VB Swept In Conference Openers
The Boilers were back at full strength last weekend as they traveled to face Wisconsin and Minnesota for the opening weekend of Big Tenteen play. For the most part, they played fairly well, and they pushed the hosts both nights - in particular, getting Wisconsin to 27-29 in the second set - but didn’t quite have enough to take a set, much less a match. Not so much of a surprise given the youth of the team, though.
Purdue dropped 7 spots to #24, sixth among Big Tenteen teams, falling behind Wisconsin and Illinois and staying 10 spots ahead of Michigan State.
#17 Purdue 0, #29 Wisconsin 3 (22-25, 27-29, 15-25)
After dropping two close sets, Purdue came out for the third and just couldn’t stay with the Badgers, who made short work of them to close out an 0-3 win.
Blake Mohler was at full strength, so the lineup returned to normal. Maddie Schermerhorn continued to appear defensively, Maddie Koch played in two sets (although the official scorer would like you to believe that Sherridan Atkinson and Tionna Williams played in this match, that did not happen), as did Jael Johnson, and Ava Torrance and Maddy Chinn played in one set each, with Chinn getting 10 attacks and Torrance recording a single dig.
Purdue got off to a flying start in the opening set, running off three straight points and forcing a Wisconsin timeout, then adding a fourth after the timeout. The Badgers cut the lead down to two, but they got no closer for a while; after trading points through 9-6, Purdue added a Mohler/Koch block of Madison Duello to go up 10-6, then traded again for 11-7. Finally, Wisconsin woke up, running off four straight to tie it, then after a Newton kill, scoring four of five to lead 13-15. But a 5-0 Purdue run burned Wisconsin’s other timeout; they would regroup and get four back, burning both of Purdue’s timeouts to lead 18-19. The Good Gals would not lead again; they tied at 19, but got no closer than 21-21, and after two straight Wisconsin points, Mohler’s kill made it 22-23, but a Duello kill brought the Wisconsin crowd to its feet, and a Newton attack error gave set one to the Badgers.
Set two opened 4-4, with Wisconsin the first to string points together, getting back-to-back kills from Grace Loberg to lead 4-6. At 5-8, Purdue got another 5-0 run to go up 10-8, forcing an early UW timeout. This time, the Badgers could not close the gap, and the Boilers led by as many as four, 17-13, before the hosts slowly reeled them in. At 19-17, Purdue used their first timeout; up 21-18, the Boilers saw that lead slip away, using their second timeout at 21-all and falling to 21-23. A Loberg attack error stopped the run, but a Dana Rettke kill gave the Gophers two set points. Cleveland put down one, and an ace from Jael Johnson tied the score … but UW earned the next set point after a Johnson service error. Mohler tied it at 25, but another service error, this time from Cleveland, gave Wisconsin set point #4. Mohler again found the court with an attack for 26-all, and this time Purdue’s serve was in, but Duello’s kill made it set point #5. Newton responded with a kill for 27-all, but it was Rettke who finished off the set with two more, seeing the Badgers into the break with a 27-29 win and an 0-2 match lead.
The Good Gals looked like they’d given it all they had in the first two sets, falling behind 2-10 in the finale; they would go down 5-17 before closing the gap to 9-18, but they wouldn’t get closer than nine the rest of the way, and a Mohler attack error gave Wisconsin the merciful 15-25 set win to end the match.
Purdue played pretty well in most aspects of the game, but simply couldn’t slow Wisconsin’s attack, yielding 40 kills at .265 to 37 at just .112; they trailed in assists (36-37) and blocks (5.0-8.0) as well, but led in digs (45-38) and aces (5/-4 to 2/-7). Newton was the lone Boiler in double figures, getting 12 kills at .152, while Mohler had 9 at .294 and Cleveland added 7 but hit just .071. Bush had a match-high 33 assists, but was whistled for two illegal sets. Newton also served two aces (-1), with Hornung (even), Terwilliger (+1) and Johnson (even) recording the others. Mohler’s 1.5 total blocks led the team, as did Otec’s 10 digs (which also shared match honors).
Wisconsin’s attack was led by All-American junior MB Dana Rettke, who had 12 kills at .476; redshirt senior OH/RS Madison Duello just missed double digits, scoring 9 at .389. Junior setter Sydney Hilley had 27 of the Badgers’ 37 assists, with Rettke (-2) and redshirt junior OH Molly Haggerty (+1) serving aces for the hosts. Rettke also had the only solo block of the match, posting a match-high 3.5 total; senior libero Tiffany Clark led the Badgers with 10 digs, while Haggerty added 9.
#17 Purdue 0, #9 Minnesota 3 (19-25, 21-25, 23-25)
As in the Wisconsin match, Purdue pushed Minnesota and even threatened to take a set, but just couldn’t get the final points across; for as well as they played, they went home with another 0-3 result.
Most of the same regulars, although Jael Johnson and Shavona Cuttino effectively split time at MB, with each playing in two sets. Schermerhorn played in three again, Chinn got 10 attacks in two sets, and Emma Ellis got her first conference run, getting 15 attacks in two sets.
