Sept. 14, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. - The No. 22 Purdue volleyball team pulled out a gutsy five-set win over Pittsburgh, fighting off several Panther rallies in the match. The Boilermakers won the match 25-13, 21-25, 25-18, 17-25, 15-11 to move to 5-2 on the season.
Sophomore Annie Drews led the way with 12 kills, while junior Val Nichol also reach double-digits with 10. Junior KiKi Jones added nine kills, while sophomore Sam Epenesa and redshirt senior Katie Griffin chipped in eight and seven respectively. Nichol narrowly missed the triple double, adding 19 assists and nine digs to tallies.
Defensively, redshirt senior libero Carly Cramer paced the team with 15 digs, followed by redshirt senior setter Rachel Davis and sophomore Amanda Neill, who managed 10 apiece. At the net, redshirt freshman Faye Adelaja put up 11 blocks, marking the first time a Purdue player has tallied 10 or more stuffs in a match since 2010 (Kristen Arthurs, 12 vs. Michigan, 10/23/10). Jones added six blocks as Purdue outdid the Panthers at the net, 17-14.
The Boilers scored three of the first four points of the decisive fifth set, but soon found themselves on the short end of a 6-4 score. Purdue rallied to take a 10-7 lead as Griffin, Nichol and Adelaja put away kills. A Pittsburgh service error and Griffin kill made it 12-8. Another serving miscue and a stuff by Adelaja and Drews put the Boilermakers on the hill at 14-10. Drews pounded down her final kill to end it at 15-11.
The Boilermakers cruised to a 25-13 Set 1 win care of a balanced offensive attack and five stuffs. Purdue hit .375, while limiting the Panthers to a -.036 effort. Neill began the match with an ace , helping propel the Boilers to an early 6-1 lead. Kills from Nichol and Epenesa also aided Purdue in the early goings. The Boilermakers managed five straight points, including a trio of aces by Jones to push ahead 13-4. A stuff by Epenesa and Jones made it an 11-point game at 20-9. Purdue closed out the set with a 4-0 run, including a pair of blocks by Adelaja.
Purdue looked to be in control again in Set 2, taking a 9-3 lead, but Pitt came charging back and stole away the stanza at 25-21. The Boilermakers piled up four blocks in the early rally and capitalized on a few Pitt miscues. Trailing 10-5, the Panthers put together an 11-5 run to turn the deficit into a one-point edge at 16-15. The Boilermakers took a timeout, but could not slow the Pitt offense, which boosted its lead to five at 21-16. Purdue narrowed the gap to two at 23-21 on an Epenesa putaway, prompting a Pitt timeout, but the Panthers put down a pair of kills after the break to cap the 25-21 win.
The Boilermakers withstood a late Pitt rally to capture a 25-18 Set 3 win. Purdue led it 6-2 early, but the Panthers cut the margin to two at 10-8. The Boilers built a 12-point advantage at 22-10 as Neill served up an ace, Adelaja put up a solo block and three different players put down kills. Purdue had its first chance at the set at 24-15 after a Jones kill, but Pitt pulled within six at 24-18 before another Jones putaway clinched the 25-18 win.
The Panthers led the stanza from start to finish in a 25-17 Set 4 win, forcing Purdue timeouts at 9-4 and 14-6. The Boilermakers trailed by as many as 10, including 23-13, but mounted a late comeback with a 4-1 run to hold off a trio of set point attempts, but it was too little too late. Pitt hit .448 and served up three aces in the stanza.
No. 22 Purdue (5-2) wraps up its stay in Tampa with a 7 p.m. contest against the host USF Bulls.