Sept. 12, 2003
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue volleyball team started its 2003 home season with a 3-1 win over Mississippi State (1-6) Friday night at the Mortar Board Purdue Premier. The Boilermakers came from behind to top the Bulldogs, 31-33, 30-26, 30-25, 30-22.
Junior Kim McConaha and freshman Melanie Ukovich racked up 22 kills a piece to lead the Boilermaker effort, while sophomore Renata Dargan handed out a career-high 70 assists. Ukovich led all hitters with a .655 percentage, recording just three errors in 29 swings.
Purdue trailed 1-0 after an extended game one. Mississippi State outhit the Boilermaker .250 to .192 in the game. Ukovich and McConaha each tallied six kills, but that was not enough for Purdue to outlast the Bulldogs. Purdue went up 14-11, but MSU came back taking the lead at 16-15. The match remained close until the Boilermakers reclaimed the lead at 21-20, but it would prove to be short lived as MSU went up 23-22 moments later. Mississippi State had a game point attempt at 29-27, but a Ukovich kill left the door open for Purdue. A block by Ukovich and McConaha tied it at 29, starting a back and forth swing which ended in a tie at 31. A Bulldog kill paired with a Boilermaker error clinch the game for MSU at 33-31.
Game two had a decidedly more Boilermaker flavor. Purdue posted a .410 team hitting percentage, while MSU hit .231. A balanced effort from McConaha, Ukovich and redshirt sophomore Leah Wischmeier pushed the Boilermakers to victory. After trailing early, Purdue took a 10-8 lead, then expanded it to 14-10 moments later on a block by Ukovich and freshman Katie Dobson. MSU chipped away at the Purdue lead cutting it to one at 22-21, following a series of Boilermaker miscues. Purdue would not relinquish the lead, keeping the Bulldogs at bay before eventually finishing the game at 30-26 with kills by Wischmeier and Ukovich.
The Boilermakers took an early 7-3 lead in game three, before extending the point margin to eight at 17-9. The lead increased to 10 at 22-12 forcing a Bulldog timeout. MSU scored the next five points out of the timeout, cutting the lead in half. Kills from three different Boilermakers set up a 29-21 game point attempt, but Purdue could not convert. It took three more game point attempts before a kill by Dargan sowed up the game at 30-25.
The final game of the match never saw the Purdue lead drop below two points. After leading 4-0, the Boilermakers let Mississippi State back in with a 7-3 run to tie it at seven. Purdue rebounded with four straight points, including two Wischmeier kills. A Hilary Chambers ace pulled the Bulldogs to within two at 11-9, but Purdue maintained its composure, extending the lead to five at 16-11. Another three point rally made it 20-14, but MSU countered cutting it to 21-17. The teams traded points before a three-point Purdue rally made it 28-21. The Boilermakers finished the match with a Wischmeier kill and a block by two freshmen, Ukovich and Dobson. Purdue won game four 30-22.
McConaha finished the night with a 22 kill, 10 dig double-double, while also adding five blocks. Junior libero Daren Poe led the team with 13 digs.
The Boilermakers (5-2) continue action at their own Mortar Board tournament with a noon match against Middle Tennessee State and a 7 p.m. contest against Indiana State.
In other day one action, Indiana State (4-3) topped Middle Tennessee State (4-5) 3-1 with scores of 19-30, 31-29, 30-27 and 30-28.