November 14, 1998
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue volleyball team picked up a much-needed 15-8, 7-15, 16-14, 15-11 victory over Michigan in the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility tonight. The win snaps Purdue's five-match losing streak and improves the Boilers' record to 12-13 (6-10 Big Ten). The Wolverines, meanwhile, drop to 12-14 (4-12 Big Ten). The victory gives Purdue a sweep of the Maize and Blue this season, as the Boilers defeated the Wolverines 3-1 in the conference opener in Ann Arbor on Sept. 25.
"I am very proud of this team," Purdue coach Joey Vrazel said. "We shifted our blocking and hitting and adapted well to our opponent, which certainly gave us a big lift. We needed this win and worked hard for it. It's good to be back on track."
Purdue came out inspired in Game 1, using strong serving by Sarah Emke and good blocking by Jennie Williams to build an 8-3 lead. The Wolverines slimmed that edge to two at 9-7, but the Boilers, led by the hitting of Bev Krupa, went on a 4-0 run to go ahead 13-7. Two kills by Aneska Arosarena sealed the deal for Purdue, giving the Boilers the 15-8 victory.
The Maize and Blue beat the Boilers out of the blocks in Game 2, snatching their first lead of the match and building it into a 5-1 advantage. But just like that, the Boilers responded with four straight points to knot the score at 5-apiece. Michigan answered that Purdue flurry, though, with a 10-2 run to close out the game for a 15-7 win.
Michigan took a 3-0 lead in Game 3, but the Boilers overtook the edge with four unanswered points. The Wolverines reclaimed the advantage, however, and went ahead 7-4. Purdue came back to tie the score at 7-all, but once again the Wolverines established a lead for themselves, going up 13-8. Once again, though, Purdue responded, as a block and a kill by Connie Paul brought the Boilers to within three at 10-13. A block by Williams, followed by two service aces from Taryn Catlin brought the score to 14-13 in favor of Michigan. After staving off seven game points, the Boilers made the score 14-all on a kill by Paul. Purdue stayed in control from there, and capitalized on a Wolverine error and a block by Williams to pull out the 16-14 victory.
"We stepped up huge in Game 3," Vrazel said. "We pushed through the adversity of having just given up a game and being down early."
With momentum at its back, Purdue sprinted to a 7-3 lead to start off Game 4. But Michigan roared its response with seven consecutive points to steal the edge at 10-7. Two aces by Colleen Henican and two kills by Paul put Purdue back in front at 11-10. Michigan tied the score at 11-apiece, but the Wolverines would get no closer, as the Boilers capped off the match with an ace by Krupa and a block by Christy Case and Sarah Emke for the 15-11 game win and match victory.
"Colleen Henican and Christy Case really gave us a boost," Vrazel said. "They provided a big spark for us defensively."
The Boilers outhit (.396-.305), outblocked (11-8) and outdug (60-50) the Wolverines. Purdue got an astounding 33 kills from Krupa and 23 from Arosarena. Catlin contributed 13 digs to key the defense and also tallied 71 assists and a career-high seven blocks. Case registered eight digs and two blocks, while Henican totaled six digs.
Sarah Behnke paced Michigan with 27 kills and 13 digs.
The win puts Purdue into a tie for sixth place in the conference standings with Minnesota and Ohio State. It also keeps Purdue's hopes alive for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, which has expanded to 64 teams this year.
"We're pushing for a slot into the tournament because somebody in this conference with under a .500 record is going to go," Vrazel said. "But we'll need to pick up the pace and improve in order for us to be that team."
The Boilers will be home again next weekend, as they host No. 8 Wisconsin and Iowa on Nov. 20 and 21, respectively. Both matches will be played in the IAF beginning at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on WAZY-1410 AM.
By Kathleen Offer