Aug 31, 2013
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The No. 21 Western Kentucky Lady Toppers stole away a five-set heartbreaker from the No. 16 Purdue volleyball team on Saturday night, cutting short the Boilermaker comeback bid in a 3-2 loss. WKU won the match 16-25, 26-24, 25-19, 19-25, 15-8 to claim second place in the Mortar Board Premier.
The Boilermakers split the offensive load with six players tallying seven or more kills. Junior Val Nichol led the way with 14, rounding out a double double with 24 assists and also adding seven digs. Redshirt senior Catherine Rebarchak (12) and sophomore Annie Drews (10) followed. Junior KiKi Jones chipped in nine, while redshirt senior Katie Griffin and all-tournament team selection Faye Adelaja added seven apiece. Purdue posted 66 kills to WKU's 55, but were outdone by the Lady Toppers in nearly every other statistical category.
Defensively, redshirt senior libero Carly Cramer led the way with a match-high 19 digs. Sophomore Amanda Neill followed with eight saves, while Nichol chipped in seven. Senior Hilliary Fox and redshirt senior Rachel Davis added six digs apiece. Adelaja paced the Boilers at the net with seven blocks, including one solo effort.
The Boilermakers fought back from a 2-1 deficit and took the fourth set 25-19 to force the decisive fifth set, but found themselves playing from behind throughout the final stanza. WKU jumped out to a quick 7-1 advantage. Purdue bounced back with four of the next five points, including kills by Jones, Rebarchak and Cramer and a block by Jones and sophomore Sam Epenesa, to pull within three at 8-5 and force a Lady Topper timeout. WKU pushed ahead 13-6. A Rebarchak kill and a stuff by Adelaja and Epenesa kept the match going, but a kill by Rachel Engle clinched the win at 15-8 for Western Kentucky.
Purdue started the night with a convincing 25-16 win in the opening set. The Boilermakers owned a 24-12 advantage, but WKU hung around with four straight points before a net violation clinched the set for the home team. The teams split the first 10 points of the set, before Purdue claimed a five-point lead on an ace by Neill at 11-6. Griffin, Epenesa, Jones, Adelaja and Rebarchak each chipped in kills as Purdue vaulted ahead by 10 at 21-11. Another Griffin kill gave Purdue the 24-12 edge before the final WKU push. The Boilermakers hit .419 in the set, while limiting Western Kentucky to a .152 effort.
The teams traded points leading to a 6-6 tie early in Set 2, but WKU used a 4-0 run to go ahead 9-6. Purdue countered with nine of the next 11 points to turn the deficit into a 15-11 edge. Nichol put down two kills and three other Boilermakers contributed offensively in the rally. Trailing 16-12, the Lady Toppers mounted a comeback, knotting the score at 16 with a 4-0 run. The teams tied again at 17, but Purdue pushed ahead by three at 23-20 on an overpass putaway by Nichol. The Boilermakers had a shot at the set at 24-22 after a kill by Adelaja, but Western Kentucky took a timeout and scored four straight out of the break to steal away the 26-24 win.
Western Kentucky took a 2-1 lead in the match with a 25-19 win in Set 3. The Lady Toppers hit .257 in the stanza, while limiting the Boilers to a .079 effort. Purdue led 2-1 after a pair of kills by Drews, but it was nearly all WKU after that. Western went up 9-5 and Nichol put down two kills to cut the margin to one at 9-8, but the Lady Toppers poured on seven of the next 10 to take a 17-11 lead. The Boilermakers would get no closer than four (21-17 and 22-18) the rest of the way. Trailing 24-18, Drews gave Purdue a kill to keep the set going, but a hitting error ended the stanza.
Drews racked up five kills and Rebarchak added four as Purdue kept the night going with a 25-19 Set 4 win. The teams led 7-5 in the early part of the set, but Western Kentucky managed a three-point lead midway through at 14-11. The Boilermakers continued to chip away, scoring seven of the next nine to turn the tables and go ahead 18-16. An ace by Drews, a pair of Rebarchak kills and a couple of Adelaja stuffs highlighted the rally. The teams tied at 18, but Purdue skated to the win with a set closing 7-1 run. Drews had three kills down the stretch, while Neill served up an ace along the way. Purdue outhit WKU .250 to .167 in the set and managed four blocks in the stanza.
No. 16 Purdue (1-2) returns to action at 4:30 p.m. Friday when they take on Poland in an exhibition match in South Bend, Ind., as part of the Golden Dome Invitational.