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Purdue Volleyball: Maryland and Ohio State Preview

The Boilers are back home this weekend to take on the Terrapins and Buckeyes as they are in the midst of one of their easiest stretches in conference play. 

Shondell

The Boilers will look to hold court this weekend as they face Maryland and Ohio State in Holloway. Purdue (15-4, 4-4) has a great opportunity to go 2-0 this weekend for the first time in conference play. Last week Purdue dropped a four-setter against Penn State then picked up a five-set win over Iowa on the road.

Friday night will be the match against Maryland, which is sold out, is at 7:00 on BTN. The match against Ohio State was moved from Saturday night to Sunday at 1:00 due to the primetime football matchup between Purdue and the Buckeyes Saturday; tickets are still available.

Iowa Recap

On the match, Purdue nearly outscored Iowa by 20 points, 86-67, but it was a hard-fought five-set win. Purdue came on fire in set one, hitting .441 as they won 25-18. In set two the Boilers got down early and were never able to recover as they fell 25-20. A 7-2 run in the middle of set three was the difference in set three as Purdue committed numerous errors losing 25-19. Iowa made Purdue earn it set four as Purdue saw a 22-18 lead shrink to one before closing the set out with three kills, 25-22. The Boilers got the all-important early lead in set five, 5-1, and didn’t let up as they won 15-10.

Grace Cleveland did it all for Purdue leading in kills and blocks with 19 and five respectively. Sherridan Atkinson got back on track hitting .359 tallying 17 kills. Caitlyn Newton also a double-digit, .300+ hitting effort with 14 kills and .357 hitting percentage. Blake Mohler had 12 kills and four blocks. Hayley Bush put up 60 assists. Brooke Peters led the Boilers with 26 digs and two aces. Marissa Hornung and Jena Otec also had double-digit digs, 15 and 12 respectively.

Weekend Preview

Purdue cannot take a step back this weekend. What I mean by that is they cannot play down to the level of their opponents this weekend; they should be able to sweep both Maryland and Ohio State. Purdue needs to focus on playing low-error this weekend and winning the serve-pass battle. Another thing to look for is whether freshman middle blocker Jael Johnson gets the nod over Shavonna Cuttino. She’s been playing more and more lately and this would be a good point in the season to throw her out there and leave her out there, let her make some mistakes.

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- 10.7 A/S (37, 5)

Sr. 5’9 L 3 Brooke Peters- 4.96 D/S (50, 2), 0.37 SA/S (7)

So. 5’6 DS 6 Julianna Reisinger- 0.33 SA/S (9)

Fr. 5’7 DS 10 Marissa Hornung- 2.53 D/S

Sr. 6’5 OH/RS 16 Sherridan Atkinson- 3.92 K/S (6), .267, 0.26 SA/S

Jr. 6’2 M 17 Blake Mohler- 2.37 K/S, .343 (11), 1.15 B/S (9)

Fr. 6’3 MB/OH 20 Grace Cleveland- 2.55 K/S

Maryland

Maryland (12-8, 3-5) has taken its licks in conference play but they battle night in and night out. At times they can’t get out of their own way due to errors. They’re heavily dependent on their outside hitters and will set Erika Pritchard whenever they can, front row or back row.

Key Players

So. 6’1 S 1 Nicole Alford- 9.81 A/S (10)

So. 6’3 OH 9 Erika Pritchard- 4.11 K/S (38, 3), 2.44 D/S

Sr. 6’1 OH 12 Liz Twilley- 2.64 K/S, .259

Fr. 5’10 L 15 Allegra Rivas- 4.55 D/S (5)

Jr. 5’9 S 16 Samantha Snyder- 0.32 SA/S (10)

So. 6’2 MB 23 Katie Myers- 1.05 B/S (15), 0.51 SA/S (11, 1)

*Maryland has one Indiana native on their roster, Taylor Smith from Garrett.

Ohio State

Some unforeseen departures from last year’s squad have left the Buckeyes (12-8, 3-5) with a lean roster. Despite this, they were able to knock off Penn State the first week of conference play. Ohio State doesn’t have a lot of offensive firepower as they struggle to score.

Key Players

So. 5’9 S 1 Becca Mauer- 6.84 A/S (13), 0.31 SA/S (14)

Jr. 6’3 MB 4 Madison Smeathers*- 2.03 K/S, .321, 0.84 B/S

So. 5’6 DS 7 Hannah Gruensfelder- 3.45 D/S (12)

Sr. 6’1 OH/DS 9 Audra Appold- 3.0 D/S

So. 6’4 MB 12 Lauren Witte- 2.46 K/S, .370 (41, 6), 0.95 B/S

Fr. 6’6 RS 13 Vanja Bukilic- 3.01 K/S, .265

*Smeathers hails from Bargersville, IN where she attended Center Grove High School

Big Ten Standings

After dropping their first two conference matches Penn State has rattled off seven wins in a row including a five-set win over Nebraska last Saturday. The Gophers now have some extra breathing room as result. Michigan has snuck into third due to their schedule. So far the Wolverines have only played two matches against the Big Ten teams in the AVCA Top 10 dropping both matches.

AVCA Rankings Week 8

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

7. Illinois

9. Wisconsin

13. Michigan

17. Purdue

RV: Iowa

Texas fell out of the Top Five after falling to Kansas in four on the road. Penn State broke into the Top Five with their win over Nebraska who didn’t move from No. 5. No. 1 BYU and No. 6 Pittsburgh are still undefeated.

RPI Standings

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

7. Minnesota

9. Wisconsin

10. Michigan

11. Penn State

12. Nebraska

16. Purdue

37. Ohio State

44. Iowa

54. Indiana

62. Michigan State

69. Maryland

75. Northwestern

202. Rutgers