Oct. 16, 1997

Purdue Volleyball Out to Snap Losing Streak at Illinois, Wisconsin

The schedule makers could not have given the Purdue volleyball team a tougher road trip while in search of its first Big Ten Conference victory of the 1997 season.

The Boilermakers (7-10, 0-6) travel to Illinois (11-5, 2-4) and Wisconsin (14-2, 5-1) for matches Friday and Saturday, respectively. They have not won at Illinois since the 1984 season (0-12 record there since), while Wisconsin is 7-1 at home this year and ranked No.8 in the nation. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.

``We can't worry about things we can't control, like the schedule and the past,'' Purduecoach Joey Vrazel said. ``Everybody plays everybody else in the conference once at homeand once on the road, and this weekend it's our turn to go to Illinois and Wisconsin. And it just happens that Purdue has not had success at Illinois in a number of years, and Wisconsin is one of the top teams in the country. We still have to play the matches and find a way to win one of them.''

Meanwhile, Vrazel is stressing patience with her young team. Purdue's regular rotation consists of one junior, four sophomores and two freshmen.

``We don't want to use youth as an excuse, but the truth is that many of these players have not previously competed at a level as high as the Big Ten,'' Vrazel said. ``The only way to get accustomed to consistently playing at that level is to do it. We know we can perform at a high level because we have, but the key is to sustain it for an entire game and an entire match.''

Such was a case in the Boilermakers' most recent loss, a three-game sweep by two-time defending Big Ten champion Michigan State on Oct. 10. Purdue built nice leads in two of the three games but could not hold them.

``That's our biggest problem,'' sophomore outside hitter Kelly Colangelo said. ``We play very well for awhile but then struggle to finish. That's when we need someone to step forward to take control. We don't really have a go-to player.''

Junior outside hitter Bev Krupa, who missed the Michigan State match with sore knees, did not practice early this week, and her status is questionable for this weekend.

Noteworthy ... Sophomore setter Taryn Catlin has moved into seventh place on the Boilermakers' career assists list. Her total stands at 1,368. Cheryl Flowers (1982-85) previously occupied the No. 7 spot with 1,366 assists.

1997 Big Ten Conference Volleyball Standings (through Oct. 15, 1997)
                    Big Ten     Overall
Penn State          6-0 1.000   17-0    1.000
Wisconsin           5-1 .833    14-2    .875
Michigan            5-1 .833    12-5    .706
Minnesota           5-2 .714    15-3    .833
Indiana             3-3 .500    16-3    .842
Michigan State      3-3 .500    13-6    .684
Ohio State          3-3 .500    12-6    .667
Illinois            2-4 .333    11-5    .688
Northwestern        1-5 .167    10-7    .588
Iowa                1-6 .143    8-10    .444
PURDUE              0-6 .000    7-10    .412
This Week's Results and Remaining Schedule 
Wednesday, Oct. 15
Minnesota def. Iowa 15-12, 15-6, 8-15, 15-10 (at Iowa City) 
Friday, Oct. 17
Penn State at Michigan, 6 p.m.
Iowa at Michigan State, 6 p.m.
Purdue at Illinois, 7 p.m.
Ohio State at Wisconsin, 7 p.m.
Indiana at Northwestern, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 18
Minnesota at Michigan State, 6 p.m.
Ohio State at Illinois, 7 p.m.
Purdue at Wisconsin, 7 p.m.
Michigan at Indiana, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 19
Penn State at Northwestern, 4 p.m. (SC/FS) 
All times EST.