Dec. 9, 2011
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -The No. 8 Boilermakers ended their season in the Sweet 16, falling to No. 21 Florida State 3-1 Friday night. The Seminoles won the match 26-23, 21-25, 25-20, 25-19 thanks to a solid defensive effort, including 15 blocks and 104 digs.
Purdue managed a school NCAA Tournament record 100 digs, the team's highest overall tally since 2007, as five players reached double digits. Redshirt senior Blair Bashen and junior Ariel Turner managed a team-best 20 followed by redshirt sophomore Rachel Davis (19), senior Emily Ehlers (16) and sophomore Hilliary Fox (15). Fox also served up three of the team's seven aces.
Davis rounded out her double-double with 47 assists, while Turner paced the offense with 16 putaways. Senior Tiffany Fisher put down 15 kills, while hitting at a team-high .375 clip, and redshirt sophomore Catherine Rebarchak tallied 11 putdowns. Freshman Kierra Jones chipped in seven kills and a team-best three blocks.
Purdue led by as many as eight points in Set 1, but could not hold on for the win. Florida State overcame a 21-13 deficit to take the set 25-23. FSU posted five blocks in the set, holding the Boilermakers to a .130 hitting effort, while managing just a .173 clip of its own. Purdue jumped out to a 7-3 advantage, but the Seminoles clawed their way to an 8-7 advantage. The Boilermakers answered with four straight, including kills by Jones and Nichol. FSU was within one at 13-12, but Purdue managed six in a row, including two Turner putaways and an ace by Bashen, to go up 19-12. Kills by Turner and Fisher upped the Purdue lead to eight at 21-13. Florida State then mounted their comeback effort, scoring six straight. The Boilermakers were up 23-20, but the Seminoles stole away the stanza with five in a row.
The Boilermakers had to ride out an up-and-down second set for a 25-21 win. Purdue led 5-2 early on thanks to a pair of Fox aces. FSU posted a 6-1 run to go ahead 8-6, but the Boilermakers countered with a 6-1 run of their own, including a trio of Turner kills. Florida State cut the margin to one at 14-13, prompting a 4-0 Purdue rally, including another perfect serve by Fox. The teams traded points over the next six serves leading to a 20-16 score. The Seminoles made it a one-point game again at 21-20 as Purdue called timeout. The Boilermakers scored four of the final five out of the break to even the match. Turner, Rebarchak and Fisher contributed putaways down the stretch, which Fisher taking the final swing.
Florida State hit .424 and added three blocks in Set 3, holding off a late Boilermaker rally in a 25-20 win. Purdue led 4-2 as three different players turned in kills, but Florida State charged back with five straight to prompt a Boilermaker timeout. The Boilermakers played from behind eventually knotting the score at 13-13 on a Fisher kill, capping a 5-1 run. The teams tied at 14, 15 and 16, before FSU pulled away with five of the next six. A Jones putaway stopped the rally and another by Fisher made it a three-point game at 22-19. The Seminoles had set point at 24-19, but a Turner kill kept things going. An Elise Walch putaway clinched the 25-20 win for Florida State.
The Seminoles used another late rally to take a 25-19 Set 4 win and advance to the Elite Eight. FSU trailed 19-17 and scored eight unanswered to cap the set. Florida led 4-2 after a few controversial calls, but Purdue tied it up at four. Down 7-4 soon after, the Boilermakers mounted a 7-1 run, to go up 11-8. Turner and Fisher served aces, while Fisher also pounded down two kills during the rally. FSU cuts the margin to one three times, but kills by Rebarchak, Fisher and Davis make it 17-14 Purdue. Back-to-back Seminole kills prompt a Boilermaker timeout. Purdue scored two of the next three, on an ace and kill by Fisher, to go up 19-17, but Florida State answered with an 8-0 run to take the match. Three blocks highlighted the Seminole rally.
Purdue wraps up its best season since 1985 with a 29-5 record, including its fifth trip to the Sweet 16 since 2005. The Boilermakers downed seven ranked opponents in 2011 and earned its highest ranking (8th) since 1983.