Hanging With No. 1 Penn State

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Senior Carrie Gurnell racked up a team-best 10 kills against No. 1 Penn State Friday night.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Senior Carrie Gurnell racked up a team-best 10 kills against No. 1 Penn State Friday night.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Nov. 20, 2009

Final Stats |  Photo Gallery 

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Boilermaker volleyball team became one of only four teams to take a set from No. 1 Penn State this season, topping the Nittany Lions 31-29 in the first set of Friday night's match on Belin Court. Purdue battled PSU for the next three sets, but fell to the back-to-back national champions 3-1 in the match, 31-29, 17-25, 17-25, 20-25, in front of a season-best crowd of 2,580.

The Boilermakers join Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan in snagging a stanza from Penn State in 2009. PSU has now won 93 consecutive matches, the second longest streak ever in any Division I sport.

Senior Carrie Gurnell and freshman Ariel Turner led the way for Purdue with 10 kills apiece. Freshman Anna Drewry chipped in nine kills, while juniors Kristen Arthurs and Jaclyn Hart added eight and seven respectively.

Defensively, redshirt sophomore Blair Bashen paced the Boilermakers with 14 digs, while Turner added nine and sophomore Emily Ehlers pulled up eight. At the net, Drewry, Turner and sophomore Tiffany Fisher each recorded four blocks.

Purdue took an early 5-3 lead in the opening stanza, thanks to kills by Gurnell, Fisher and Turner and a block by Arthurs and Drewry. PSU went up by one at 6-5, but a Gurnell kill knotted the score at 5. The squad traded points over the next several serves until the Nittany Lions scored four in a row to turn a 13-12 Boilermaker advantage into a 16-13 lead. Purdue pulled within one at 16-15, but PSU held on, going up 22-19. A Penn State service error and another Gurnell kill cut the margin to one again at 22-21. The Boilermakers tied it up at 23 after a Gurnell putaway and a PSU miscue. A kill gave Penn State its first shot at the set, but a Turner kill thwarted the effort and a stuff by Drewry and Arthurs put Purdue on the hill at 25-24. The teams went back and forth over the next 10 serves. The Boilermakers tallied five more set point attempts, answering each PSU point with a kill, as Drewry, Hart, Turner and Arthurs chipped in. The Arthurs putaway gave Purdue its sixth set-point opportunity and the Boilermakers cashed in with a block by Turner and Fisher clinching the 31-29 win. The set win was Purdue's first over Penn State since 2005. Gurnell put up six kills, while Turner added five in the stanza.

The teams split the first 10 points of Set 2, before Penn State took a 7-5 edge. The Boilermakers stayed close until a 6-2 run pushed the Nittany Lion advantage to 16-10. Back to back PSU miscues cut the margin to four, but Penn State wrapped up the set at 25-17. Gurnell, Arthurs, Drewry and Hart sprinkled in kills as the Boilermakers tried to rally late.

A pair of Turner kills gave Purdue a 2-1 lead in Set 3, but it was short lived. Penn State would rally to 18-9 advantage. The Boilermakers were down but not out, scoring five of the next seven to cut the margin to eight at 21-13. Turner posted an ace and a kill in the stretch, while Drewry pounded down an overpass and PSU committed to errors. A Gurnell kill and a pair of blocks, including a solo stuff by Hart, made it 23-16. A pair of kills clinched Penn State the 25-17 win. Turner and Drewry combined for seven of Purdue's nine kills in the stanza. A solo block by Turner started the fourth set and Purdue soon led 3-2 after a service error and an Arthurs putaway. A 7-0 Penn State run put the Nittany Lions on top 9-3. Kills from Arthurs and Hart coupled with a PSU miscue made it a four-point game at 10-6. The Nittany Lions boasted an 19-11 lead, but again Purdue fought back, pulling within three at 23-19, after a 6-0 run including kills from Gurnell and Hart, a stuff by Fisher and Gurnell and a pair of PSU errors. A Blair Brown kill put Penn State on the hill at 24-19, but Fisher pounded down an overpass to keep the stanza going. Megan Hodge put down her 24th kill of the night to clinch the 25-20 win and the match for PSU. Arthurs was 4-for-4 in the final stanza, while Purdue held PSU to a .129 hitting performance and racked up four blocks.

The Boilermakers (12-16, 4-13 Big Ten) return to action at 7 p.m. ET Saturday when they take on Ohio State. The match marks the final home contest of the season for Purdue and will feature a celebration of the team's two seniors: outside hitter Carrie Gurnell and setter/outside hitter Sam Ainsworth.