Oct. 23, 1997

Purdue Volleyball Out To Snap Losing Streak At Home

By Tom Schott

With its next four matches to be played in the friendly confines of the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility, the Purdue volleyball team figures the time is right to end its lengthy losing streak.

The Boilermakers (7-12, 0-8) have lost eight in a row and are off to their worst start in Big Ten Conference play in the 23-year history of the program. The school record for consecutive setbacks is 10 by the 1989 team from Sept. 17-Oct. 15.

This weekend the Boilermakers play host to Michigan (13-6, 6-2), the surprise team of the Big Ten in 1997, on Friday and to Northwestern (11-8, 2-6), which nearly knocked off No. 1-ranked and undefeated Penn State last weekend, on Saturday. Both matches begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for Saturday's match are $2 for adults and $1 for students, half the normal price.

"Our fans have been great this year and throughout my career," senior setter Linda Menconi said. "I hope they will continue to support us, and I know they will, because we need them now as much as ever. They mean so much to us as far as our home-court advantage is concerned."

Following this weekend's action, Purdue plays host to Minnesota on Halloween (Friday, Oct. 31) and to Iowa on Sunday, Nov. 2. The Purdue-Iowa match will begin at 5 p.m. and will televised live on SportsChannel/Fox Sports Chicago.

Freshman outside hitter Katie Gibbons has emerged as an all-around leader for the youthful Boilermakers. She tops the team in kills (3.60 per game), ranks second in service aces (19) and is third in digs (1.90 per game). "Katie loves responsibility," Purdue coach Joey Vrazel said. "She came up to me (earlier this year) and said, 'I want to be the priority hitter. I want to be the top hitter on our team.' It's really exciting to have a young player of her caliber to be in that position the next four years."

1997 Big Ten Conference Volleyball Standings (through Oct. 22, 1997)
             Big Ten     Overall
Penn State   9-0 1.000   20-0  1.000
Wisconsin    7-1  .875   16-2   .889
Michigan     6-2  .750   13-6   .684
Minnesota    5-3  .625   15-4   .789
Michigan St. 5-3  .625   15-6   .714
Ohio State   4-4  .500   13-7   .650
Illinois     3-5  .375   12-6   .667
Indiana      3-6  .333   16-6   .727
Northwestern 2-6  .250   11-8   .579
Iowa         1-7  .125    8-11  .421
Purdue       0-8  .000    7-12  .368

This Week's Results and Remaining Schedule 
Wednesday, Oct. 22
Penn State def. Indiana 15-3, 15-4, 12-15, 15-6 (at Bloomington) 
Friday, Oct. 24
Northwestern at Ohio State, 6:30 p.m.
Wisconsin at Iowa, 7 p.m.
Illinois at Minnesota, 7 p.m.
Michigan State at Indiana, 7:30 p.m.
Michigan at Purdue, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 25
Michigan State at Penn State, 6:30 p.m.
Illinois at Iowa, 7 p.m.
Wisconsin at Minnesota, 7 p.m.
Northwestern at Purdue, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 26
Michigan at Ohio State, 5 p.m. (SC/FS)
All times EST.