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Purdue Volleyball: Signing Day Recap and Weekend Preview

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Purdue Volleyball signed four athletes who all have been named to PrepVolleyball’s top 100 seniors list. Boilers host two top 10 foes this weekend in Holloway, No. 5 Minnesota and No. 10 Wisconsin.

Shondell

Signing Day Recap

Purdue will graduate four seniors this year all of whom play, three of which are starters. While Shondell has already found a replacement for setter Ashley Evans in freshman Hayley Bush. He’ll need to fill out the rest of his roster to replace the contributions of Carissa Damler, Azariah Stahl and Danielle Cuttino. This year’s class adds some depth and skill to Purdue’s front row and will bolster Purdue’s passing game. Marissa Hornung, Grace Cleveland, Jael Johnson and Garrett Joiner are this year’s signees.

Marissa “Moe” Hornung from Clarksville, Indiana will join the Boilermakers next season. Hornung was a standout outside hitter at Providence. This past season she led Providence to semi-state where they lost to Avon and fellow Purdue signee, Jael Johnson. Over the course of her career Hornung elevated Providence’s program from 2A to 4A, winning a 2A and 3A state title and a 3A runner-up finish in 2016. Hornung finished her high school career with 1556 kills, 1381 digs and 139 aces. Hornung was named to AVCA’s Under Armour First-Team All-America list. PrepVolleyball was not quite as high on Hornung as the AVCA listing her at 54th in their recruiting rankings; they’ve also tabbed her as a first team defensive dandy. During her sophomore year of school, though, she was PrepVolleyball’s National Sophomore of the Year.

Purdue’s next signee, Grace Cleveland, attended Normal Community in Illinois, after moving from Milwaukee. This past season she averaged 4.9 kills per set, 1.1 blocks per set, and 2.7 digs per set. Cleveland is a 6’2 middle blocker and was recognized by the AVCA as an Honorable Mention Selection. PrepVolleyball was more kind recognizing her as the 13th best player in the class of 2018 and 8th best middle blocker in the class. This past summer Cleveland trained with the USA Junior A1 Training Team.

Another in-state product, Jael Johnson, 6’3, was an AVCA Honorable Mention All-American from Avon where she played middle blocker. Johnson was ranked 74th in the Class of 2018 by PrepVolleyball. Over the course of her Avon career Johnson amassed 1353 kills and averaged 1.0 block per set.

Purdue also added some height at the pin with the signing of 6’3, outside hitter Garrett Joiner. Joiner hails from Brentwood, TN where she helped lead her team to their fifth consecutive class AAA state title this fall. Joiner was ranked 93rd in PrepVolleyball’s list of 100 senior aces. She has the capability to play at either pin giving Purdue even more height. Joiner also has a well-rounded game and could develop into a six rotation player.

Purdue has one more committee who did not sign Wednesday, Emma Terwilliger from Valparaiso.

As for the rest of the Under Armour All-Americans, Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon, and Penn State are all picking up four with the Ducks adding three first-teamers to their roster next season.

Match Recap

Since the match with Penn State, Purdue has went 3-2. They were able to sweep Rutgers immediately following the Penn State match then swept Ohio State avenging the earlier season loss. Purdue then dropped the next two, losing in five sets to Maryland on the road then taking a set off No. 6 Nebraska before losing in Lincoln. The Boilers were able to salvage the road trip with a hard fought five set win over Iowa.

In the loss to Nebraska, Purdue was able to outperform the Huskers in many key categories but couldn’t win the crucial points and loss the serve-pass game. Sherridan Atkinson and Danielle Cuttino posted identical hitting lines, 20 kills and 2 errors on 40 swings, hitting .450. Against Iowa Cuttino turned in another show stopping hitting .535, 27 kills, and 7 blocks. Also when it counted Purdue got it done, hitting .647 in the fifth set. Ashley Evans cemented her place in Purdue’s record books recording her 1000th dig against Iowa. With it she becomes the 18th Boilermaker to tally 1000 digs, but the first to record 3000 assists and 1000 digs.

Weekend Preview

With only three weeks left in conference play Purdue (18-7, 8-6) is running out of time to bolster the tournament resume. Lucky for them they have to golden opportunities this weekend at home. Friday evening Purdue will host No. 5 Minnesota at 5:30 ET. On Saturday they’ll take on the No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers at 7:00 ET. Neither match will be on tv unfortunately and last I saw there were only tickets left for the Minnesota match.

Since the Penn State match Purdue has stuck with their new lineup, Danielle Cuttino at middle blocker and Caitlyn Newton playing outside. It’s yielded mix results, although Purdue likely would’ve still had their struggles with Cuttino playing outside. It does make Purdue harder to defend as Cuttino can hit anywhere along the net and teams can’t just ignore Purdue’s second middle blocker. The lineup change also enhances Purdue’s block.

