Nov. 4, 1997

Purdue Volleyball Travels To Ohio State, Michigan State

By Tom Schott
For the Journal and Courier

Throughout its history, the Purdue volleyball team has been ultra-successful in five-game matches. The Boilermakers are 76-47 (.618 winning percentage) in such contests over the last 23 years.

Under third-year coach Joey Vrazel, the Boilermakers are 8-5 when going the distance, including a 3-1 record this season.

Purdue (9-14, 2-10) is coming off a thrilling 15-6, 6-15, 15-12, 8-15, 15-12 marathon-like victory over Iowa on Sunday and travels to Ohio State, which handed the Boilermakers their only five-game loss of the season Oct. 8, on Wednesday. The Boilermakers also have five-game wins over Indiana State and Duke in 1997.

"I think a lot of our success in five-game matches can be attributed to our conditioning," Vrazel said. "As a team, we are in pretty good shape, both in terms of strength and stamina. I think when other teams start to slow down in those longer matches, we don't skip a beat. We're as strong in the fifth game as we are in the first."

Since the 1991 season, the fifth and deciding game has been played under rally-scoring rules, with every serve resulting in a point for one team or the other. The Boilermakers are 19-19 in those games.

"With rally scoring, you really don't have a lot of opportunity to think," junior outside hitter Bev Krupa said. "Everything happens so fast, you pretty much just have to react and play volleyball. It's weird, you play and play and play to get to a fifth game, and then before you know it, it's over."

The Boilermakers very well could be undefeated in five-game matches this year. They raced to a 6-0 lead in the decisive game against Ohio State before the Buckeyes rallied. Since then, Ohio State (17-7, 8-4) has won six of its last seven matches, losing only at Big Ten Conference co-leader Wisconsin. The Buckeyes are in a three-way tie for third place in the conference with Michigan and Michigan, while Purdue is in a three-way tie for ninth place with Iowa and Northwestern.

"We feel we let the Ohio State match slip away, and it's one we should have won," sophomore middle blocker Sarah Emke said. "It will definitely be a motivator for us when we play them again Wednesday."

The Boilermakers visit Michigan State (18-7, 8-4) on Saturday.

1997 Big Ten Conference Volleyball Standings 
(through Nov. 2, 1997)
Penn State      11-1   .917   22-1   .957
Wisconsin       11-1   .917   20-2   .909
Michigan State   8-4   .667   18-7   .720
Ohio State       8-4   .667   17-7   .708
Michigan         8-4   .667   15-8   .652
Minnesota        7-5   .583   17-6   .739
Illinois         4-8   .333   13-9   .591
Indiana          3-9   .250   16-9   .640
Northwestern     2-10  .167   11-12  .478
Purdue           2-10  .167    9-14  .391
Iowa             2-10  .167    9-14  .391
This Week's Schedule
Wednesday, Nov. 5
Purdue at Ohio State, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 7
Illinois at Michigan, 7 p.m.
Ohio State at Michigan State, 7 p.m.
Indiana at Iowa, 8 p.m.
Penn State at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Wisconsin at Northwestern, 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 8
Wisconsin at Michigan, 7 p.m.
Purdue at Michigan State, 7 p.m.
Penn State at Iowa, 8 p.m.
Indiana at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Illinois at Northwestern, 8:30 p.m.
All times EST.