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Purdue Volleyball: Maryland and Wisconsin Preview

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Purdue has another chance this week to knock off a Top 10 foe at home when they host No. 5 Wisconsin Saturday night.

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Purdue (11-1, 1-1) opened Big Ten play with with a win and a loss last weekend. The Boilers played No. 8 Illinois close but ball control struggles derailed them in the four-set lost on Friday night. Purdue was able to bounce back though and picked up a four-set win over Northwestern on Saturday.

Against the Wildcats, Purdue dropped the first set before winning the final three sets; 22-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-19. Purdue outhit and out-blocked Northwestern .281-.148 and 11-6 respectively. Sherridan Atkinson was dominant tallying 23 kills, .380 hitting, two aces, and four blocks. Equally impressive was Caitlyn Newton’s error-less performance, 16 kills on 24 attempts (.667). Grace Cleveland was the leading blocker with five followed by Blake Mohler’s four stuffs. Brooke Peters led the Boilers with four aces and 20 digs.

This week Purdue will face Maryland Wednesday night at 7:00 in College Park. Saturday night is the big match with the No. 5 Badgers, 7:00, at home. Both matches will be on BTN+ and the Wisconsin match is already sold out.

While she didn’t have back-to-back bad matches, Brooke Peter’s issues in serve receive are concerning. As libero she should be our best passer and teams would then avoid serving her. This was not the case against Illinois as she was aced five times. She and the rest of the team need to be sharp in serve receive this weekend. Maryland has one of the countries best server’s in Katie Meyers and Wisconsin is solid across the board. Also against Wisconsin 6’8 Dana Rettke is a concern. Purdue needs to stay in system so Rettke can’t just set up at the pin and wait on our hitters. Purdue has to keep her guessing which starts with a good pass.

While it would be a tall order to expect Caitlyn Newton to have repeat performance from the Northwestern match she needs to limit her errors, as does Grace Cleveland. Newton and Cleveland are hitting .205 and .179 respectively which is not good enough. Matches are won and lost on the left pin and right now neither one of our outsides are consistent or high-scoring. They need to keep more balls in play and extend rallies.

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 (32, 5), 2.02 D/S

Sr. 5’9 L 3 Brooke Peters- 5.16 D/S (33, 3), 0.44 SA/S (5)

So. 5’6 DS 6 Julianna Reisinger- 0.46 SA/S (38, 3)

Sr. 6’5 OH/RS 16 Sherridan Atkinson- 4.4 K/S (22, 1), .303, 0.28 SA/S

Jr. 6’2 M 17 Blake Mohler- 2.36 K/S, .408 (12, 2), 1.3 B/S (41, 9)

So. 5’10 DS 19 Jena Otec- 0.34 SA/S (13)

Maryland

The Terrapins have a much different look from last season. Head Coach Steve Aird left for the IU job and four key players transferred out of the program. This year’s team is 10-4 on the season and 1-1 in conference play after sweeping Rutgers and falling in three sets to Minnesota. Sophomore outside hitter Erika Pritchard leads Maryland with over four kills a set. Otherwise Maryland struggles to generate offense.

Key Players

So. 6’1 S 1 Nicole Alford- 10.2 A/S (8), 2.2 D/S

Fr. 6’3 MB 2 Rainelle Jones- .351 (14), 0.9 B/S

So. 6’3 OH 9 Erika Pritchard- 4.22 K/S (33, 3), .243, 2.67 D/S

Sr. 6’1 OH 12 Liz Twilley- 2.87 K/S, .259

Fr. 5’10 L 15 Allegra Rivas- 4.69 D/S (5)

So. 6’2 MB 23 Katie Myers- 1.12 B/S (14), 0.57 SA/S (8, 1)

Wisconsin

After finishing seventh in the Big Ten last season Wisconsin (9-1, 2-0) is right back in the hunt as they look to finish atop the Big Ten for the first time since 2014. They’re off to a good start after sweeping Ohio State and Rutgers to ease into conference play. In preseason, they scored a big upset beating then No. 2 Texas however they also lost to No. 15 Baylor before finishing non-conference play with a win over No. 21 Marquette.

Molly Haggerty has returned to the Badger lineup this season after dealing with a back injury last season. She hasn’t quite returned to her All-Big Ten form from her freshman season but she’s still very capable of taking over a match. In the meantime Grace Loberg has been the second leading scorer for the Badgers behind Rettke. At times she can error-prone. If Purdue can get a solid block in front of her, force her hit around the block, into some errors the Boilers will have chance.

Key Players

So. 6’0 S 2 Sidney Hilley- 11.37 A/S (11, 2), 2.49 D/S, 0.73 B/S. 0.34 SA/S (14)

Sr. 6’2 MB 11 Tionna Williams*- 0.94 B/S

Jr. 6’3 RS 14 Madison Duello- 2.83 B/S, .382 (7) , 0.26 SA/S

So. 6’8 MB 16 Dana Rettke- 3.26 K/S (14), .396 (22, 4), 1.83 B/S (2, 1), 0.27 SA/S

Jr. 5’11 L 17 Tiffany Clark- 4.14 D/S (8)

So. 6’3 OH 21 Grace Loberg- 3.18 K/S (15), 2.75 D/S

So. 6’1 OH 23 Molly Haggerty- 2.46 K/S, 0.43 SA/S (8)

*Williams is a Fort Wayne native where she attended Concordia.

Big Ten Standings

AVCA Rankings

  1. BYU (59)
  2. Stanford (5)
  3. Nebraska
  4. Texas
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Minnesota
  7. Illinois
  8. Pittsburgh
  9. Penn State
  10. Creighton

16. Purdue

17. Michigan

RV: Ohio State and Michigan State

Only the Pac-12 has more teams in the Top 25 than the Big Ten with nine.

The biggest change in this week’s rankings was Penn State dropping five spots after losing to Minnesota and Ohio State.

BYU, Illinois, and Pittsburgh are the last three unbeaten teams standing.