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Purdue Volleyball: Crimson-White Tournament Preview

Purdue is on the road in Alabama this weekend to take on the Tide, Southern Miss and South Alabama. Bama will be the first ranked team Purdue has faced this season.

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There will be at least one less undefeated team after this weekend. Both No. 15 Purdue and No. 25 Alabama come into the weekend with perfect records, 8-0 and 10-0 respectively.

Purdue will start their weekend with a match Friday at 1:00 P.M. against Southern Miss. Friday evening at 8:00 P.M. will be the showdown with Alabama on SEC Network+. Saturday at 12:00 P.M. Purdue will face South Alabama.

Purdue stayed in the win column last weekend with a four-set win over Xavier, sweep over Lipscomb, and five-set win over Louisville who was receiving votes in that week’s poll.

In two of the matches last weekend Purdue had strong hitting performances and in the other they dominated along the net defensively. A key player in both efforts is middle Blake Mohler; she had a great weekend blocking tallying nine stuffs against Louisville. However, her kill tallies were pedestrian; 8, 4, and 8. Purdue has to do better job getting her involved in the offense to take pressure off the pins. This of course starts with ball control whether the setter can get the ball to her but Purdue has to use her more. Hopefully, the Mississippi native will be able to show out this weekend down South helping Purdue stay undefeated.

Key Players

class, height, position, # name , stats (statistical rank nationally)
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- 10.9 A/S (28)

Sr. 5’9 L 3 Brooke Peters- 5.14 D/S (39), 0.38 SA/S

So. 5’6 DS 6 Julianna Reisinger- 0.48 SA/S (44)

Sr. 6’5 OH/RS 16 Sherridan Atkinson- 4.28 K/S (37), .291, 0.38 SA/S

Jr. 6’2 M 17 Blake Mohler- 2.17 K/S, .395 (36), 1.28 B/S

So. 5’10 DS 19 Jena Otec- 2.03 D/S, 0.28 SA/S

Fr. 6’3 MB 20 Grace Cleveland- 2.38 K/S, .233

Southern Miss

The Golden Eagles come into the weekend with a 6-4 record. They’ve come up short in all three matches against Power Five opponents. Purdue should be able to gain an advantage at the service line as Southern Miss gives up as many aces as they serve.

So. 5’7 L 1 Madison Lawler- 3.38 D/S, 0.26 SA/S

Sr. 5’10 S 2 Sarah Bell- 10.79 A/S (35), 2.87 D/S

Sr. 6’1 MB 4 Alexis Coombs- 2.08 K/S, .349, 1.05 B/S

Sr. 5’11 OH 6 Kylie Grandy- 4.13 K/S (45), .272, 2.34 D/S, 0.34 SA/S

Jr. 6’1 MB 12 Catherine Repsher- 2.74 K/S, .421 (18). 0.26 SA/S

No. 25 Alabama

Head Coach Ed Allen who is branch off the Shondell coaching tree is doing his best to make Bama a contender in the SEC. They’re off to one of their best starts in program history although they nearly dropped their first match of the season when Stamford (4-7) forced them to five sets Tuesday night. The only Power Five team they’ve played is Georgia Tech although they also swept Western Kentucky who is traditionally a strong mid-major.

Alabama is not a particularly tough serving team. One wrinkle they present is that they use a 5-2 offense, five hitters and two setters. The shorter setter, Meghan Neelon, sets across the back row then Mylana Byrd sets across the front and is a very capable and aware setting tight passes on the net and blocking. Both setters spread the ball around giving all hitters plenty of opportunities. Middle, Hayley McSparin, gets more swings than Cidavia Hall although they like to run both on back ones off serve receive and in transition, unlike a lot of other teams. As long as Purdue can get their block set they should be successful; the Tide pin hitters had trouble hitting around the smaller Samford block.

Key Players

So. 5’10 OH 1 Doris Carter- 3.3 K/S

Sr. 5’10 L 4 Quincey Gary*- 5.11 D/S (42)

Sr. 6’1 MB 6 Cidavia Hall- .514, 1.14 B/S

So. 5’9 S 10 Meghan Neelon- 7.14 A/S, 2.68 D/S, 0.38 SA

Fr. 6’2 S 15 Mylana Byrd- 4.92 A/S

Jr. 6’0 OH 18 Mahalia Swink- 2.51 K/S, .259, 2.49 D/S, 0.41 SA/S

So. 5’8 DS 20 Kaylee Thomas- 2.78 D/S

Jr. 6’2 OH 21 Ginger Perinar- 3.35 K/S

Jr. 6’2 MB 23 Hayley McSparin- 2.43 K/S, .348, 1.3 B/S

*Gary is from Alexandria, IN. She also is the niece of Purdue Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach Greg Gary. Assistant Coach Ryan Freeburg also has Purdue connections as he is an alum and was a manager and volunteer assistant with the team.

South Alabama

The Jaguars are 5-5 coming into the tournament on a four game win streak. As long as Purdue can serve tough so South Alabama can’t get their middle, Kelley Hartman, involved in their offense Purdue should be able to avoid any threat of an upset.

Key Players

Jr. 5’4 L 1 Ashlyn Roberts- 3.42 D/S

Sr. 5’10 S 4 Parker Harrell- 6.89 A/S, 2.29 D/S

Fr. 5’7 S 6 Rachael DeMarcus- 4.96 A/S

Jr. 5’10 OH 17 Iva Durdanovic- 2.48 K/S

Jr. 6’2 MB 22 Kelley Hartman- 3.18 K/S, .402 (29), 0.87 B/S, 0.42 SA/S

So. 6’0 OH 24 Hannah Harris- 2.62 K/S

So. 6’4 MB 25 Morgan Stalcup- .345, 1.0 B/S

AVCA Poll

  1. BYU (54)
  2. Stanford (10)
  3. Texas
  4. Nebraska
  5. Penn State
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Minnesota
  8. Illinois
  9. Pittsburgh
  10. Creighton

15. Purdue

19. Michigan

RV: Michigan State

Minnesota dropped matches against Oregon and Stanford last weekend dropping them from No. 1 to No. 7. Wisconsin, who was No. 2 last week also slipped after losing a four-setter to then No. 15 Baylor. The Bears were led by Yossianna Pressley’s 32 kills. It had to sting though for Wisconsin as Baylor then turned around a dropped a five-setter to Texas Rio Grande Valley. Wisconsin was not the only top 10 team to suffer an upset, then No. 8 Florida lost to Northern Arizona dropping them to No. 11.

BYU is one one nine undefeated teams left after three weeks of play; Illinois, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Michigan, Washington State, Alabama, Portland, and Boston College also boast perfect records.