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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The No. 13 Boilermakers (11-1, 1-0 B1G) remain undefeated on Belin Court this season with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-18) victory over Northwestern (10-3, 0-1 B1G) to start Big Ten competition. Ashley Evans set the offense on 40 of its 48 kills, leading to Purdue's .420 hitting percentage on the night.
"I'm just happy to be 1-0 and I thought our team played well," said head coach Dave Shondell. "I thought we were solid tonight. I really felt like in game three when they came out and really raised their level and Northwestern played a really good third game, I thought our level came up. Especially after we got down 14-12, all of the sudden the game turned. We started competing and you saw some fire in the eyes of our players and I thought that was nice to see."
Every Boilermaker hit .333 or better and each of Purdue's hitters registered four kills or more on the night. Northwestern's defense couldn't handle the offensive firepower of Purdue, particularly on the pins as Danielle Cuttino, Azariah Stahl and Sherridan Atkinson all hit .333 or better with at least 11 kills. Atkinson and Stahl each posted 11 kills against the Wildcats with Atkinson leading pin hitters with a .625 hitting percentage. Stahl also registered two blocks, one of which was solo to compliment her two aces and six digs. Cuttino was the leading point scorer with 16.5 points due to 16 kills on 29 swings with just six errors for a .345 hitting percentage and a block assist. Shavona Cuttino was a perfect 4-for-4 out of the middle with two blocks to her credit while Blake Mohler tallied four kills as well with a .333 hitting percentage. Purdue out-blocked Northwestern 5-1 in the contest.
The Boilermakers were able to weather all of the factors that make Northwestern dangerous. Taylor Tashima entered the contest averaging 11.59 assists per set, ranking her 12th in the nation and fourth in the Big Ten. However, a combination of tough serving and solid defense by the Boilermakers resulted in her only setting her offense to a .183 hitting percentage. The Wildcats also entered tonight's match ranking 16th in the nation and second in the Big Ten averaging 1.80 service aces per set. Despite a dose of tough serving, the Boilermakers were still able to execute on serve receive, putting Evans in position to set the offense to its dominant performance.
Brooke Peters led Purdue's defensive efforts and posted her seventh-straight match with 10 digs or more as the junior libero registered 11 on the night. She was also steady on each of the 12 times she was served and has now been aced just twice in the last nine matches. She's been served 117 times in that span. Jena Otec stepped up in her first Big Ten contest passing well on each of the five times she was served and earned seven digs.
Next the Boilermakers will host Ohio State (8-4, 1-0 B1G) on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET in Holloway Gymnasium. The Buckeyes are coming off a three-set victory over Maryland in their conference opener.