Purdue Opens Season, Tournament with 3-2 Victory

September 5, 1998

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Amazing Kreskin? No, it's Joey Vrazel. Vrazel, the fourth-year Purdue volleyball coach predicted blocking would be a key to success for her Boilermakers this season and she was right, as the Old Gold and Black used improved blocking skills to defeat Central Florida 15-11, 15- 17, 15-4, 10-15, 15-11 in their first match of the ninth-annual Mortar Board Purdue Premier tonight. Purdue is now 1-0, while Central Florida is 0-1.

The Boilers started off a bit slowly in Game 1 and found themselves down 1-5 before coming back to tie the score at 5-5. The Golden Knights ran the score to 8-11 before the Boilermakers rallied off seven unanswered points to close out the game 15-11. Purdue got five points on blocks and senior Colleen Henican accounted for five points, including three in a row.

Game 2 looked good from the start, as Purdue stormed out to a 7-0 lead. But Central Florida clawed its way back into the contest, however, capitalizing on poor passing by the Boilers. The Golden Knights were able to turn things around and come back from an 8-14 deficit to win the game 17-15.

Both teams battled at the beginning of Game 3, and the Boilers took the game's first point on a kill by senior co-captain Bev Krupa. Just like it did in Game 2, Purdue stormed out to an early lead. Before the Golden Knights knew it, the Boilers were up 9-0, showing no sign of relenting. The Boilers capitalized on some Central Florida miscues, as well as a .429 team hitting percentage of their own, to capture the game 15-4.

Central Florida answered once again to post a 15-10 Game 4 victory, forcing a deciding Game 5. In that final rally-scoring game, Central Florida took the first point but quickly watched Purdue go on a 9-2 tear. The Golden Knights responded but it was not enough, as the Boilers scored their final two points on a Central Florida service error and hitting error, giving Purdue the 15-11 game win and match victory.

"This was a good start for us," Vrazel said. "I am pleased with what we did and know that things can only keep getting better. We needed to start off feeling confident about ourselves and I think we did that. We pulled it together and came out with a big win against a very good Central Florida team."

The Boilers totaled 27 blocks tonight, more than any single match output in 31 matches last season. Sophomore Jennie Williams and junior Connie Paul both accounted for career bests of seven blocks on the night.

"We've been focused on our blocking since spring practice," Vrazel said. "Central Florida hit very smart, so it was a big accomplishment for us to have the kind of success we had against them up front."

Henican also provided a bright spot for the Boilers. The transfer from Iowa State totaled 22 kills and 11 digs despite having practiced just two days due to a severe high ankle sprain.

"That wasn't too shabby a performance considering she hasn't jumped in the last seven weeks," Vrazel said. "She is going to be an exciting player to watch this season."

Krupa, the Alaskan Assassin, led the Boiler offense with 23 kills. Junior Sarah Emke added 18 and Paul recorded 13 on a .429 hitting percentage. Junior co-captain Taryn Catlin dished out 57 assists.

Tomorrow the Boilers play Alabama-Birmingham (12 noon) and Kentucky (7:30 p.m.). The Wildcats downed the Blazers 12-15, 15-2, 15-12, 15-9 in today's other Mortar Board match.

"We are going to have to stabilize tomorrow," Vrazel said. "UAB is a scrappy team and Kentucky is a big-blocking team. We are going to have to eliminate unforced errors."

Purdue 3, Central Florida 2

Score by Games        1  2  3  4  5 Score
-----------------    -- -- -- -- -- -----
Central Florida..... 11 17  4 15 11 - 2
Purdue.............. 15 15 15 10 15 - 3




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