DENVER, Colo. - The No. 13 Boilermaker volleyball team picked up its fourth sweep of the season, downing the Air Force Academy Falcons 3-0 Friday evening. Purdue won the match 25-20, 25-20, 25-11.
Senior Tiffany Fisher pounded down 14 kills in 16 swings, hitting at a stellar .875 clip, the second-best mark in a three-game match in program history. Junior Ariel Turner racked up 13 kills and hit .333 in her return to her home state. Redshirt sophomore Catherine Rebarchak and rookie Val Nichol each chipped in five kills, while redshirt sophomore setter Rachel Davis and freshman Kierra "KiKi" Jones put down four apiece. The Boilermaker offense hit at a collective .400 clip, while holding Air Force to a .079 effort.
Defensively, senior Emily Ehlers led the way with nine digs. Redshirt senior Blair Bashen (7) and junior Carly Cramer (6) also chipped in. At the net, Fisher led the way with five stuffs, while Davis added three.
Fourteen players of Purdue's 15 member roster saw action in the match.
The Boilermakers fell behind 3-1 early in the first set, but roared back with three straight points on kills, two by Fisher, to surge ahead 4-3. The Falcons would not go quietly, however, taking three of the next four points to go up 6-5. Another Fisher putaway knotted the score at six and kicked off a 4-0 Purdue rally. Turner chipped in two of her six kills in the stanza as the Boilermakers pushed ahead 9-6. Up by just one at 10-9, the Boilermakers put together a 5-0 run. Air Force cut the six point lead to three at 16-13, but Purdue countered with six of the next eight points, including an ace by Fisher. Trailing 22-15, the Falcons narrowed the gap to four at 23-19. A kill by Rebarchak gave Purdue its first set-point attempt. A net violation two points later capped the set at 25-20.
Fisher tacked on seven kills in a 25-20 Set 2 win as the Boilermakers shook off an early deficit and a late Falcon run. Air Force took the first two points of the stanza, but it was soon all Boilermakers as the team broke off a 6-0 run to take a 9-3 lead. Fisher put down four kills and added a block in the first 12 points. Purdue continued to build its advantage, never allowing USAFA closer than four points. Up 14-10, the Boilermakers rallied again to distance themselves, soon owning an eight point lead at 21-13. Turner and Fisher each added two kills and Nichol registered one during the stretch. Kills by Davis and Nichol made it 23-15, but the set was far from over. Three Boilermaker miscues and an Air Force kill slashed the margin to four at 23-19. A kill by redshirt sophomore Katie Griffin edged Purdue closer, but a Jones putaway finally closed the door at 25-20.
Purdue hit at a .444 clip in Set 3, while limiting the Falcons to a -.192 mark, thanks in part to a seven-block effort. Air Force again scored first, going up 2-0, but the Boilermakers turned things around with a 12-3 run, prompting a Falcon timeout. Four kills and a block by Fisher, an ace by Blair Bashen and two Turner putaways aided the Boilermaker effort. Freshman Kaisley Fisher also picked up her first career block in the stretch. Air Force scored four of the next six to make it 14-9, but Purdue flexed its muscle, closing out the set with an 11-2 run, including five blocks. Fisher, Turner and Davis posted solo stuffs as Purdue went up 24-10. Sophomore Hilliary Fox capped the match with a kill two points later.
The Boilermakers (4-0) return to action at 3 p.m. ET Saturday against the Bryant Bulldogs and close out the Denver Invitational with a 9 p.m. ET match against the host Pioneers.