Oct. 29, 1997

Purdue Volleyball Plays Host to Minnesota, Iowa

By Tom Schott For the Journal and Courier

It's only a one-match winning streak, but the Purdue volleyball team is feeling better about itself these days.

The Boilermakers (8-13, 1-9) are coming off a three-game dismantling of Northwestern last Saturday and hope to build on the victory in home matches against Minnesota on Friday (7:30 p.m.) and Iowa on Sunday (5 p.m.). The Purdue-Iowa match will be televised live by SportsChannel/Fox Sports Chicago.

''We had such a tremendous team effort against Northwestern, and everyone came to practice this week feeling pretty good because they contributed to the win,'' said sophomore middle blocker Sarah Emke, who ranks second on the Boilermakers with 3.48 kills per game and is tops with an average of 0.95 blocks. ''Now we need to keep everyone on the same page and maintain our consistency. It may just be one win, but it's the first time we are heading into a Big Ten match with a win to our credit.''

This weekend marks the start of the second half of Big Ten double round-robin play.

''We still have 10 matches to play, which is a lot of volleyball,'' Purdue coach Joey Vrazel said. ''We may not be in a position to win the conference, but we can affect how a lot of teams finish in the standings. Plus, we're still in a good position to move up a few spots ourselves.'' Indeed.

The Boilermakers currently are last in the Big Ten, but Iowa (9-12, 2-8) and Northwestern (11-11, 2-9) are just one game ahead, while Illinois (12-8, 3-7) and Indiana (16-7, 3-7) are only in front by two games.

''We feel we can catch those four teams,'' sophomore setter Taryn Catlin said. ''Of course, that means we are going to have to start winning more regularly, but I think we are going to be a much more consistent team in the second half.''

Consistency plagued the Boilermakers the first time they played Minnesota and Iowa earlier this month. Purdue looked by world beaters at times against both teams but ultimately ended up losing both matches in four games. The Golden Gophers (16-5, 6-4) come to town tied for fourth place in the Big Ten with Michigan State and Ohio State.

The United Way will be taking up a collection prior to the Purdue-Minnesota match. Regular admission will be charged ($4 adults, $2 students).

1997 Big Ten Conference Volleyball Standings (through Oct. 29, 1997)
Penn State      10-0        1.000       21-0       1.000
Wisconsin        9-1         .900       18-2        .900
Michigan         8-3         .727       15-7        .682
Minnesota        6-4         .600       16-5        .762
Michigan St.     6-4         .600       16-7        .696
Ohio State       6-4         .600       15-7        .682
Indiana          3-7         .300       16-7        .696
Illinois         3-7         .300       12-8        .600
Iowa             2-8         .200       9-12        .429
Northwestern     2-9         .182      11-11        .500
Purdue           1-9         .100       8-13        .381

This Week's Results and Remaining Schedule 
Wednesday, Oct. 29
Michigan def. Northwestern 15-9, 15-5, 15-3 (at Evanston) 
Friday, Oct. 31
Northwestern at Michigan State, 7 p.m.
Iowa at Ohio State, 7:30 p.m.
Minnesota at Purdue, 7:30 p.m.
Indiana at Illinois, 8 p.m.
Penn State at Wisconsin, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 1
Penn State at Illinois, 8 p.m.
Indiana at Wisconsin, 8 p.m.
Minnesota at Ohio State, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 2
Michigan at Michigan State, 2 p.m.
Iowa at Purdue, 5 p.m. (SC/FS)
All times EST.