Sept. 4, 1997

Purdue Volleyball Ready for 1997 Home Debut

By TOM SCHOTT

There's no place like home.

Such is the sentiment of the Purdue volleyball team, which makes its 1997 home debut this weekend by playing host to the eighth-annual Mortar Board Purdue Premier. The Boilermakers (2-1) will face Central Michigan (0-3) tonight at 7:30, followed by Indiana State (2-2) and Syracuse (2-1) on Saturday at noon and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

Purdue, with its loyal fans, the band and the cheerleaders, has one of the true homecourt advantages in the country. And this year the court has been moved (it now runs north and south in the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility) and repainted.

"We're excited to be at home and get the chance to play on our new court," sophomore setter Taryn Catlin said. "There's no place like the IAF, and we're all looking forward to playing in front our fans."

Last weekend the Boilermakers opened the season by winning two of three matches at the Florida State Classic in Tallahassee. Highlights of the tournament included the play of sophomore middle blocker Sarah Emke and Purdue's aggressive serving.

The Boilermakers, who swept Mississippi State and Boston College before losing to the host Lady Seminoles in the championship match, totaled 27 service aces in the three matches (3.00 per game). Catlin, Emke and sophomore outside hitter Kelly Colangelo led the way with six aces apiece. Meanwhile, Purdue committed just 15 serve reception errors (1.67 per game). Junior outside hitter Bev Krupa had just one in nine games.

"I was very pleased with our serving and passing the first two matches, but we did not do a good job in those areas against Florida State and lost," Purdue coach Joey Vrazel said. "We spend a lot of time in practice on serving and passing because we feel they are very important to being successful. We want to serve aggressively and make it tough on our opponents to get their offense started and, at the same time, we want to start our offensive attack with a good pass."

Vrazel is eager for the Purdue fans to see both her team and the revamped court. Last year the Boilermakers ranked 17th in the country with an average of 1,365 fans per home match (83 percent capacity of the 1,650-seat IAF).

"Our fans have been so loyal the last two years, and I am really excited about giving them a team they can be proud of and really rally behind," Vrazel said. "We are athletic, talented and I hope fun to watch."

Noteworthy ...

Tube Talk: The Boilermakers will have three of their 1997 matches televised live as part of the weekly Big Ten package on SportsChannel/Fox Sports Chicago. The matches originally scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 4 at Minnesota; Saturday, Nov. 1 vs. Iowa at home; and Saturday, Nov. 22 vs. Illinois at home each have been moved back a day to Sunday. The Oct. 5 match will begin at 4 p.m. EST, while the Nov. 2 and Nov. 23 matches are tentatively planned to start at 5 p.m.