Oct. 3, 1997

Hawkeyes Soar Past Purdue Volleyball

IOWA CITY, Iowa--Three weeks ago, the Purdue volleyball team was sitting pretty with a 6-1 record, off to its best start in five years. Now the Boilermakers have lost six of their seven matches to fall to 7-7. The latest setback, their third in a row to open Big Ten Conference play, was a 15-12, 13-15, 3-15, 5-15 disappointment to Iowa on Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

"It was just more of the same," Purdue coach Joey Vrazel said. "We just are not consistent. From one game to the next, I donUt know how we are going to play. Yes, weUre young, but everyone in the Big Ten has young players, so we canUt use that as an excuse."

Said junior outside hitter Bev Krupa, who had a career-high 25 kills: "It's frustrating. The players are frustrated, the coaches are frustrated, everybodyUs frustrated. But we have to figure out a way to turn it around."

After losing Game 1 and falling behind early in Game 2, the Hawkeyes (8-6, 1-2) found a spark that turned into a full-fledged bonfire by the end of the match. They seemingly got to every loose ball and made every play they had to in order to win and snap a four-match losing streak.

Game 1 lasted some 40 minutes and featured a whopping 61 sideouts. The Boilermakers took command following a 4-all tie and eventually held an 11-6 lead. But the Hawkeyes hung around long enough to ultimately force a 12-all deadlock. Then three straight kills by Katie Gibbons gave Purdue a 14-12 advantage before an Iowa hitting error accounted for the final point.

Early in Game 2 the Boilermakers picked up their pace offensively and raced to a 6-2 lead. But, as has happened all too often this season, they could not sustain their intensity and saw Iowa battle back to tie the score at 7, 9, 10 and 12. Purdue then went ahead 13-12 on a kill by Kelly Colangelo before the Hawkeyes rallied once again. The first ace of the match, by Iowa's Katie O'Brien, made it 13-all. Purdue hit just .128 for the game.

It didn't get any better for the Boilermakers in Game 3 as the Hawkeyes turned up their intensity and soared. Iowa scored the first three points and didn't look back, finishing the game on a 7-0 run that included Vrazel picking up her first yellow card of the season, intentionally for delay of game. Ironically, giving Vrazel the card was the best call of the night by first official Carole Burke, who struggled all night. It didn't affect the Hawkeyes, who hit at a robust .529 clip and picked up three aces.

For awhile Game 4 was a repeat of Game 1 with the teams being tied on four occasions. But after the last stalemate at 5-all, Iowa took off and scored the last 10 points. With every point the Hawkeyes tallied the Boilermakers appeared more fatigued and lost their usual fighting attitude.

Three other Boilermakers joined Krupa with double-figure kills: Gibbons (21), Colangelo (13) and Connie Paul (12). Krupa also had 16 digs and Paul finished with five blocks.

Iowa outhit the Boilermakers .328 to .207 and outblocked them 16-8. Purdue won the digging battle 75-66 but did not record a single service ace. The Boilermakers now travel to Minnesota for a Sunday match at 4 p.m. The match will be televised live by SportsChannel/Fox Sports Chicago with Steve Kashul (play-by-play) and former Penn State player Angie Kammer (color commentary). Minnesota (12-2, 2-1) swept Ohio State 15-4, 15-10, 15-12 in Minneapolis on Friday night.

By Tom Schott 1997 Big Ten Conference Volleyball Standings (through Oct. 3, 1997)
                Big Ten     Overall
Michigan        4-0 1.000   11-4  .733
Penn State      3-0 1.000   14-0 1.000
Wisconsin       3-0 1.000   12-1  .923
Indiana         2-1 .667    15-1  .938
Minnesota       2-1 .667    12-2  .857
Northwestern    1-2 .333    10-4  .714
Michigan State  1-2 .333    11-5  .688
Iowa            1-2 .333    8-6   .571
Illinois        0-3 .000    9-4   .692
Ohio State      0-3 .000    9-6   .600
PURDUE          0-3 .000    7-7   .500
This WeekUs Results and Remaining Schedule
Wednesday, Oct. 1
Michigan def. Northwestern 15-10, 15-7, 15-11 (at Ann Arbor) 
Friday, Oct. 3
Iowa def. Purdue 12-15, 15-13, 15-3, 15-5 (at Iowa City) 
Michigan def. Michigan State 13-15, 15-9, 15-3, 15-9 (at Ann Arbor) 
Minnesota def. Ohio State 15-4, 15-10, 15-8 (at Minneapolis) 
Penn State def. Illinois 15-9, 15-5, 15-2 (at University Park) 
Wisconsin def. Indiana 15-9, 15-8, 15-7 (at Bloomington) 
Saturday, Oct. 4
Wisconsin at Penn State, 6:30 p.m.
Ohio State at Iowa, 7 p.m.
Illinois at Indiana, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 5
Michigan State at Northwestern, 2 p.m.
Purdue at Minnesota, 4 p.m. (SportsChannel/Fox Sports Chicago) 
All times EST.