. Fortunately for Purdue, Maryland missed their serve, and had a hitting error on the next point giving Purdue their first match point. This time Purdue missed their serve and it was tied again at 26. Veterans Faye Adelaja and Ashley Evans closed it out though putting down kills to give Purdue the 28-26 win.
Danielle Cuttino led Purdue with 22 kills. Azariah Stahl added 12 and hit .310. Sherridan Atkinson had seven blocks; Blake Mohler contributed four. Ashley Evans had a double-double with 47 assists and 10 digs. Brooke Peters led all passers with 20 digs. Natalie Haben and Carissa Damler both pulled up 13 digs.
Purdue came close to avenging a five-set, home loss to the Badgers but faltered in the fifth set.
Purdue found themselves in a little hole early in the fifth set. A 6-2 deficit ballooned to 12-5 as Wisconsin dominated along the net. Down 10-5, Purdue set Sherridan Atkinson who was denied by the Badger block. The same thing happened the next point. Purdue had a little surge late scoring three in a row to cut the lead to four, 13-9. Danielle Cuttino put down a kill on match point extending the match temporarily. Wisconsin got a kill on the ensuing point, winning 15-10. The Badgers hit .323 as they didn’t commit a single hitting error in the fifth set.
The lead changed hands six times in the first set. Wisconsin took the lead late in the first set with a 4-0 run, going up 19-17. What was frustrating about it was that three of those points were Purdue attack errors. Purdue kept battling, after a Boiler service error Blake Mohler put down a kill to keep Wisconsin from getting to set point, 23-22. Purdue couldn’t stop the Badgers on the next two points though as Wisconsin won the set 25-22.
Purdue kept Wisconsin at bay through most of the second set then they came undone. On the brink of a set point Purdue shrank. Wisconsin ran off four in a row, including two blocks, to get their own set point, 24-23. Sherridan Atkinson was able to put one down and tied the score at 24 to keep Purdue alive. An Ashley Evans attack error gave Wisconsin a second chance which my made good on, winning the set 26-24.
Faye Adelaja was the hero for Purdue in the third set putting away seven kills. Down 18-16, Purdue went on tow outscore Wisconsin 9-4 due in large part to five Adelaja kills. Three Adelaja kills and one from Cuttino gave Purdue their largest lead of the set, 23-19. The duo weren’t done though and both added one more kill as Purdue won 25-22.
Purdue won the fourth set easily 25-16 after a good start to the set. The Boilers broke a 4-all tie with a 6-0 run. Wisconsin cut the lead to three a handful of times, but never got closer as Purdue later pushed their lead to nine.
Faye Adelaja led Purdue with 21 kills on 29 attempts, only one error (.690), and six blocks. Danielle Cuttino had 19 kills, hitting .275 to go with four blocks. Natalie Haben anchored the back row with 25 digs; Peters added 16 and Damler managed 10 digs. Blake Mohler and Azariah Stahl both had six blocks. Ashley Evans had 56 assists.
Purdue actually outdid Wisconsin in most major statistics hitting percentage: .232-.209, blocks: 16-10, digs: 75-69, service errors: 6-13. One glaring issue though was block errors as we had seven and the Badgers didn’t have any.
Purdue is still a little inconsistent but they seem to be trending up. It would’ve been great to see Purdue just sweep Maryland but they redeemed themselves by playing so well in Madison.
The Boilers will be back in action Wednesday night at Michigan State. Saturday night they host Iowa for Senior Night as they will be honoring Faye Adelaja.