WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The No. 13 Boilermaker volleyball team fed off the energy from the sold-out crowd of 2,919 and dug deep to pull out a five-set win over No. 21 Illinois Saturday night. The 25-20, 22-25, 25-20, 10-25, 15-7 win moves Purdue to 4-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1990 and extends the team's win streak to eight matches.
Senior Ariel Turner pounded down 25 kills, including the final three of the match, while freshman Annie Drews (13) and redshirt junior Catherine Rebarchak (10) also posted double-digit kill tallies. Sophomore Kiki Jones added nine kills and a team-best three blocks.
Redshirt junior Carly Cramer lead the defense with 15 digs, while redshirt junior Rachel Davis (12) and freshman Amanda Neill (11) also managed double-digit saves. Turner just missed a double-double, tallying nine digs, while Davis rounded out a double-double with 50 assists. Davis, Neill and Turner each served up an ace for the Boilermakers.
The Illini topped Purdue in nearly every statistical category, except aces (3-1) and digs (58-54), but the Boilermakers pulled out the win.
The crowd gave Purdue an overwhelming standing ovation before the decisive fifth set and helped propel the Boilermakers to an early 7-3 advantage. Purdue scored three of the first four points, two on Drews putaways. Two Turner kills and a pair of Illini miscues pushed the Boilermakers to the four-point edge. Another Turner putaway and a UI hitting error forced the Illini to use their final timeout of the night trailing 9-5. Two Illinois service errors (their 13th and 14th of the night) made it 11-7. A hitting error and trio of Turner kills captured the 15-7 win and the match. The Boilermakers hit .375 in the set, while holding the Illini to a .000 effort.
Both teams came out in fire in Set 1, hitting .519 (Purdue) and .406 (Illinois) respectively, but Purdue edged the Illini 25-20. Drews led the way for the Boilermakers with nine kills in 10 swings in the stanza. Purdue raced out to an 11-6 lead, including aces by Turner and Davis and a stuff by Rebarchak and senior Anna Drewry. Illinois narrowed the gap to three at 12-9, but Purdue pushed ahead 19-14 as Jones and Drews each downed a pair of kills. A 4-0 Illini run cut it 19-17, but Purdue closed out the set with a 6-3 run, propelled by five Drews putaways.
Illinois hit .410 in a 25-22 Set 2 victory, which saw the Boilermakers play from behind from the 3-2 mark on. Purdue led 2-1, but the Illini turned that into a 7-3 advantage. Purdue used a 4-0 run, including two Rebarchak kills to knot the score at 7. The teams traded points over the next eight serves leading to an 11-11 score. The Illini went up 17-14, prompting a Purdue timeout, but the Boilermakers scored three of the next four to make it a one-point game at 18-17. Illinois countered with five of the next six points to go ahead 23-18. Purdue responded with a 4-1 run of its own and fought off two-set point attempts, down 24-20, to keep the game going. A kill by Liz McMahon finally capped the set.
The momentum swung back to the Boilermakers in Set 3 as Turner piled up eight kills on 12 swings and the team hit at a .486 clip. Purdue jumped ahead 6-3 as Jones downed three kills, but Illini tied it up at 7-7-7. Kills by Rebarchak and Turner and an ace by Neill made it 10-7 Purdue, but the Illini would not go away, cutting the margin to one six times, last at 17-16. The Boilermakers scored five of the next six, including two kills and a block by Turner to go up 22-17. Illinois answered with three of the next four points to make it 23-20, but kills from Drewry and Turner gave Purdue the 2-1 lead in the match.
The Illini made just one hitting error in Set 4, while blocking Purdue six times en route to a 25-10 win. UI led 10-2 out of the gate, before a kill and a block by Jones stopped the bleeding. Purdue was within six again at 12-6 on a Rebarchak kill, but Illinois didn't allow the Boilermakers two points in a row the rest of the stanza, sending the match to a fifth set with a 13-4 run.
The No. 13 Boilermakers (13-2, 4-0 Big Ten) return to action at 8 p.m. Friday when they take on No. 4 Nebraska in a nationally televised match on Big Ten Network. Tickets are still available for the contest by calling 1-800-49-SPORT or buying online at purduesports.com. It's Social Media Night at Belin Court, so stay tuned to Twitter and Facebook throughout the week for contests and other pertinent information.