Once again, Purdue came out on fire, going up 4-1; Minnesota did not use a timeout, but waited out the Boilers and caught up to them, chipping into the lead and finally going in front thanks to an 0-3 run for a 10-11 lead that became 11-14; Purdue would claw back within one, but an Adanna Rollins kill made it 13-15 at the media timeout. The Boilers closed within one two more times, at 14-15 and 15-16, but a 1-5 run around a Purdue timeout blew the set open, and at 16-21, Minnesota cruised to a set win, getting the final points on a Stephanie Samedy kill and a Mohler attack error.
Set two started out all Minnesota, as the Gophers went up 0-3 and 3-7; at 6-11, Purdue called their first timeout, then got back-to-back points from Cleveland on a kill and an ace, but Minnesota scored the next six points around the other Purdue timeout, and at 8-17, the Boilers were basically out of contention. They did push the hosts late, with a 4-0 run to cut the lead to 14-20 and another 4-0 run to make it 19-23, but the hole they dug was too deep, and there just wasn’t enough time left - they staved off two set points on a Cleveland kill and an Alexis Hart attack error, but Regan Pittman put the next point down for a 21-25 win and an 0-2 lead at the break.
Set three was close the whole way. Purdue scored first; the Gophers responded with a 1-3 run, then the teams traded points and runs to get to 5-7. Three Boiler points made it 8-7, but four Minnesota points put the Gophers up 8-11. They’d trade points again through 11-14, but a 3-0 Purdue run tied it at 14. Again, Minnesota took the lead, but the Boilers answered their 1-3 run with a 3-1 run to tie at 18 … only to see a 1-3 run again for the Gophers make it 19-21. Purdue called timeout, then got two Cleveland kills around a Samedy kill for 21-22, and a Johnson/Cleveland block of Rollins tied it at 22 and drew a Minnesota timeout. Ellis and Johnson blocked Samedy for 23-22, and the Boilers nearly had a shot at making it 1-2, but a Pittman kill and a Samedy ace gave the hosts match point, and they cashed in on another Pittman kill.
Purdue managed an edge in blocks (7.0-4.0) and aces (4/+1 to 3/-2), but trailed in the rest of the box score, once again struggling to contain their opponents’ attack while not finding the court with their own: .149-.250 with kills at 36-51, and trailing in assists (32-50) and digs (62-74). Cleveland was the lone Boiler in double digits, getting 11 kills at .186, with Newton notching 7 at .033 and Ellis recording 6 at .267. Bush had 31 assists plus an ace (+1), with Newton (even), Cleveland (even) and Otec (+1) getting the other aces. Cleveland also had Purdue’s only solo block and led the team with 2.0 total, adding 11 digs for a double-double, while Otec led Purdue with 20 digs.
Minnesota’s attack was led by junior OPP Stephanie Samedy, who had a match-high 21 kills at .288; she also led all players in aces (3/+2) and added 11 digs for a double-double. Redshirt junior MB Regan Pittman added 10 kills at .304 for the hosts, with senior OH Alexis Hart just missing double digits (9 at .318). Sophomore setter Bayley McMenimen had 45 assists and 12 digs for her own double-double, while sophomore libero CC McGraw led all players with 24 digs and sophomore OH Adanna Rollins added 12, making four Gophers with double-digit digs. Pittman had Minnesota’s lone solo block, tying Rollins and freshman MB Ellie Husemann for team honors with 1.0 total.
It was a little disappointing to see the Boilers come close in multiple sets and not come away with at least one, but Madison and Minneapolis are two of the three toughest places in the conference to get a road win (Penn State is the third, and as you remember, the Boilers pulled off a stunner there last year), so it ended up being a good learning experience for a young team. Hopefully they’ll be able to turn that disappointment into a couple of wins this week.
Minnesota is perfect after sweeping IU and Purdue, as is Wisconsin, who dropped a set to the Hoosiers. Nebraska edged Illinois 3-2 in a rematch of their Final Four meeting from a year ago, then dropped Northwestern in straight sets to join the 2-0 club., Penn State made it four by sweeping Michigan State and Rutgers, and Michigan made it five with sweeps of Rutgers and Ohio State.
Indiana, like Purdue, was winless on their Minnesota-Wisconsin road trip; Rutgers fell to Michigan and Penn State, Northwestern lost in four to Iowa, and Maryland lost 1-3 to Ohio State and 0-3 to Michigan State.
The Boilers host traveling partners Northwestern and Illinois in a Friday-Sunday weekend, with both matches elevated from the usual BTN+ platform. Friday’s match starts at 8 PM (ironically, the time it’d start if they played in Evanston) and will be on BTN, while ESPNU picked up Sunday’s match, which will start at 3 PM. Massey likes the Boilers in 4 on Friday, but picks Illinois in 5 on Sunday; Purdue will have to work to get wins in both matches this weekend.
After that, they’ll hit the road for a four-match trip, visiting Indiana and Northwestern, then going to Nebraska and Ohio State (I know, it looks weird to me too, they should be playing Nebraska and Iowa) before returning home 10/25-26.
Road matches? Old pics, this time taking the featured one from the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi match, once again courtesy of Purdue Athletics