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Purdue Volleyball Hosts No. 1 Friday Night

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Purdue has a chance to knock off No. 1 Friday evening when Penn State comes to town. Boilers will cap their weekend with a match against Rutgers.

Purdue Volleyball

With five Big Ten teams in the top 10 there are a plethora of upset opportunities for the other nine teams in the league. Purdue has a marquee opportunity Friday evening against No. 1 Penn State. On Saturday, win or lose, they’ll get to reset against last place Rutgers.

Friday’s match with Penn State will be at 8:00 ET on BTN. Purdue will then face the Scarlet Knights at 7:00 ET on Saturday.

Purdue (15-4, 5-3) was able to get one win over a ranked opponent in non-conference play but they haven’t been able to do it again since. When the pressure is on Purdue has wilted. Despite boasting the fourth best hitting percentage in the country, .327, Purdue has hit only .247 against ranked opponents; that number drops to .192 when you take out the match against Creighton. In their losses Purdue has hit .197 and averaged 4.38 true hitting errors (hitting the ball out or into the the net, not into the block), which is higher than their season average of 2.96. Purdue has to play cleaner if they’re going to upset the top teams in the conference and win in the NCAA Tournament. While some errors can be attributed to playing a great team who puts up a good block, Purdue simply needs to keep more balls in play.

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- 3.84 D/S (8)

Sr. 6’1 S 5 Ashley Evans- 11.6 A/S (10, 2), 2.11 D/S, 0.32 SA/S (10)

Sr. 6’0 OH 10 Azariah Stahl- 2.52 K/S, .268, 2.41 D/S, 0.29 SA/S (15)

Jr. 6’5 OH/RS 16 Sherridan Atkinson- 3.34 K/S (11), .322 (13), 0.66 B/S

So. 6’2 M 17 Blake Mohler- 2.08 K/S .349 (12), 0.95 B/S

Sr. 6’4 OH 20 Danielle Cuttino- 4.23 K/S (29, 2), .340 (15), 0.73 B/S

Penn State Preview

Penn State (17-1, 6-1) is nearly the same team they were last season, all their starters are back but some players are in different roles. This season Coach Russ Rose has his team running a 6-2 offense. Last season he went back and forth between using Abby Detering and Bryanna Weiskircher as his starting setter but this season they’re splitting the duties with Detering attacking when she’s in the front row. This certainly seems to be working for Penn State as they’ve only dropped one match this season and beat the returning champs, Stanford, twice.

The Nittany Lions are led by two dynamic hitters, Simone Lee and Haleigh Washington. Washington is one of the best middle blockers in the country and boasts an insane .506 hitting percentage; literally every other time she hits the ball it’s a kill. This could certainly be disastrous for Purdue as they are especially weak at middle blocker. The Boilers will have to serve tough and try keep Penn State out of system so they can’t set Washington. Defensively, Purdue will have to pay attention to Lee and Washington so they don’t have career nights. It will also help if they can make the other hitters uncomfortable, force them into some errors.

Key Players

So. 5’5 L 3 Kendall White*- 3.56D/S (9)

Sr. 6’1 OH 5 Ali Frantti- 2.45 K/S, .275

Sr. 6’0 S/RS 7 Abby Detering- 1.4 K/S, .357, 5.48 A/S (15), 2.08 D/S, 0.25 SA/S (13)

Sr. 6’3 MB 15 Haleigh Washington- 2.94 K/S, .506 (1), 1.46 B/S (19, 4)

Sr. 6’2 RS 19 Heidi Thelen- .377, 0.95 B/S

Jr. 6’0 S 21 Bryanna Weiskircher- 6.68 A/S (13),

Sr. 6’1 OH 22 Simone Lee- 4.08 K/S (40, 4), .342 (14), 2.03 D/S,

*White is from Indy where she attended Cathedral

Rutgers Preview

The talent disparity between Rutgers and rest of the Big Ten is incredible. Coach CJ Werneke has looked abroad to try infuse some talent into his program but so far its not enough. Rutgers is tied for last in the league and last in most important statistical categories; kills, hitting percentage, opponent hitting percentage, and opponent service aces.

Key Players

Jr. 5’10 OH 3 Sahbria McLetchie- 2.67 K/S

So. 6’2 MB 6 Stasa Miljevic- .257, 0.87 B/S 0.26 SA/S

So. 5’10 S 10 Megan Sharkey- 7.91 A/S (12), 0.26 SA/S

So. 6’0 RS 13 Jillian Duffin- 2.53 K/S,

So. 5’8 L 15 Karysa Swackenberg- 2.79 D/S (14)

Fr. 5’11 RS 17 Kamila Cieslik- 2.85 K/S,0.43 SA/S (31, 2), 0.68 B/S

Big Ten Standings

AVCA Rankings

  1. Penn State (48)
  2. Stanford (12)
  3. Texas (1)
  4. Florida (2)
  5. Minnesota
  6. Kentucky (1)

(First-place votes)

Big Ten teams: #7 Nebraska, #9 Wisconsin, #10 Michigan State, #17 Purdue, RV Illinois, RV Michigan.

Former, undefeated No. 1 Florida was beat at home by then No. 8 Kentucky in four sets allowing Penn State to become to fifth different team to hold the No. 1 spot this season.

RPI

Purdue came in at 14 in this week’s RPI. The Boilermakers are 3-4 against the RPI top 50.