WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The 24th-ranked and 16th-seeded Boilermaker volleyball team is headed to the NCAA Tournament second round for the sixth time in seven years after topping Kentucky 3-1 Friday night at home on Belin Court. Purdue won the match 25-18, 24-26, 25-17, 25-18 to move on to face Louisville at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Sophomore Ariel Turner and Anna Drewry paced a balanced Purdue offense which featured five players with nine or more kills. Turner posted a match-high 18 kills, while hitting .361 and adding three blocks. Drewry chalked up 14 kills and three blocks. Senior setter Jaclyn Hart, senior middle blocker Kristen Arthurs and junior outside hitter Tiffany Fisher each chipped in nine kills to round out the offensive leaders. Arthurs added a team-best six blocks, while Hart chipped in five stuffs and an ace and Fisher put up four blocks.
In the backcourt, sophomore Carly Cramer pulled up 11 digs, while redshirt junior Blair Bashen added 10. Junior Emily Ehlers and redshirt Catherine Rebarchak each managed nine saves and two service aces. Purdue hit .260 on the night and registered 62 kills to 38 for Kentucky. The Boilermakers also outblocked UK 13-10.5 and posted 50 digs to 30 for the Wildcats. Purdue also served up five aces, while allowing just one.
Purdue trailed 4-1 in the early part of Set 1, but overcame the deficit and went on to a seven-point win at 25-18. Turner pounded down five kills, while Fisher added four in the stanza. After falling behind early, the Boilermakers turned things around with four straight points to go up 5-4. Rebarchak served up an ace in the stretch, while Drewry and Hart added kills. After a tie at five, Purdue scored 12 of the next 19 to go up 17-12 and force a Wildcat timeout. Four UK miscues aied the Boilermaker effort, while Turner chalked up three kills. Arthurs, Rebarchak, Drewry and Fisher each added at least one during the stretch. Kentucky cut the margin to two at 17-15, but that sparked a 4-1 Purdue run, which featured both a kill and solo block by Hart. Purdue capped the set with a 3-0 run, with kills by Arthurs and Fisher and an ace by Cramer.
The Boilermakers appeared to have a 2-0 lead heading into intermission but a controversial call at set-point changed the momentum and Purdue dropped the set 26-24. The Boilermakers led 24-23 and were on their way off the court after an apparent UK hitting error seemed to clinch the set, but a late touch was called. A pair of Purdue hitting errors swung the set into Kentucky's favor. Purdue owned an 11-6 lead midway through as Drewry and Fisher heated up offensively, the Boilermaker block came to life and Hart added an ace. UK used a 7-0 run to turn a 16-12 deficit into an 18-16 lead, forcing Purdue to use both of its timeouts in the process. Purdue shook off the rally and eventually scored four in a row, three on blocks by Arthurs, to turn a 21-18 deficit into a 22-21 lead. The Wildcats countered with two points, but kills from Drewry and Fisher put Purdue up 24-23. The call came and the teams were tied at the break.
Set 3 was a back and forth battle in the beginning, but Purdue broke things open midway through and outscored the Wildcats14-6 down the stretch to take the 25-17 win. The teams tied six times, last at 11-11, and neither boasted more than a two-point lead up to that juncture. Purdue capitalized on a pair of UK miscues and added a block by Hart and Fisher to begin to break away. A service error slowed the Boilermakers momentarily, but the team rebounded with a 5-0 run, including two Turner kills and a pair of Arthurs stuffs, one a solo effort. Up 19-12, Purdue allowed UK to within five, but closed the door at 21-16, but closed the door with four of the last five points. Turner pounded down three of those points, including an overpass with some authority, while Fisher sealed the win.
Set 4 was an up-and-down ride for the 1,414 in attendance as Purdue surged ahead 9-5 only to have UK catch up at 14-14. The Boilermaker faithful were rewarded for their patience, however, as Purdue capped the match with an 11-4 run. Hart was a perfect 4-for-4 offensively, while Turner added five kills in the set. The teams tied at five and Hart managed two kills and a block to push the team into the 9-5 lead. Kentucky cut the margin to one at 11-10, but the Boilermakers scored three of the next four, including a Rebarchak ace. UK answered with a 3-0 run to knot the score at 14. Purdue then posted a 6-0 run, including kills by Drewry and Turner and a pair of blocks involving Fisher to surge ahead 20-14. Turner added a kill and a solo stuff as Purdue went up 23-16. A kill by Hart made it 24-17, but a service error kept the match going. Arthurs pounded in the final nail at 25-18 with her ninth kill of the night.
Purdue (22-10), which is making its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last seven years, will face off with the Louisville Cardinals at 7 p.m. Saturday with a spot in the Sweet 16 on the line. The Boilermakers have advanced to the Sweet 16 in three of the last six years (2005, 2006, 2008).
Live audio and video of the match will be streamed live at purduesports.com. Live statistics also will be available. Tickets for the match may be purchased at the Purdue Athletic Ticket office for $9 for adults and $6 for students (age 3 to college).