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Purdue Volleyball: Michigan and Michigan State Preview

No. 14 Purdue faces another ranked Big Ten team this weekend. This time it’s the only other ranked Big Ten team who is outside the Top 10, No. 16 Michigan.


Purdue (13-2, 2-2) went 1-1 last week winning in four sets over Maryland and being swept by Wisconsin. This week Purdue will head north to take on No. 16 Michigan and Michigan State.

Friday night at 9:00 Purdue will face Michigan on BTN. Saturday at 7:00 they’ll square off against the Spartans on BTN+.

Maryland gave Purdue all they could handle as the Boilers prevailed in four; 15-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-21. The Terrapins came out firing in set one hitting .438 while the Boilers could only muster a .062 effort; Maryland finished the set on an 8-1 run. Purdue saw a 22-15 lead shrink to two before closing the set two out. Purdue was down 20-18 before rallying to win set three. Purdue had to come from behind in the fourth set scoring the last five points of the set keeping the match from going to a fifth set.

Grace Cleveland led the Boilers with 15 kills and hit .313. Sherridan Atkinson was the second of three Boilers with double-figure kills, 11; she also was the leading blocker and server with five blocks and three aces. Caitlyn Newton had 10 kills on the night. Hayley Bush put up 43 assists. Marissa Hornung was the leading passer with 16 digs. Due mostly to set one, Purdue was outhit .212-.204.

After having been swept by Minnesota, Wisconsin came into Saturday’s match with a new lineup. Wisconsin hasn’t stuck with it but it worked well enough to get the sweep over the Boilers 23-25, 19-25, 24-26. Purdue dug themselves a big hole in set one, 20-10, then came back, saving seven set points before falling. Purdue didn’t have an epic comeback in them set two which was a blocking exhibition as the Badgers tallied five and Purdue four. The Boilers led 23-20 in set three but could not stop Madison Duello as she scored Wisconsin’s last four points as Purdue struggled to pass failing to convert two set points.

Purdue was outhit 194-.218, but did have a 9-6 block advantage. Sherridan Atkinson led Purdue with 11 kills. Grace Cleveland was the leading blocker with six. Marissa Hornung had a great night serving scoring all five of Purdue’s aces. Hayley Bush tallied 33 assists and Brooke Peters had 14 digs.

Heading into this weekend Purdue desperately needs some consistency, consistent passing, consistent setting, and consistent hitting. Volleyball is a game of runs, but Purdue has to avoid huge drop-offs in play. Both matches will be a test for Purdue, will they play down to the level of their opponent or will they play at the high level they are capable of. This would include getting points from hitters not named Sherridan Atkinson.

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 (34, 5), 2.0 D/S

Sr. 5’9 L 3 Brooke Peters- 4.98 D/S (46, 3), 0.4 SA/S (5)

So. 6’1 OH 4 Caitlyn Newton- 2.39 K/S

So. 5’6 DS 6 Julianna Reisinger- 0.4 SA/S (5)

Fr. 5’7 DS 10 Marissa Hornung- 2.6 D/S

Sr. 6’5 OH/RS 16 Sherridan Atkinson- 4.25 K/S (29, 1), .280, 0.3 SA/S

Jr. 6’2 M 17 Blake Mohler- 2.33 K/S, .383 (26, 8), 1.25 B/S (8)

So. 5’10 DS 19 Jena Otec- 0.32 SA/S (13)


Like Purdue, Michigan (13-2, 2-2) came into conference play with a perfect record and like Purdue they had to play two Top 10 conference foes in weeks one and two and weren’t able to come away with either upset. While unsuccessful against Nebraska and Penn State, Michigan can score and defend across the back line; they’re second in the Big Ten in kills per set, first in digs per set and second in opponent hitting percentage. Michigan though has some glaring weaknesses; the Wolverines are 13th in aces and 12th in blocks. Purdue should be able to win the serve-pass battle and Sherridan Atkinson and company should be able to take advantage of the weak block.

Key Players

Fr. 6’1 OH 1 Paige Jones- 3.26 K/S (12), .265, 2.02 D/S, 0.36 SA/S (9)

Jr. 6’1 S 9 MacKenzi Welsh- 11.4 A/S (14, 2), 2.5 D/S

Sr. 5’6 L 10 Jenna Lerg- 5.42 D/S (18, 1)

Jr. 6’1 OH/RS 15 Sydney Wetterstrom- 2.87 K/S

Jr. 6’3 MB 16 Cori Crocker- 1.06 B/S

Sr. 6’1 OH 18 Carly Skjodt*- 3.85 K/S (6), .253, 2.52 D/S

*Skjodt was a standout at Carmel

Michigan State

Michigan State (13-4, 1-3) is essentially starting from scratch this season; the Spartans graduated all their starters except their freshman libero. This year’s young team played well against a soft non-conference schedule; after they dropped their opener against Tennessee they ran the table. However, once Big Ten play started they’ve gotten a rude awakening. They opened Big Ten play with losses to Iowa, Nebraska, and Penn State. Their only win came over Rutgers, however, they also were the first Big Ten team to drop a set to the lowly Scarlet Knights. A couple of bright spots for MSU are their serving and freshman middle blocker Naya Gros. Gros is one of a handful of the tremendous freshman middle blockers in the league this year who has hit the ground running.

Key Players

So. 6’3 OH 3 Meredith Norris- 2.12 K/S, 0.33 SA/S (14)

So. 5’6 L 4 Jayme Cox- 3.87 D/S (9), 0.33 SA/S (12)

So. 6’2 OH 11 Alyssa Chronowski*- 3.24 K/S (13), .252, 0.38 SA (8)

Fr. 6’1 S 12 Elena Shklyar- 8.5 A/S (11)

Fr. 6’3 MB 17 Naya Gros- 2.26 K/S, .422 (6, 1), 1.46 B/S (17, 5)

Fr. 6’2 MB 21 Rebecka Poljan- 1.2 B/S (11)

*Chronowski hails from Munster

Big Ten Standings

First place is on the line this weekend as Nebraska and Minnesota will square off in Lincoln Saturday.

AVCA Rankings

  1. BYU (60)
  2. Stanford (4)
  3. Nebraska
  4. Texas
  5. Minnesota
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Illinois

9. Penn State

14. Purdue

16. Michigan

Minnesota flip-flopped with Wisconsin after the win Wednesday night last week. The major move this week was Oregon falling from No. 12 to No. 20 after losing to Arizona and Arizona State.

BYU and Pitt are the last unbeaten’s standing after Illinois dropped a four-setter to Nebraska.

RPI Standings

The first RPI Standings were released this week.

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

8. Nebraska

9. Wisconsin

11. Michigan

12. Purdue

15. Minnesota

22. Penn State

38. Ohio State

44. Indiana

49. Iowa

57. Maryland

67. Michigan State

68. Northwestern

178. Rutgers