September 16, 1998
NORMAL, Ill. - The first four-game match of the season did not turn out like the Purdue volleyball team would have hoped. The Boilers fell 15-10, 7-15, 8-15, 4-15 to Illinois State in Normal tonight. The loss brings Purdue's record to 5-2, while the Redbirds improve to 5-3.
The Boilers got off to a good start, jumping out to a 5-0 lead in Game 1 before the Redbirds could respond. The Boilers ran the advantage to 8-3 and then to 10-6 before Illinois State made a comeback. The Redbirds knotted the score at 10 and seemed to have seized the momentum, but the Boilers quickly regrouped. Kills by Colleen Henican and Kelly Colangelo earned Purdue important sideouts, keeping the Boilers in position to win. An Illinois State error, followed by a kill by Henican and another Redibird mistake, gave Purdue the 15-10 victory.
"We started very well," Purdue coach Joey Vrazel said. "That was real important for our confidence and showed that we were focused early on."
Illinois State took the early advantage in Game 2 before Purdue rattled off three consecutive points to tie the score at 3-3. The Boilers got to within one at 5-6 and 6-7, but the Redbirds wouldn't allow the Old Gold and Black any closer than that. Despite some strong play from Bev Krupa and Colangelo down the stretch, the Boilers could muster just one more point and surrendered the game 7-15.
Some crafty play found the Boilers four straight points in Game 3, helping them take a 5-2 edge. But Illinois State answered in a hurry, overcoming the deficit to take a 7-5 lead. The Boilers could not catch up to the Redbirds after that, and Illinois State emerged with the 15-8 win. After those two consecutive victories Illinois State appeared anxious to finish things off. The Redbirds ran out to a 7-3 lead, which quickly turned into an 11-4 advantage. Illinois State hung on from there and closed out the game and match with a 15-4 win.
"Illinois State is a very tough team and we knew we would have to compete on every point to beat them," Vrazel said. "Unfortunately, we didn't compete very well in Games 2, 3 and 4, and when they charged at us we didn't respond. We did do some nice things, but some people struggled and that hurt us."
Leading the way once again for the Boilers was Krupa. The outside hitter totaled 16 kills and 12 digs on the night. Middle blocker Sarah Emke finished with 14 kills, while Henican contributed a double-double (12 kills, 10 digs). Purdue hit just .167 for the match (57-30-162), while Illinois State hit .272 (65-24-151) and recorded 21 blocks.
The Boilers had 12 total blocks. The Boilers return to the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility for a final non-conference weekend against Butler on Sept. 18 and Toledo on Sept. 19.