Nov. 16, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - An efficient offense and stout net defense by No. 25 Illinois gave the Illini a 3-0 sweep of No. 18 Purdue on Saturday night. UI won the match 25-18, 25-18, 25-21.
Illinois hit at a .369 clip for the match and outblocked Purdue 10-6 in match. Junior Val Nichol and sophomore Sam Epenesa turned in nine kills apiece for the Boilers, while redshirt senior Catherine Rebarchak, junior KiKi Jones and sophomore Annie Drews added six each.
Defensively, senior Hilliary Fox pulled up a team-leading 10 digs, followed by redshirt senior Carly Cramer's seven. Jones paced Purdue at the net with three stuffs.
The teams split the first 10 points of the night, but Purdue gained a two-point edge at 7-5 on a kill by Drews and an ace by Nichol. Down 9-7, Illinois scored three straight to take the lead. Purdue tied it up at 10 and 11 on a kill and a block by Rebarchak, but couldn't break through. The Illini pushed ahead 20-14. An Adelaja kill and UI error narrowed the gap to four at 20-16, but Illinois scored four of the next five to set up set point at 24-17. An Epenesa kill kept it going, but the Illini closed out Set 1 at 25-18. Illinois hit .500 in the stanza to Purdue's .312 effort, which included four Epenesa putaways.
The Boilers scored five of the first seven points in Set 2, including an ace by Cramer, but the Illinois turned the tables, registering eight of the next 10 points to go ahead 10-7. Purdue took a timeout at that point and another at 13-8. Kills by Drews, Epenesa, Rebarchak and Nichol pulled the Boilermakers within three at 15-12, but the Illini stretched their advantage to six at 20-14. A stuff by Drews and Adelaja made it a four-point game at 20-16, but that was as close at the Boilers would get as Illinois finished the set with a 5-2 run, including a pair of blocks to cap the stanza. Nichol and Rebarchak had four kills apiece, but it was not enough to overcome UI's .357 hitting effort and four blocks.
Illinois led Set 3 from start to finish, owning an 8-2 edge at the start, its largest of the stanza. The Boilermakers used a 6-1 run to cut the margin to just one at 9-8. Drews turned in two kills, while Jones added a kill and an ace in the stretch. The Illini countered with eight of the next 11 points to go up by six again at 17-11. Purdue rallied again, closing the gap to two at 18-16, prompting a UI timeout. Back-to-back blocks by Drews aided the Boilermakers in the rally. The teams split the next 10 points, leading to a 23-21 score. A pair of Drews kills and an ace by Jones helped Purdue stay close. A pair of kills by Liz McMahon ended the comeback bid and the match at 25-21.
The Boilermakers (16-11, 7-9 Big Ten) return to action at 7 p.m. Friday when they face off with Nebraska on Belin Court.