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Purdue Volleyball Stays Undefeated

Purdue dropped a set for the first time this season but stays unbeaten with wins Saturday night over Oakland and Notre Dame on Sunday.

Purdue Volleyball

The Boilers defended home court again this weekend picking up two wins. Saturday, the set scores were mostly lopsided against Oakland as Purdue won 25-23, 25-14, 14-25, 25-14. As expected Notre Dame played Purdue tighter then any of their previous competition in the four set win, 25-22, 25-21, 23-25, 25-20.

Saturday night Purdue’s offense was hot then cold in the third set which they dropped after being outhit .444-.056. On the match, Purdue outhit Oakland .282-.161, tallying 10 blocks to the Grizzlies seven. Sherridan Atkinson had 17 kills, four blocks, and hit .306. Blake Mohler and Grace Cleveland both finished with 12 kills hitting .478 and .400 respectively; Mohler also posted eight blocks. Hayley Bush dished out 46 assists. Marissa Hornung led the passers with 12 digs; Brooke Peters and Jena Otec both pulled up ten. Juliana Reisinger led at the service line with four aces.

It wasn’t just one thing that Purdue struggled with over the four sets against Notre Dame, however they still were able to outplay the Irish.

Sherridan Atkinson was one of four Boilers with double digit kills leading the team with 17 to go with two aces. Blake Mohler posted 11 kills and four blocks while hitting .526. Caitlyn Newton tallied 11 kills and three blocks. Grace Cleveland finished with 10 kills. Shavona Cuttino was great defensively along the net finishing with five blocks. Hayley Bush put up 46 assists. Bush, Marissa Hornung, and Jena Otec all posted nine digs. Brooke Peters was phenomenal across the back line with 30 digs while also serving up two aces. Julianna Reisinger also served two aces.

Purdue outhit Notre Dame .191-.168. Both teams finished with nine blocks.

Purdue found themselves down early in the first set, 12-7, after an 8-1 Irish run forcing to Purdue to burn a timeout. Coach Shondell burnt his second timeout after a bad second contact gave Notre Dame another five point lead, 17-12. Purdue was out of sorts early committing numerous errors and struggling in serve receive. The Boilers were able to turn it around, though, out of the second timeout. Two Notre Dame hitting errors jump started a 9-1 Purdue run as went in front for good with strong serving from Brooke Peters and three kills from Sherridan Atkinson.

The second set was a back and forth affair with six lead changes. Notre Dame used both timeouts in the first half of the set as Purdue ran out to a 12-7 lead. Purdue in turn used both timeouts as Notre Dame mounted a comeback. Purdue’s last timeout was effective in freezing the Notre Dame server as her serve sailed long, tying the set at 18-all. A Notre Dame hitting error gave Purdue the lead for the last time which the Boilers held on to for good as the Boilers scored five of the last six points of the set winning 25-21.

The middles for both teams were a much bigger factor, offensively and defensively, in the third set. Blake Mohler registered five kills for Purdue and Notre Dame posted five blocks despite being undersized at the pins. Purdue appeared to be in control of the third set late, but couldn’t convert offensively allowing Notre Dame to steal the third set. Purdue was up 22-20 when the Irish got a kill in transition out of the timeout which was the start of a 5-1 run for Notre Dame. Purdue was called for a lift on the next point and was forced to send over two free balls on the ensuing point as Notre Dame took the lead. Purdue stopped the bleeding with a first ball kill by Mohler but Notre Dame closed the set with two kills in transition, winning 25-23.

Purdue raced out to a 7-1 lead early in the fourth then hung on never surrendering the lead as they won 25-19. Notre Dame was able to draw within one, 14-13, but Purdue was able to answer running off four points to extend their lead.

There is plenty of room for improvement for the Boilers. One area of concern is free ball conversion, while my tally may not be exact, Purdue only converted on half of their free ball attempts including one that got over-passed for a Notre Dame kill. Obviously it starts with the pass but who gets set and what set also seemed to be off at times. Hayley Bush was solid but she can certainly improve set selection. She also was unsuccessful on all six of her dump attempts. One was especially untimely on set point in the third set. Better execution and better reads will help her be more successful.

Purdue will end their homestand this weekend with the Stacey Clark Classic. Friday at 10:00 A.M. they’ll face Xavier then Lipscomb at 7:30 P.M. that night. Saturday night Purdue will take on Louisville at 7:30 P.M. in their biggest test of the preseason.

AVCA Rankings Week 3

  1. Minnesota (35)
  2. Wisconsin (6)
  3. BYU (7)
  4. Stanford (8)
  5. Penn State (4)
  6. Texas
  7. Nebraska (3)
  8. Florida
  9. UCLA
  10. USC (1)
  11. Illinois

19. Purdue

20. Michigan

RV Michigan State

Last week’s top five; Stanford, Texas, Minnesota, Florida, and Nebraska, got all shook up by numerous upsets this weekend. Stanford fell after losing to BYU on the road in five sets. Texas lost to Wisconsin in Madison in four sets. Florida lost to USC at home in four sets; USC then then turned around lost to UCF in four sets. Minnesota, Nebraska, and Penn State all swept their home tournaments none of which played any ranked opponents.