|Bev Krupa was held out of the game to rest her sore knees.|
Two-time defending Big Ten Conference champion Michigan State is not the fine-tuned volleyball machine it has been in recent years, but the 19th-ranked Spartans are still a solid team and dealt Purdue a 15-8, 15-6, 15-8 setback Friday night in front of 1,128 fans at the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility.
In the process, the Boilermakers saw their winless start to Big Ten play extended to six in a row. Purdue (7-10) has dropped nine of its last 10 matches after opening the season with a 6-1 record. Michigan State improved to 13-5, 3-2.
``We competed very well but could not maintain,'' Purdue coach Joey Vrazel. ``We're very disappointed because I think we are good enough to have taken a game from them. We just don't have enough options, and if you don't have options against a team like this, you're not going to win.''
Both teams were without key players due to injury. Purdue's Bev Krupa was rested with sore knees, while Michigan State's Sarah Gustin and Jenny Whitehead were shelved.
Sarah Emke and Katie Gibbons both had 10 kills to pace Purdue, which was limited to a .073 hitting percentage. Connie Paul added nine kills, while Taryn Catlin equalled her career high of five blocks, and Gibbons, Kelly Colangelo and Jennie Williams each came up with seven digs. Gibbons and Christi Kelsey rifled two service aces apiece.
Meanwhile, Michigan State was led by Jenna Wrobel's 12 kills and Lindsey Clayton's five blocks. Veronica Morales added 10 kills and eight digs.
``Morales really stabilizes their team,'' Vrazel said. ``She's a senior and a go-to player, and when they need to come up with a key play, they go to her and she delivers.''
The Boilermakers had leads in Games 1 and 3 but on both occasions were unable to prevent lengthy Michigan State rallies. Purdue led 5-2 and 6-4 in the opener when the Spartans scored five straight points to take a 9-6 advantage. It was later 10-8 before Michigan State reeled off another 5-0 run. Then in the third game the Boilermakers were ahead 7-4 only to see the Spartans tally 10 unanswered points without allowing a sideout. Michigan State led Game 2 from start to finish.
The Boilermakers next play at No. 25 Illinois and at No. 10 Wisconsin next Friday and Saturday, respectively.
``It's back to the drawing board,'' Vrazel said. ``We know what we have to change, but it's like putting our fires. We put out one and another one pops up.''
By Tom Schott
For the Journal and Courier
1997 Big Ten Conference Volleyball Standings (through Oct. 10, 1997) Big Ten Overall Penn State 5-0 1.000 16-0 1.000 Minnesota 4-1 .800 14-2 .875 Wisconsin 4-1 .800 13-2 .867 Michigan 4-1 .800 11-5 .688 Michigan State 3-2 .600 13-5 .722 Indiana 2-3 .400 15-3 .833 Illinois 2-3 .400 11-4 .733 Ohio State 2-3 .400 11-6 .647 Northwestern 1-4 .200 10-6 .625 Iowa 1-4 .200 8-8 .500 PURDUE 0-6 .000 7-10 .412
This Week's Results and Remaining Schedule
Wednesday, Oct. 8
Ohio State def. Purdue 15-10, 12-15, 15-12, 10-15, 15-13
Friday, Oct. 10
Michigan State def. Purdue 15-8, 15-6, 15-8 (at West Lafayette)
Illinois def. Northwestern 15-3, 15-6, 15-10 (at Urbana-Champaign)
Minnesota def. Indiana 15-9, 8-15, 15-4, 12-15, 15-12 (at Bloomington)
Penn State def. Iowa 15-9, 15-7, 15-7 (at University Park)
Wisconsin def. Michigan 15-12, 15-7, 15-10 (at Madison)
Saturday, Oct. 11
Michigan State at Ohio State, 6:30 p.m.
Minnesota at Penn State, 6:30 p.m.
Michigan at Illinois, 7 p.m.
Northwestern at Wisconsin, 7 p.m.
Iowa at Indiana, 7:30 p.m.
All times EST.