October 24, 1998
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Panamanian Devil? The Purdue volleyball team, behind the play of Panama native Aneska Arosarena, bedeviled 24th-ranked Minnesota 11-15, 15-6, 16-14, 3-15, 15-8 in the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility tonight. The win improves Purdue's overall record to 11-8 and evens its conference mark at 5-5. Minnesota, meanwhile, falls to 14-6 (4-5 Big Ten). This marks the second time this season Purdue has knocked off a ranked foe (also No. 24 Indiana on Oct. 9) and the first time since 1995 the Boilers have defeated the Gophers, the fifth-ranked team in District 2.
Arosarena, a junior college transfer in her first year as a Boilermaker, tallied a career-high 34 kills on 69 attempts with just six errors to lead Purdue to victory. Arosarena, who just moved from middle blocker to outside hitter, recorded her previous career best of five kills in a loss to 18th-ranked Illinois on Oct. 21. Tonight was her first career start for the Old Gold and Black.
"I felt free out there," Arosarena said. "I was playing to win and everything fell into place. It is an incredible feeling."
Purdue scored first in Game 1, but it was Minnesota that made the first charge putting up five straight points to go ahead 5-1. The Boilers closed the gap to two at 6-4, but the Gophers surged ahead again to widen their lead at 9-4, forcing Purdue's second timeout. That seemed to fire up the Boilers, who came back with four consecutive points following a service ace by Minnesota to reach within two again at 10-8. The Gophers regained control, however, going up 14-9 and serving at game point. But a kill by Krupa earned the Boilers a sideout and helped get Purdue to within three. That was as close as the Boilers would get, though, as Minnesota put the nail in the coffin with a service ace for the 15-11 win.
The Boilers stormed out to a 4-0 lead in Game 2, thanks in part to strong offensive and defensive play by Aneska Arosarena. The Gophers were able to scrape their way back into the game at 5-4, but Purdue responded with six of the game's next seven points to go up 11-5. A Minnesota timeout at 12-6 could not stop the Boilers, though, as a kill by Jennie Williams, a block by Williams and Christy Case and a block solo by Krupa led Purdue to the 15-6 victory.
It was Minnesota that took an early lead in Game 3, scoring the first four points of the contest. Purdue got on the board with two Gopher errors at 4-2, but that prompted a six-point Minnesota run, which put the Boilers down six at 10-4. Purdue regrouped, however, and decreased the margin to four at 12-8, forcing a Gopher timeout. Kills by Sarah Emke, Kelly Colangelo and Arosarena, along with a Minnesota error, knotted the score at 12-all, and a kill by Williams gave Purdue the lead at 13-12. A Gopher ace and kill changed the lead to favor Minnesota at 14-13, but Purdue saved a game point and rallied to win 16-14, finishing off with a demonstrative kill by Krupa.
The Gophers went ahead 4-0 in Game 4, as well, forcing the Boilers into an early discussion break. Minnesota kept pressing, however, and increased its lead to 8-2 before Purdue used its second timeout. Unfortunately, that respite did little to halt the Maroon momentum, as the Gophers closed out the game on a 11-1 run for the 15-3 win, forcing a rally-scoring fifth game.
Purdue romped in Game 5, jumping out to a 5-1 lead punctuated by a block by Krupa and Williams. The Purdue lead was 7-1 before Minnesota could get on the board again. The Boilers went up by seven on a kill by Colangelo, then eight at 12-4 on a Gopher error. The lead was eight again at 14-6 with Purdue serving for the match, but Minnesota saved that point and closed the gap to six at 14-8. But immediately following a Purdue timeout, Arosarena sealed the deal with a kill on a combination play to give the Boilers the game and match victory.
"Minnesota is a very good team," Purdue coach Joey Vrazel said. "Although I was very disappointed in Game 1, we came back and played hard. It was huge to beat the fifth-ranked team in the District. This win can help get us into that poll, which is very important for NCAA consideration."
Purdue outhit Minnesota .347 to .279, and also outblocked (10-6) and outdug (67-64) the Gophers. Krupa tallied 19 kills to help the Boiler cause, while Emke recorded 14 as the only other Purdue player in double figures. Catlin finished with 17 digs to match a career best. Nicole Branagh paced Minnesota with 25 kills.
Purdue hits the road next weekend with matches at No. 2 Penn State and No. 23 Ohio State on Oct. 30 and 31, respectively. The Boilers lost to both teams in West Lafayette earlier this year.
"We need to be stable and compete against Penn State," Vrazel said. "As far as Ohio State goes, we lost a huge opportunity here against them and we can't wait to see them again."