Sept. 14, 2008
SALT LAKE CITY -- The No. 15 Boilermakers wrapped up their stay at the Utah Classic by knocking off the host Utes 3-2 Saturday night. Purdue won the match 25-22, 21-25, 19-25, 25-19 and 15-12 behind a dominating effort by the Boilermaker seniors.
Stephanie Lynch tallied a match high 25 kills, including 10 in the fourth set alone, while also contributing eight blocks. Danita Merlau posted 16 putaways and 12 digs, while Kelli Miller racked up 34 digs, the fifth 30-plus dig effort of her career.
Sophomore Jaclyn Hart had a great all around night, contributing 17 digs, seven blocks and seven kills, while dishing out 42 assists. Junior Sam Ainsworth served up three aces in the victory.
Lynch was named MVP, while Miller and Hart garnered all-tournament team nods as the Boilermakers clinched their third straight tournament title.
"If we win in five, I would do it every night if that is what it took," head coach Dave Shondell said. "What a show of character for our team. I am sure it sent shockwaves through the nation earlier today when and 0-8 team upset Purdue, but we weren't terrible, we just got beat by probably the best 0-8 team in the country. Moving on from that, I challenged our seniors and told them that if they outplayed the three Utah seniors, we would win. It is clear that they did that. Our seniors were hammering away to our team that we were going to win and they came through for us."
The Utes went ahead 4-1 in the fifth and deciding set, but Purdue charged back to take a 7-5 lead. Three Utah miscues, a block and kills by Merlau and Gurnell made up the rally. The teams split the next six points, before Purdue managed a 3-0 run to push the margin to five at 13-8. The Utes countered with three straight points to make it 13-11 and force a Purdue timeout. A kill by Merlau gave the Boilermakers their first match point attempt, one that was thwarted by a Haynie kill. Appropriately, Lynch rotated into the front row and nailed down her 25th kill of the night to give Purdue the 15-12 win and the tournament title.
Purdue found itself playing from behind in the first set, trailing 16-11 at the halfway point. The Boilermakers were not shaken, however, posting 10 of the next 13 points, punctuated by an overpass kill by Lynch. Merlau also contributed three kills during the stretch which put Purdue on top 21-19 and prompted the Utes to use their second timeout. Utah tied it up at 21 and 22, but a kill by Pierce, a Ute hitting error and solo block by Hart capped the 25-22 win. Lynch racked up eight putdowns in the stanza.
The second set featured seven ties and three lead changes. Ainsworth served up back-to-back aces to help the Boilermakers to a 4-0 advantage. Utah cut the margin to one at 6-5, but a kill by Hart and a Ute hitting miscue put Purdue up 8-5. The Utes ran off six straight points to take an 11-8 lead of their own. The Boilermakers countered with six of the next eight to regain the edge at 14-13. The teams tied four times, last at 17-17, before Utah gained a 19-17 lead. Purdue tied it up at 19-19 after a kill and a block by Arthurs, but the Utes closed the set with a 6-2 rally to take the 25-21 win.
Utah led 5-3 at the start of the third set, but Jaclyn Hart added two kills and two blocks to turn the deficit into a 7-5 Boilermaker lead. Down 9-7 soon after, Utah kicked off an 11-1 run which put them up 17-10. Purdue countered with seven of the next eight points to narrow the gap to one at 18-17, but the Boilermakers could not break through. The Utes instead took the 2-1 lead in the match, capping the 25-19 win with a 7-2 run.
The Boilermakers started the fourth set on a tear, rattling off six of the first seven points, including four putdowns and a block by Lynch. Utah pulled within four three times, last at 12-8, before Purdue turned on the heat. The Boilermakers pushed the margin to seven at 17-10 and did not allow the Utah closer than five the rest of the set. Utah called a timeout at 23-16 and posted back to back kills, but Lynch tacked two more kills on to her tally to seal the 25-19 win.
The Boilermakers (8-1) return to action on Friday when they take on Dayton at the Dayton Classic.