Nov. 8, 2003
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.- The No. 16 Penn State volleyball team proved to be too much for Purdue, topping the Boilermakers 3-0 with scores of 30-13, 30-24 and 30-23.
The Nittany Lions began the night with an 8-0 run featuring two service aces by West Lafayette native Cara Smith. A pair of Kim McConaha kills helped Purdue get on the board and make it a 9-3 game. Penn State would not slow down, however, running off five more points to take a 14-4 lead. A trio of kills from redshirt sophomore Leah Wischmeier, junior Kim Cappa and sophomore Marie Franke cut the margin to seven at 14-7, but PSU responded with 16 of the next 22 including a six-point rally to seal the game at 30-13. Penn State committed just two errors in the game on 30 swings for a .500 hitting percentage, while the Boilermakers posted a .100 effort.
"I thought Penn State put on a clinic tonight," head coach Dave Shondell said. "I did not think they were capable of playing that well for that long. Usually a team will get on a roll and be really good, but you can steady them out a little bit and they will start to make some errors. But Penn State didn't make many errors in any aspect of their game tonight. Through two games they had three hitting errors, no service errors and no reception errors and that is remarkable. They didn't give us a chance to even compete in game one."
The Boilermakers shook off game one and came out ready to play in game two. Purdue took its first lead of the night on a McConaha kill to open the game. The Boilermakers went up 4-3 on a McConaha service ace, before PSU scored six of the next eight to turn it into a 9-6 Nittany Lion advantage. Purdue pulled to within one twice at 9-8 and 10-9, but Penn State put together an 8-2 rally to stretch the point margin to six at 18-12. The Boilermakers stayed patient and chipped away at the lead, cutting it to two at 24-22 on a kill by freshman Brittany Dildine. A 5-1 run set up PSU's first game-point attempt at 29-23, but a Katie Dobson kill prolonged the game for Purdue. An Ashley Pederson kill clinched the game for the Nittany Lions at 30-24. McConaha had six kills in the game for the Boilermakers as the team hit .271, but Purdue was still bested by PSU's .370 hitting effort.
Trailing 3-1 in game three, Purdue scored four straight to take a 5-3 lead. Penn State tied it at five, but the Boilermakers would not relinquish the lead instead raising the margin back to two at 7-5, 8-6 and 9-7. The Nittany Lions then put up three straight points to take a 10-9 lead. Purdue owned a two-point advantage at 15-13 in the midst of a string which featured nine ties. Down 19-18, Penn State broke through with seven straight points to go up 25-19. Purdue capitalized on a PSU hitting error and a Dildine kill to cut the margin to four at 25-21. A Cara Smith kill, her 11th of the night, made it 29-22 and put Penn State in position to win the match. A Wischmeier kill kept Purdue's hope alive, but the Nittany Lions posted their 10th block of the night to finish the three-game sweep at 30-23.
"All I want our team to do is play hard, play with intensity and play as a team," Shondell said. "I thought in games two and three we demonstrated that. For two games, we played the kind of volleyball we can be proud of. We had two freshmen, Katie Dobson and Brittany Dildine in the front row tonight and they played very well. I thought Dildine was the inspiration for the good play that we had tonight. She was just determined that we were going to compete. In game two, she was flawless, it was like she was on a mission."
McConaha tallied 12 kills to lead Purdue, followed by Wischmeier and Dobson with 10. Dobson posted her first double-digit kill tally with the career-high 10, while hitting .625 the best percentage in the match. Junior libero Daren Poe led the Boilermaker defense with 11 digs, but Dildine was not far behind with 10 digs to go with her career-high seven kills. Ashley Pederson led Penn State with 18 kills, while Smith and Erin Iceman each tallied 11on the night.
Purdue (12-13, 5-9 Big Ten) looks to snap its current eight-match losing streak when it travels to Minneapolis and Iowa City, Iowa, for matches against Minnesota (17-9, 10-4 Big Ten) and Iowa (5-19, 0-14 Big Ten).