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Purdue Volleyball: Penn State and Iowa Preview

Purdue has an opportunity for a little redemption after a horrible showing against then No. 16 Michigan last weekend.


Purdue (14-3, 3-3) played their worst match of the season Friday and consequently got handily swept by Michigan. They rebounded the next night beating Michigan State but it was a very underwhelming trip to the mitten state; Purdue lost four consecutive sets by nine or more points.

After failing to pick up a win over a ranked opponent last week Purdue has another chance Wednesday night when the No. 9 Nittany Lions come to town. Purdue faces Penn State at home Wednesday night at 7:00 on ESPNU. Saturday night at 8:00 Purdue will take on Iowa in Iowa City on BTN+.

Michigan Recap

Aside from Blake Mohler, absolutely nothing when right for the Boilers against Michigan; Mohler had 11 kills and was the only Boiler to hit above .200, .389. Passing woes were compounded by service and hitting errors in the three-set loss; 15-25, 16-25, 14-25. Looking at the cumulative point differential, Rutgers played Michigan closer than Purdue did when they got swept by Michigan. Purdue made Michigan look like world beaters as they were outhit .435-106; in two of the sets, Michigan hit .500 or better.

Some other telling stats were that our 6’5 opposite hitter Sherridan Atkinson led Purdue in digs with seven. Libero, Brooke Peters had the most service reception errors with three.

Michigan State Recap

Some of the bad play from the night before carried over to Saturday as Purdue started slowly before winning the last three sets with relative ease; 15-25, 25-12, 25-19, 25-17. The Boilers outhit the Spartans .199-.095 as MSU had over a set’s worth of hitting errors, 26.

Freshman Grace Cleveland led Purdue with 15 kills, six blocks, and .367 hitting. Fellow outside hitter, Caitlyn Newton also had a good night with 12 kills. Hayley Bush put up 37 assists while Brooke Peters led the defense with 17 digs.

Purdue had a .000 hitting percentage in set one as MSU ran out to a 13-4 lead early. Purdue started set two strong and finished even stronger on an 8-1 run as the Boilers hit .458. Set three was a battle along the net as the teams combined for 10 blocks; Purdue raced out to a 7-1 lead and stayed in control the rest of the way. The Boilers were down early in set four but closed the set on a 9-1 run which broke a 16-all tie.

Week Preview

While Purdue did recover and go 1-1 last weekend they have to play better if they want to beat any Big Ten team ahead of them in the standings. This may require changing the lineup. Brooke Peters hasn’t really shown she deserves the libero jersey, not that anyone else has been overly impressive either. She has though been one of worst passers in serve receive which derails us time and time again. Middle blocker is another area Purdue should make a change. Shavonna Cuttino doesn’t necessarily do things that hurt Purdue but even if Jael Johnson doesn’t get more kills than Cuttino if she can be a better blocker she should be on the floor. As for the outside hitters, the lack of any consistency, whether it be scoring or not making errors, is frustrating. Like some of the other issues, this is due to a lack of depth or talented depth. Shondell might as well try Jena Otec or Garrett Joiner. If nothing else it will be someone else making errors.

Key Players

class, height, position, # name, stats (statistical rank nationally, in the Big Ten)

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

Rs Fr. 5’10 S 2 Hayley Bush- 10.5 A/S (46, 5)

Sr. 5’9 L 3 Brooke Peters- 4.8 D/S (3), 0.38 SA/S (7)

So. 5’6 DS 6 Julianna Reisinger- 0.38 SA/S (6)

Fr. 5’7 DS 10 Marissa Hornung- 2.5 D/S

Sr. 6’5 OH/RS 16 Sherridan Atkinson- 3.97 K/S (6), .270, 0.28 SA/S

Jr. 6’2 M 17 Blake Mohler- 2.34 K/S, .354 (11), 1.2 B/S (8)

Fr. 6’3 OH 20 Grace Cleveland- 2.39 K/S, 0.8 B/S

Penn State

Penn State (13-3, 4-2) made it through preseason with only one loss, to Stanford, but started conference play with two losses as they were without Nia Reed. While its hard to say how much of a difference she would’ve made against Minnesota who has only dropped one set in conference play she surely could’ve helped against Ohio State; Penn State avenged the five-set loss to the Buckeyes with a sweep Saturday. Penn State is balanced offensively and has two young middles who have been holding their own thus far. They have been phenomenal blocking as Penn State is the best blocking team in the country with 3.14 blocks per set.

Key Players

Jr. 5’5 L 3 Kendall White*- 4.54 D/S (5)

Sr. 6’1 OH 6 Nia Reed- 3.11 K/S (15), .298

Fr. 6’1 RS/S 9 Jonni Parker- 2.61 K/S .256, 0.27 SA/S

Fr. 6’2 MB 16 Serena Gray- .361 (10), 1.46 B/S (15, 3)

Sr. 6’0 S 21 Bryanna Weiskircher- 10.32 A/S (6), 2.3 D/S, 0.34 SA/S (10)

Fr. 6’4 MB 23 Kaitlyn Hord- 2.3 K/S, .379 (27, 6), 1.22 B/S (7)

Sr. 6’3 OH 43 Taylor Leath- 2.74 K/S, 2.16 D/S

* White starred at Cathedral in Indy where she was the Indiana Gatorade POTY in 2015. Teammate Allison Cathey is also from Indiana (New Albany).


Until Saturday’s five-set win over then No. 6 Wisconsin, Iowa (11-6, 3-3) had yet to beat a ranked team this season. In the win over the Badgers, Iowa was heavily dependent on their outside hitters. Their outsides combined for 54 kills against the Badgers; the next highest kill total was six. Iowa relies on them in and out of system which can make them fairly one-dimensional. Serving is still important though and Iowa surrenders more aces than they score which Purdue should be able to exploit.

Key Players

Sr. 5’4 L 1 Molly Kelly- 5.0 D/S (45, 2), 0.26 SA/S

So. 5’10 S 7 Brie Orr- 10.15 A/S (7), 2.47 D/S

Sr. 6’0 RS 8 Reghan Coyle- 2.38 K/S, .300

Jr. 6’1 OH 14 Cali Hoye- 3.76 K/S (7), 2.52 D/S

Sr. 6’3 OH 16 Taylor Louis- 4.11 K/S (41, 2), .270

* Hawkeyes Amiya Jones (Indianapolis, Tindley), Maddie Hine (Noblesville), and Griere Hughes (Fishers, Hamilton Southeastern) all hail from Indiana.

Big Ten Standings

The Gophers are alone at the top.

AVCA Rankings

  1. BYU (60)
  2. Stanford (4)
  3. Minnesota
  4. Texas
  5. Nebraska

7. Illinois

8. Wisconsin

9. Penn State

13. Michigan

17. Purdue

RV: Iowa

After the road win, the Gophers flip-flopped with Nebraska. Wisconsin only dropped two spots after falling to Iowa in five on the road. Michigan rose to No. 13 from No. 16 after a commanding sweep over then No. 14 Purdue. Oregon is right back in the top 15, No. 14, after sweeping then No. 17 UCLA and No. 12 USC on the road; both UCLA and USC fell three spots this week. BYU and Pittsburgh are still perfect. The Big Ten Trails the Pac-12 8-7 in teams in the Top 25.

RPI Standings

  1. Stanford
  2. BYU
  3. Illinois
  4. Pittsburgh
  5. Texas

7. Michigan


9. Nebraska

10. Minnesota

15. Purdue

17. Penn State

39. Iowa

45. Ohio State

49. Indiana

60. Michigan State

69. Maryland

72. Northwestern

193. Rutgers