WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The No. 21 Boilermaker volleyball team gave No. 2 Penn State all they could handle for four sets in Mackey Arena Saturday night, but fell to the Nittany Lions 3-1. PSU won the match 25-16, 22-25, 25-19, 25-21 in front of 5,520 fans, which marks the fourth largest crowd ever to see a Boilermaker volleyball home match.
The Boilermakers out-dug Penn State 52-36 and posted 53 kills to the Nittany Lions' 50. Senior Ariel Turner posted a match-high 19 kills and added nine digs, while rookie Annie Drews had a breakout night with a career-best 18 kills on a .355 hitting night. Redshirt junior Catherine Rebarchak and sophomore Kiki Jones each turned in five kills.
Defensively, redshirt junior Carly Cramer managed a match-high 16 digs, followed by Turner (9), redshirt senior Amanda Miller (8) and junior Hilliary Fox (7). Jones, Drews and senior Anna Drewry put up three blocks apiece to pace the Boilers at the net.
Drews managed four kills in Set 1, but it was not enough to help Purdue overcome a .407 hitting effort by PSU in a 25-16 loss. Penn State scored four of the first five points, but the Boilermakers settled down and cut the margin to one at 8-7 after a 3-0 run including two PSU miscues and a kill by Turner. A block by Jones and Turner kept it close at 10-9, and a service error made it 11-10 Nittany Lions. Penn State scored six of the next eight to go up 17-12. A kill from Drews and an ace by Fox made it a three-point game at 17-14, but Purdue couldn't mount a further comeback.
The Boilermakers bounced back to hit at a blazing .452 clip in Set 2, paced by eight kills by Turner, in a 25-22 win. Purdue raced out to a 7-1 advantage, including a pair of aces by Cramer and a two kills apiece by Turner and Drews. Penn State charged back with eight of the next 12 points to cut the Boilermaker lead to one at 11-10. The teams traded points over the next six serves, leading to a 14-13 score. The Boilermakers then pulled away thanks to kills by sophomore Val Nichol, Jones and Rebarchak, which made it 18-13. Penn State used both of its timeouts, but couldn't get closer than two the rest of the way. Putaways by four different players kept Purdue on top until Jones put down the final point at 25-22.
Purdue carried the momentum into Set 3, scoring three of the first four points, but couldn't hold off a late charge by the Nittany Lions, falling 25-19. The Boilermakers were up 7-4 after Nichol won a joust at the net and Turner put down another kill, but PSU answered with a 5-0 run, including two blocks and an ace, to vault ahead 9-7. The Boilers knotted it up at 10 after kills by Drewry and Drews. Down 14-11, putaways by Drews and Turner and a stuff by Jones and Turner tied the score again at 14. The teams traded blows tying three more times, last at 18. The Nittany Lions scored six straight to go ahead 24-18. A kill by Drewry held off PSU's first set-point chance, but a Deja McClendon kill ended the set.
The fourth set was a back-and-forth battle throughout, featuring 10 tie scores and six lead changes, but Penn State came out on top 25-21 to take the match. Turner downed six kills and Drews added five, but it was not enough to overcome the team's 10 hitting miscues. Down 5-2, Purdue got kills from Turner, Jones and Rebarchak and help from a PSU service error, to go up 6-5. The Nittany Lions regained the edge at 8-7, but two PSU errors and a Drews putaway made it 10-8 Boilers. Penn State counted with three points of their own to take the lead again, but Purdue managed five of the next seven, including back-to-back blocks by Drewry and Drews, to force a PSU timeout at 15-13. The Nittany Lions capitalized on a pair of Purdue miscues and an ace to go ahead 17-16. A pair of Penn State errors tied it up at 18, but the Nittany Lions managed five of the next six points to make it 23-19. Kills by Turner and Drews kept the Boilers in it at 23-21, but a service error and a kill by Ariel Scott kept Purdue from finishing the comeback.
No. 21 Purdue (19-10, 10-8 Big Ten) return to action at 6 p.m. ET Wednesday when they take on the Indiana Hoosiers for the Monon Spike. The match, which will be streamed live on BTN.com and Purdue All-Access, has been designated as a Black Out match, so fans are encouraged to wear black and support the Boilermakers. Patrons with a ticket to the night's men's basketball game may receive $2 admission to the volleyball match while supplies last.