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- 3.63 D/S (9)

Sr. 6’1 S 5 Ashley Evans- 11.31 A/S (20, 3), 2.18 D/S, 0.25 SA/S (9)

Sr. 6’0 OH 10 Azariah Stahl- 2.46 K/S, .252, 2.29 D/S, 0.25 SA/S

Jr. 6’5 OH 16 Sherridan Atkinson- 3.38 K/S (10), .348 (11)

So. 6’2 M 17 Blake Mohler- .326 (15), 0.90 B/S

Sr. 6’4 OH 20 Danielle Cuttino- 4.09 K/S (34, 2), .348 (10), 0.79 B/S

Minnesota Preview

The Gophers (23-3, 12-2) dropped two games early in conference play and have not looked back. Freshman, right side Stephanie Samedy has been a star for the Gophers all season long. Alexis Hart though has been the offensive leader for Minnesota in conference play leading all hitters in the league with 4.22 kills per set. Purdue isn’t the only team making adjustments as they season wears on in recent week’s Minnesota has been moving middle blocker Molly Lohman around more offensively running her behind the setter; she usually only hits sets in front of the setter. Lohman also has been a wall in the middle averaging a conference best 1.63 blocks per set.

Key Players

Fr. 6’3 OH 1 Jasmyn Martin- 2.19 K/S

Fr. 6’2 RS 10 Stephanie Samedy- 3.95 K/S (50, 3), .306, 3.0 D/S (12), 0.76 B/S

Jr. 5’11 S 11 Samantha Seliger-Swenson- 12.24 A/S (2, 1), 2.55 D/S, 0.28 SA/S (14)

Sr. 6’3 MB 13 Molly Lohman- .388 (34, 7), 1.44 B/S (18, 3), 0.29 SA/S (13)

Sr. 5’9 L 17 Dalianliz Rosado- 4.51 D/S (2)

So. 6’0 OH 19 Alexis Hart- 3.73 K/S (5), .284

Rs Fr. 6’5 MB 21 Regan Pittman- 2.27 K/S, .357 (9), 1.01 B/S (14)

Wisconsin Preview

Per usual Wisconsin (16-7, 7-7) is a great passing team but has taken a beating from the top teams in the conference this season. Last week though they dropped a five setter at home to Ohio State. Purdue will get their first look at the 6’8 Rettke this weekend in a showdown between her and Cuttino. Not to be overlooked, Tiona Williams holds her own as Wisconsin’s middles are their strength. The Badger outside hitters are streaky and Purdue could have a slight advantage if Stahl and Newton come ready to play.

Fr. 6’0 S 2 Sidney Hilley- 11.63 A/S (11, 2), 2.20 D/S, 0.70 B/S

Sr. 6’1 OH 3 Lauryn Gillis*- 2.70 K/S

Sr. 5’11 OH 4 Kelli Bates- 2.69 K/S, .250, 2.51 D/S

Jr. 6’2 MB 11 Tionna Williams*- 2.54 K/S, .433 (8, 4), 1.18 B/S (6)

So. 6’3 RS 14 Madison Duello- .259, 0.94 B/S (12)

Fr. 6’8 MB 16 Dana Rettke- 3.33 K/S (13), .434 (7, 3), 1.37 B/S (26, 4), 0.25 SA/S

So. 5’11 L 17 Tiffany Clark- 3.95 D/S (6)

So. 5’10 DS 19 M.E. Dodge- 2.53 D/S

*Indiana/Purdue connections- Gillis hails from New Castle, IN and Williams was a standout at Concordia in Fort Wayne. Coach Kelly Sheffield is a branch off the Shondell coaching tree. Purdue fans will also recognize Lafayette native and Purdue standout Brittany Dildine on the Badger bench.

Conference Standings

Nebraska is set up to win the Big Ten even though they are currently tied with Penn State for 1st. The Huskers last five games are against teams in the bottom half of the league; Penn State still has to travel to Wisconsin and Minnesota.

National Rankings

Last week the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee released preliminary rankings, here’s how they compared to the AVCA rankings and RPI standings from last week.

Last Week’s Rankings Comparison

# AVCA RPI NCAA Selection Committee
# AVCA RPI NCAA Selection Committee
1 Penn State Penn State Penn State
2 Stanford Minnesota Nebraska
3 Texas Kentucky Minnesota
4 Florida Nebraska Stanford
5 Minnesota Florida Kentucky
6 Kentucky Texas Florida
7 Nebraska Stanford Texas
8 Wisconsin Wisconsin Washington
9 Michigan State Washington Oregon
10 BYU Oregon Wisconsin

11/6 AVCA Rankings

  1. Penn State (56)
  2. Stanford (8)
  3. Texas
  4. Florida
  5. Minnesota

(first-place votes)

Big Ten teams: #6 Nebraska, #8 Michigan State, #10 Wisconsin, #21 Purdue, RV Illinois. Purdue is 1-5 against AVCA ranked teams this season.

11/5 RPI Standings

  1. Penn State
  2. Minnesota
  3. Florida
  4. Kentucky
  5. Nebraska

Big Ten: #10 Wisconsin, #15 Michigan State, #23 Illinois, #25 Purdue, #31 Ohio State, #34 Michigan, #43 Maryland, #44 Iowa, #82 Northwestern, #120 Indiana, #221 Rutgers. Purdue has gone 4-7 against the current RPI top 50.