September 19, 1998
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue volleyball team dropped its third match in a row, falling 15-5, 15-17, 12-15, 10-15 to intrastate rival Butler before 1,387 fans in the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility tonight. The loss brings Purdue's record to 5-3, while Butler improves to 2-6.
"This was a very frustrating match," Purdue coach Joey Vrazel said. "We competed real well at the beginning but suffered a letdown as the match went on. That has been our downfall in the three matches we've lost this season."
The Boilers got off to a fast start, scoring Game 1's first three points before Butler could adjust. Purdue increased the lead to 9-2 when the Bulldogs decided to talk things over with a timeout. But talking did not help Butler's cause, as the Boilers came out with two more kills provided by outside hitter Bev Krupa to take an 11-2 lead. A second Bulldog timeout stemmed the Purdue tide, however. The Bulldogs earned a sideout and rattled off three straight points to come within six at 11-5. Purdue then called a timeout which proved worthwhile, as the Boilers responded to score the game's last four points - the final two on authoritative blocks by Krupa and middle blocker Jennie Williams - to win 15-5.
"That was a great start for us and we were feeling very positive about what we were doing," Vrazel said. "We were serving and passing well and that made a big difference."
A seesaw battle followed in Game 2, as neither the Boilers nor Bulldogs could establish a substantial lead early on. But Butler was able to seize the momentum heading into the midway point and grabbed a 7-3 advantage. Purdue surged back, however, capitalizing on strong play by outside hitters Colleen Henican and Kelly Colangelo to go on a 5-1 run to knot the score at eight apiece. Purdue went ahead at 10-9, then went on to game point at 14-11. The Bulldogs saved that game point, along with another moments later, then rallied to tie the score at 14-all. Butler took the lead at 15-14 and had a chance to serve out the game, but a finesse kill by Krupa gave Purdue a sideout and a temporary reprieve. The Bulldogs battled back, though, reclaiming the serve and taking advantage of two errors by Purdue to win the game 17-15.
Purdue returned from the break fired up for Game 3, racing out to an 8-0 lead with the help of precise hitting by rookie Christy Case. The Boilers kept pressing, increasing the lead to 10-3. But the scrappy Bulldogs answered, pounding away to close the gap at 10-6 then tying at 11-11. Butler went ahead 14-12 by disabling the Boilers' offensive attack on nearly every attempt, then finished on a kill to pull out the 15-12 victory.
Having gained control of the match, Butler stormed out in Game 4 to take a 5-2 lead. A timeout by Purdue inspired the Boilers to earn a sideout and score three consecutive points to tie the game at 5-5. But the Bulldogs got their serve back and reeled off three straight blocks to go ahead 8-5. Butler scored another point and looked like it would coast to a win before Purdue turned up the intensity to overtake the advantage at 10-9. But Butler came back once again, reclaiming the lead at 11-10 on a service ace. A kill, followed by a Purdue error and two aces by Bulldog Kristi Kerkhoff, gave the Bulldogs the game win at 15-10.
"We totally lost control of that match," Krupa said. "We didn't do the things we needed to do to win and it cost us."
"This is a tough loss," Vrazel said. "We know what we need to do to be successful but we can't just talk about doing it anymore. It has to be done."
The Boilers were led by Krupa and Henican. The seniors totaled 20 and 18 kills, respectively, and both contributed double-figure dig matches. Butler was led by Amy Pickett, who had 20 kills, icludig 11 in Game 2 alone. The Boilers, who hit .407 in Game 1, hit at a .238 clip for the match. Butler hit at .214. Butler served up 15 aces compared to Purdue's seven.
The Boilers return to action against Toledo in the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. The match with the Rockets will be Purdue's last non-conference test of the 1998 season.