AUSTIN, Texas - The No. 24 Boilermaker volleyball team continued its history making season with a 3-0 sweep of No. 1 Florida Friday night to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time during the 64-team field era. The upset win also marked Purdue's first over a top ranked foe in program history (in 11 tries) and second win over a Top 5 opponent this season (also #4 Penn State on Oct. 8, which was Purdue's first ever over a Top 5 foe).
Sophomore Ariel Turner pounded down 18 kills as Purdue pummeled the top ranked Gators. Redshirt freshman Katie Griffin added nine putaways and redshirt freshman Catherine Rebarchak chipped in seven kills. Seven different Purdue players contributed offensively as the Boilermakers outhit Florida .327 to .122.
Defensively, sophomore libero Carly Cramer and junior Emily Ehlers managed 16 and 15 digs respectively, denying many a Gator hitting attempt. Senior setter Jaclyn Hart and Turner each registered nine digs for the squad and redshirt junior Blair Bashen pulled up eight. At the net, Rebarchak was credited with three blocks, while Turner posted two solo stuffs and senior Kristen Arthurs added two assists.
After trailing 24-20, Purdue thwarted four Florida set point opportunities, before taking a 25-24 advantage and eventually winning the stanza 28-26 on their own third set point chance. Ariel Turner posted three kills and a block during the final stretch, while kills by junior Tiffany Fisher and Hart snapped the 26-26 tie to give the Boilermakers the set victory. The set featured 10 ties and four lead changes as well as seven kills by Turner. The teams split the first 10 points of the stanza, but the Gators went up by three at 11-8. Purdue posted a 3-1 run to cut the margin to one at 12-11 on an overpass kill by Rebarchak. The Boilermakers knotted the score at 14-14 on an overpass putaway by Hart, and again at 19-19 on a Griffin kill, but could not break through. Florida pushed ahead 24-20 prompting the epic comeback. Six different players posted kills for Purdue and Ehlers served up an ace.
The Boilermakers carried the momentum into Set 2, blazing out to a 7-0 lead and going ahead by 10 at 13-3. Turner, Fisher, Rebarchak and Arthurs all chipped in kills in the 7-0 start. Turner joined the party with a pair of kills en route to the 13-3 advantage, which was capped by a Fisher ace. The Gators pulled within seven at 14-7 after a pair of aces, but the Boilermakers soon boasted an 11-point lead at 20-9. A pair of blocks and two kills and a solo stuff by Turner accounted for the spread. Trailing 22-12, Florida made a late run with three straight points, but a Griffin kill ended the rally. Hart put down a kill and a Gator hitting attempt sailed long to clinch Purdue the 25-15 win and the 2-0 lead at the break. Purdue hit .485 in the stanza, while holding Florida to a .000 effort.
The Boilermakers finished off the sweep with a 25-19 win in Set 3. The Gators led 2-1 and 3-2, but Purdue fired off five straight to make it 7-3 and never looked back. Turner put down two kills and combined with Fisher for a block in the run, which was capped by a Bashen ace. The Boilermaker lead swelled to eight at 13-5 as Hart put away two kills and posted a solo stuff. Purdue owned at least a five point lead the rest of the way. A flip shot by Hart and a Griffin kill made it 21-13, but the Gators narrowed the gap with a 4-1 run. A service error made it 23-17 Purdue. A hitting error followed, but Turner put down her 18th kill of the night to give the Boilermakers a shot at the match at 24-18. A Florida kill prolonged the match, but Fisher put the final nail in the upset the following play. Turner put down five kills in the clinching set, while Griffin added four.
The Boilermakers (24-10) will face the No. 6 Texas at 9 p.m. ET live on ESPN U Saturday night.