October 21, 1998
WEST LAFYETTE, Ind. -- Eighteen is not a lucky number for the Purdue volleyball team. The Boilers fell 7-15, 8-15, 13-15 to No. 18 Illinois in the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility tonight, marking the third time this season Purdue has dropped to the 18th-ranked team in the nation (also Michigan State and Ohio State). The loss brings the Boilers' record to 10-8 (4-5 Big Ten), while Illinois improves to 14-5 (7-2 Big Ten).
"We just couldn't get our offense going," Purdue coach Joey Vrazel said. "The team is disappointed because we really thought we had a chance against Illinois."
Both teams struggled to score the first point of Game 1, but it was Purdue that struck first on a kill by Bev Krupa. The game continued to be a battle, as neither team could create any lasting runs. Deadlocked at 3-3 and 6-6, it was Illinois that made the first move at establishing a lead by going ahead 9-6 and forcing a Boiler timeout. Quickly that three-point cushion was enlarged to seven at 13-6, and that was all the Illini would need, as they closed out the game by score of 15-7.
Illinois jumped out to a 4-0 lead in Game 2, prompting a Purdue timeout. The Boilers capitalized on an Illini error to get on board at 1-5, but the Orange and Blue answered back with a 4-0 run to go ahead 9-1. Purdue responded in a big way, though, scoring the game's next five points to come within three at 9-6. Purdue drew even closer on a block by Colleen Henican and Sarah Emke that made the score 10-8 in favor of Illinois. Unfortunately, despite saving two game points, the Boilers would get no closer, and Illinois grabbed a 15-8 victory.
The Fighting Illini rode four service aces, a kill and a Purdue error to build a 6-0 lead in Game 3. The Boilers responded, however, scoring four consecutive points to close the gap to two at 4-6. Illinois went up 9-4, but Boiler reserve Aneska Arosarena injected Purdue with some fire and helped bring the Old Gold and Black to within one at 9-8 and again at 10-9. A block by Emke and Taryn Catlin followed by an Illinois error knotted the score at 11-all, and a service ace by Henican gave Purdue its first lead of the game and second of the match at 12-11. The Illini reclaimed the lead at 13-12 and went ahead 14-12 with a match point. Purdue saved that and scored on the next point, then saved match point No. 2 and No. 3. But Illinois found success on match point No. 4, taking a 15-13 game win and the match victory.
Neither team hit particularly well, as Purdue hit .101 compared to Illinois' .182. Krupa paced the Boilers with 14 kills, while Catlin contributed nine digs. Tracey Marshall led the Fighting Illini with 19 kills.
Despite the loss, Vrazel was pleased with the spark delivered by Arosarena off the bench.
"It wasn't a surprise that Aneska played the way she did," Vrazel said. "She came in and did a great job. We hope to see more of her coming out and competing like that."
Purdue has one day off before it returns to the court to host 24th-ranked Minnesota on Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the IAF.
"We match up well against Minnesota," Vrazel said. "We know our job. We want to go out and get at least a split."