Conquering Sparta

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Freshman Danita Merlau tallied 10 kills in Purdue's sweep of Michigan State Friday night. Purdue looks to extend its win streak to 10 matches when it takes on Northwestern on Friday.
Freshman Danita Merlau tallied 10 kills in Purdue's sweep of Michigan State Friday night. Purdue looks to extend its win streak to 10 matches when it takes on Northwestern on Friday.

Oct. 29, 2005

Final Stats

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The No. 16 Purdue volleyball team reached the 20-win milestone for the first time since 1990 by registering a 3-0 win over Michigan State Saturday night. The Boilermakers moved to 20-3 on the season with the 30-22, 30-24, 30-28 victory and extended their current win streak to nine matches.

After ties at 1, 2, Purdue used a 3-1 run to take a 5-3 lead on a kill by freshman Danita Merlau (New Palestine, Ind.). Michigan State pulled within one at 5-4 and 6-5, but the Boilermakers chalked up a 6-0 run to push the point margin to seven at 12-5. Senior Sarah Vitali (St. Charles, Ind.), sophomore Sam Mader (Algonquin, Ill.) and freshman Kelli Miller (Muncie, Ind.) put down kills during the stretch, while Vitali and Mader combined on a block and junior Brittany Dildine (West Lafayette, Ind.) served up an ace. The Spartans pulled within six at 13-7, but Purdue continued to distance itself, making it a nine-point game at 20-11 on a back row kill by sophomore Anne Mastandrea (Downers Grove, Ill.). Miller, Lynch, Merlau and senior Renata Dargan (New Lenox, Ill.) posted kills in the push. The Boilermakers continued to build on their lead, pushing the margin to 11 at 23-12 on a block by Mader and Vitali, which followed an ace by Dildine. Purdue maintained at least a nine point advantage the rest of the way, until MSU scored five straight to pull within six at 28-22. A pair of Spartan miscues, however, gave the Boilermakers the 30-22 win. Purdue outhit Michigan State .441 to .171 in the stanza as eight different players registered kills.

Game 2 also featured a tight score early on as the teams tied a one, two, three, four and five before Purdue started to pull away. The Boilermakers managed a four-point lead at 12-8 after kills by Mader, Miller and Merlau. The teams traded points over the next six serves leading to a 15-11 score, but Purdue upped the point margin to six at 18-12 after a pair of MSU errors. The lead stood at seven at 25-18, when the Spartans sliced the point margin to two at 25-23 with a 5-0 run. With a 26-24 lead, Purdue chalked up four straight points, the last two on kills by Lynch, to finish the game at 30-24. Mader and Merlau each posted four kills in the stanza.



Purdue carried the momentum into Game 3, scoring three of the first four points, including kills by Mader and Lynch. Michigan State tied the score at 4-4 and again at 5-5, but the Boilermakers made it a four point game at 9-5 moments later. Vitali and Mader put down kills, while the Spartans committed two errors in the 4-0 run. Down 10-6, MSU posted a 12-6 run to turn the deficit into a 17-16 lead of its own. Michigan State increased its lead to three at 20-17. Purdue tied the score at 22 with a 5-2 run including a kill by Dargan and a block by Vitali and Mader. The teams tied at 23, 24, 25, 26, and 27. Michigan State took a 28-27 lead, but the Boilermakers sealed the match with three straight points on kills by Miller and Lynch and the game winner on a block by Dargan and Lynch.

"It is a great tribute to our players that they are able to continually beat quality teams 3-0," head coach Dave Shondell said. "I am proud of our team's ability to come from behind and win tight games; that is something we didn't have the past two years.

"The matches this weekend were great team efforts. Every aspect of our game was working well. Sarah Vitali stepped in and played remarkable volleyball, after not having played much in the last three years. I am not surprised at her play, but I am very happy for her."

Mader and Merlau led Purdue with 10 kills each, while Lynch and Miller each tallied nine. Vitali posted a career high seven kills and four blocks in the match. Lynch led the Boilermakers with eight, including three solo efforts. Mastandrea led the defense with 18 digs, while Dildine and Miller added 16 and 11 respectively.

Dargan entered the career block assists Top 10 with five blocks assists in the match, giving her 284 for her career. Mastandrea reached the single season digs Top 10 list, with a tally of 398 for the year.

Purdue (20-3, 9-3 Big Ten) returns to the court on Friday when they take on Northwestern in Evanston, Ill.