VB Sweeps Cyclones, Plays Missouri Friday
Purdue used outstanding offense from Danielle Cuttino and Sherridan Atkinson to blow past Iowa State in straight sets, 26-24, 25-21, 25-13, and advance to Friday's second-round match against host Missouri, who controlled Northern Illinois in the evening's second match, 25-16, 25-13, 25-20. The Boilers are now 11-0 in round-of-64 matches, all of which have been played under Dave Shondell.
If you saw just the Boilers' side of the box score, you might underestimate the difficulty the Good Gals had in the first two sets. Iowa State led for the majority of set one and even had a set point, and the Cyclones also made a run to tie up set two late before Purdue finished it off; it was only the third set where the Boilers were clearly the better side. Cuttino's performance was one of her best efforts ever: 21 kills on just 31 attacks for a .613 hitting percentage, plus a solo block, two assists and two digs. Atkinson also topped the .500 mark with 10 kills on 17 attacks, and as a team, the Good Gals hit a blistering .454. For good measure, they were +4 at the service line, led by Natalie Haben's match-high 5 aces (with no errors), including three in a row to open a 6-2 lead in set three, which was followed by an ISU rotation error as they tried to prevent a fourth; Blake Mohler and Carissa Damler had an ace apiece with no errors, and while all 4 service errors came from Ashley Evans, she added a key ace at 23-21 in set two that gave the Boilers a set point they would convert. (Purdue was 3-1 on set points; Iowa State was 0-1.)
An effort like that Friday evening should get the Boilers into the Sweet 16, but it might be required; it was hard to tell how good Missouri is because of the ease with which they beat the Huskies. They outhit NIU .404 to .221, and like Purdue, had 8 aces and 4 service errors. With a partisan crowd supporting them, the Tigers will look to exact revenge for a similar second-round meeting in 2013, when the Boilers toppled the fourth-seeded hosts in 4 sets. (Purdue would also eliminate 13-seed Illinois in Champaign, 3-0, before falling to 12-seed Wisconsin in four sets in the regional finals.)
For what it's worth, Purdue moves to a collective 9-0 against the other three teams in their sub-regional. Hopefully that will be 10-0 at this time tomorrow. Speaking of time, what you're looking for is 7:00 PM ET Friday; I'm not sure if it was Purdue, Missouri, or both, but [Ed: OOPS - this was backward, probably because Missouri is playing] SEC+ gets the match instead of ESPN3. Purdue's gametracker is also available, as is the NCAA's, although the latter is kind of short on details.
The two seeded teams from the Big Tenteen also advanced Thursday: 12-seed Michigan swept American 3-0 in Ann Arbor, and 3-seed Wisconsin swept Howard in Madison. The Wolverines host Oregon at 7:30 Friday, while the Badgers host Washington State at 7:00. The other five conference teams also spring into action: #1 Nebraska hosts New Hampshire at 8, #2 Minnesota hosts North Dakota at 8, #9 Michigan State hosts Fairfield at 7:30, #16 Penn State hosts LIU-Brooklyn at 7:30, and unseeded Ohio State faces Missouri State in Manhattan, KS at 6:00.
Photo courtesy of Purdue Athletics and Dave Wegiel