Iowa State had no answer for the Purdue offense, despite boasting great back line defenders as, Purdue outhit the Cyclones .454-.343.
Purdue struggled with ball handling and trailed nearly the whole first set til they got to set point. Danielle Cuttino was phenomenal in the first set and carried Purdue with nine kills, hitting .615 during the set. Purdue held the lead for a point in the early going, otherwise the Cyclones were able to answer each time Purdue tied the score. Down 23-21, Purdue was able to tie the score again with kills from Cuttino and Blake Mohler. Iowa State answered with a tip for a kill. On set point, Ashley Evans managed a nice one-handed set out to Azariah Stahl on the first ball who slammed it home to even the score at 24. On the next point Stahl teamed with Faye Adelaja for block to get Purdue to set point. Stahl was clutch again on Purdue’s set point putting down a kill cross court that just caught the line as the Boilers won 26-24.
The second set was closely contested, but again Purdue closed out strong winning 25-21. A 4-1 run early put Purdue in front 8-6, and from there the teams traded blows for a stretch. Iowa State made a run and the teams went on to trade the lead three teams, as the Cyclones went up 20-19. The teams then traded kills. Down one, with a chance to go up two sets to none, Purdue reeled of a five point run to take the set. Cuttino got it started with a first ball kill, and later Atkinson put down a kill after nice dig from Stahl. Ashley Evans dropped a serve in front of the 10-foot line that dropped between a couple of Cyclones as Purdue had ISU on the ropes. Purdue clinched the set with a triple block.
The Boilers left no doubt in the third set with an early run on Natalie Haben’s serve. A Cuttino cross-court kill sent Haben to the service line. She then served four aces, the first was mishandled straight down, the next two shanked out of bounds, and on the last one Iowa State was called out of rotation as they shifted players to pull the passer out who had committed the serve receive errors. Iowa State was able to pass the next two balls, but Purdue got the dig and Danielle Cuttino put it way for the Boilers capping a 7-0 run. The Cyclones scored two in a row but for the rest of the match Purdue was able to sideout on the Cyclone serve. Purdue wound up winning 25-13 after hitting .522.
Danielle Cuttino led the high powered Boiler offense with 21 kills on 31 attempts hitting .613 and had three blocks. Sherridan Atkinson and Blake Mohler also hit over .500, .529 and .556 respectively. Atkinson finished with 10 kills and Mohler tallied five to go with three blocks. Faye Adelaja had 8 kills and hit .333. Ashley Evans put up 44 assists to go with eight digs. Natalie Haben had five aces on the night and pulled up 10 digs. Purdue outhit Iowa State .454-.343 and out-blocked them 5-1. Purdue also outperformed the Cyclones vaunted back row defense with 43 digs to 33.
Purdue will face Missouri Friday night at 7:00 ET on ESPN3.
These two teams have some history. Purdue leads the series 3-0, but the last matchup between the Boilers and the Tigers came at the same juncture in the season in the same building. In 2013 Missouri was undefeated and the No. 4 seed in the tournament. Purdue beat them in their own building in four sets to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Purdue only has two holdovers from the 2013 squad; Ashley Evans was redshirting that season, and Faye Adelaja who was a redshirt freshman middle for the Boilers. Three Tigers were also involved in that match-up including two key players Carly Kan and Emily Thater.
Missouri (26-5, 16-2) was the SEC Co-Champion with Florida. In the last RPI they came in at 9th and were ranked 18th in the latest AVCA poll. This year is the Tigers 13th NCAA Tournament appearance, all of which have came during, current coaches, Wayne and Susan Kreklow’s tenure. The Tigers are 11-12 in tournament play, last season they advanced to the second round where they lost to Kansas.
This season Missouri was 10-2 in the Hearnes Center. Two of those wins were over teams ranked in the top 25; No. 21 Kentucky and No. 5 Florida. The Tigers also beat Kentucky in Lexington to pick up another win over a ranked opponent; their lone loss to a ranked opponent was to No. 10 BYU. The only opponent in common for Purdue and Missouri was Kentucky, which Purdue fell to at home in five sets.
The Tigers are led by their outside hitters Melanie Crow and Carly Kan who both play six rotations. Crow has a big arm swing which she also uses at the service line, unleashing a vicious top-spin jump serve. Kan is undersized at only 5’9, but has a good vertical and a big arm. She also is a very intelligent, crafty hitter who picks her shots and spots judiciously. Crow and Kan are a part of the offense in all six rotations and allow Mizzou to pick up some points on some of out of system balls. They are complemented by a couple of effective middle blockers and right pin hitter.
Missouri has an advantage at the left pin as both outsides are so consistent. Azariah Stahl played well against Iowa State, but will likely need to play even better against Missouri if Purdue is going to advance.
class, position, # name , stats, (statistical rank nationally)
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- 2.31 D/S
Jr. S 5 Ashley Evans- 10.77 A/S (40), 2.04 D/S
Fr. L 7 Natalie Haben- 3.09 D/S
Jr. OH 10 Azariah Stahl- 2.52 K/S, 2.35 D/S
Sr. M 13 Faye Adelaja~- 2.26 K/S, .365 (40), 0.87 B/S
So. Opp 16 Sherridan Atkinson- 2.07 K/S, .262
Rs Fr. M 17 Blake Mohler- .294, 0.94 B/S
Jr. OH 20 Danielle Cuttino*- 4.03 K/S (47), .264, 0.61 B/S
~All-Big Ten Honorable Mention
*All-Big Ten selection
Jr. OH 1 Melanie Crow^- 3.87 K/S, .251, 2.17 D/S, 0.43 SA/S (28)
Sr. MB 2 Emily Thater- .299, 0.94 B/S
Jr. S 4 Courtney Eckenrode- 9.62 A/S
So. MB 8 Alyssa Munlyn^- .430 (4), 1.28 (44)
Sr. OH 9 Carly Kan^- 3.12 K/S, 3.00 D/S
Jr. Opp/MB 10 Kira Larson- 2.14 K/S, .304, 0.71 B/S
Sr. L 13 Alexa Ethridge- 3.70 D/S
^ All-SEC selection
# Head Coach Wayne Krecklow was named SEC Coach of the Year