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Purdue Volleyball Preview: Minnesota and Nebraska

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The No. 16 Boilermakers hit the road to start a three game gauntlet of top ranked foes. First they’ll take on No. 6 Minnesota, then play No. 4 Nebraska and No. 2 Penn State at home.

Purdue vs Illinois in Mackey

Purdue has been able to ease into conference play to this point. The soft schedule though comes to an end this week as Purdue (15-2, 5-1) will finally face a ranked Big Ten team. They slipped up at home losing to Ohio State but otherwise have swept every other conference opponent as they’re tied for the second best conference record.

Wednesday night Purdue will take on Minnesota at 7:00 ET on BTN. Saturday at 7:00 ET Purdue host Nebraska in Mackey Arena.

If you’re in the area I implore you to go to the Nebraska. Should be a great environment and fantastic match. Students get in free and tickets are $5 for the lower bowl and $2 for the upper bowl. Also this match unfortunately will not be on TV, so you really should just go.

So far this season Purdue boasts one of the most potent offenses in the country, 14.75 kills per set, best in the Big Ten and fifth in the country, and .349 hitting percentage second only to Penn State. This is due in large part to Danielle Cuttino and Sherridan Atkinson. The two pin hitters can hit over and around any block and have a good arsenal of shots. Azariah Stahl also has improved from last season developing some much needed consistency. Additionally she’s grown as a passer and defender stabilizing Purdue’s back row.

It’s hard to win without contributions from middle blockers yet Purdue has been able to do it this season. Having elite pin hitters certainly helps but that might not be enough to win big matches in the Big Ten, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Key Players

class, height, position, # name , stats, (statistical rank nationally, in conference)
Positions: MB- middle blocker, OH- outside hitter, RS- right side 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

Jr. 5’9 L 3 Brooke Peters- 3.77 D/S (8)

Sr. 6’1 S 5 Ashley Evans- 11.68 A/S (9, 2), 0.36 SA/S (7)

So. 6’2 MB 9 Shavona Cuttino- 1.02 B/S (15)

Sr. 6’0 OH 10 Azariah Stahl- 2.55 K/S, .280, 2.41 D/S, 0.3 SA/S (15)

Jr. 6’5 OH/RS 16 Sherridan Atkinson- 3.4 K/S (9), .356 (13), 0.69 B/S

So. 6’2 M 17 Blake Mohler- 2.14 K/S .360 (11), 0.93 B/S

Sr. 6’4 OH 20 Danielle Cuttino- 4.24 K/S (30, 2), .373 (10), 0.73 B/S

Minnesota Preview

The Gophers (15-2, 4-2) reloaded this season and have been able to get major contributions from everyone in the their line-up. In non-conference play, heralded freshman Stephanie Samedy was the star of the show lighting up opponents averaging nearly 4.5 kills per set. She’s cooled in off in conference play but the rest of the Minnesota team has picked up the slack. Alexis Hart has carried Minnesota in conference play though recently she’s gotten help from Jasmyn Martin. All this is of course orchestrated by their All-American setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson who is one of the nation’s best. Her passers make her job easier but she is just a tremendous talent who runs Coach McCutcheon’s quick offense seamlessly. While Minnesota has an advantage at the setter position they have an even more profound advantage at the middle blocker position. Molly Lohman and Regan Pittman may not light it up offensively every night but they both put the ball away and rack up the blocks.

Key Players

Fr. 6’3 OH 1 Jasmyn Martin- 2.27 K/S, .229

Fr. 6’2 RS 10 Stephanie Samedy- 4.07 K/S (45, 3), .309, 2.8 D/S (14), 0.86 B/S

Jr. 5’11 S 11 Samantha Seliger-Swenson- 12.19 A/S (3, 1), 2.41 D/S, 0.29 SA/S

Sr. 6’3 MB 13 Molly Lohman- .385 (41, 7), 1.51 B/S (15, 4), 0.25 SA/S

Sr. 5’9 L 17 Dalianliz Rosado- 4.51 D/S (3)

So. 6’0 OH 19 Alexis Hart- 3.49 K/S (8), .265

Rs Fr. 6’5 MB 21 Regan Pittman- 2.22 K/S, .375 (9), 1.1 B/S (8)

Nebraska Preview

The Huskers (13-3, 6-0) took losses in non-conference play but have been on another level against Big Ten opponents. They’re balanced and fundamentally sound across the board. Even with their losses from last season they could contend for another conference championship. Already this season they’ve already beaten all other top contenders; Minnesota, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State. If Purdue would beat Nebraska they’d thrust themselves into that conversation.

Key Players

Jr. 6’3 OH 2 Mikaela Foecke- 3.18 K/S, .219, 2.51 D/S, 0.27 SA/S

Sr. 5’11 S 3 Kelly Hunter- 10.65 A/S (9), 2.7 D/S

Sr. 5’8 DS 7 Sydney Townsend- 2.35 D/S

Jr. 5’8 L 11 Kenzie Maloney- 4.18 K/S (5)

Fr. 6’3 OH 12 Jazz Sweet- 2.38 K/S, .295, 0.67 B/S

Sr. 6’1 MB 13 Briana Holman- 2.5 K/S, .336, 1.04 B/S

Sr. 6’0 OH 17 Annika Albrecht- 3.24 K/S (13), .265, 2.78 D/S

Rs. Fr. 6’4 MB 26 Lauren Stivrins- 2.27 K/S, .293, 0.98 B/S

Big Ten Standings

AVCA Rankings

  1. Florida (61)
  2. Penn State (1)
  3. Stanford (2)
  4. Nebraska
  5. Texas

(First-Place Votes)

Rest of Big Ten: #6 Minnesota, #10 Michigan State, #11 Wisconsin, #16 Purdue, RV Michigan, and RV Illinois

RPI Rankings

The first RPI rankings of the season were released last week, making this week the second set.

  1. Penn State
  2. Florida
  3. Kentucky
  4. Minnesota
  5. Nebraska
  6. Texas
  7. Stanford
  8. Oregon
  9. Utah
  10. Washington

Rest of the Big Ten: #11 Wisconsin, #13 Purdue, #15 Michigan State,#22 Illinois, #29 Ohio State, #36 Michigan, #39 Maryland, #47 Iowa, #48 Northwestern, #76 Indiana, and #231 Rutgers

Based on the latest RPI standings Purdue is 5-2 against the RPI top 50.