Oct. 8, 1997

Ohio State Beats Purdue 3-2

Anyone who watched the Purdue volleyball team tangle with Ohio State on Wednesday night probably would not believe the Boilermakers were winless in the Big Ten Conference and riding a four-match losing streak.

But a hard-fought and inspired effort still was not enough for the Boilermakers, who dropped a 10-15, 15-12, 12-15, 15-10, 13-15 decision to Ohio State in front of 1,338 fans at the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility. Purdue now is 7-9 overall, 0-5 in the Big Ten, its worst conference start since the 1989 season.

``Once again, we made mental mistakes, and it cost us the match,'' Purdue coach Joey Vrazel said. ``That has been our nemesis all season. You have to wonder where our focus is at times. We couldn't seem to remember things from game to game, and there are consequences for those mistakes.''

The Boilermakers, who used a solid Game 4 effort to force the rally-scoring fifth game, raced to a 6-1 lead behind some aggressive serving by Jennie Williams. But the Buckeyes (11-6, 2-3) hung tough and ultimately tied the score at 7-all. It was the first of six deadlocks, the last coming at 12-all. Then Ohio State had a kill and a block to go ahead 14-12 and later won it on a kill by freshman Angelee Abbring.

Ironically, Abbring was the story of the night. After not playing in either of the first two games, Abbring, from Wheatfield, Ind., came on to finish with season highs of 11 kills, a .714 hitting percentage and three blocks. A large gathering was on hand to watch Abbring, and they cheered her every move.

``I thought Ohio State utilized their hometown kid to their advantage,'' Vrazel said, ``and she responded.''

Vanessa Wouters, the 1996 Big Ten Player-of-the-Year and a first team All-American, led the Buckeyes with 16 kills but hit at just a .152 clip. Andrea Pankova and Dana Stearns both had 15 kills, while Shellye Sills came up with a season-high 10 blocks.

Meanwhile, Purdue was paced by Sarah Emke, who had a career-high 22 kills on a .415 hitting percentage. Katie Gibbons had 17 kills and 10 digs, while Bev Krupa added 16 kills and 11 digs.

It looked like some good fortunate would shine on the Boilermakers following Game 2. After seeing an 11-5 lead turn into a 12-all tie, Purdue regrouped to earn the victory. But Ohio State rebounded and opened a 5-0 advantage in Game 3 only to see Kelly Colangelo serve nine straight points for the Boilermakers. Then four mental lapses -- two rotation errors, an overlap and a backrow attack violation -- helped the Buckeyes get back into the game and eventually win it.

Ohio State outhit the Boilermakers .287 to .277 for the match and outblocked them 17-7. Purdue finished with 48 digs, compared with 40 by the Buckeyes.

On Friday the Boilermakers entertain two-time defending Big Ten champion and 19th-ranked Michigan State (12-5, 2-2) in the IAF at 7:30 p.m.

1997 Big Ten Conference Volleyball Standings (through Oct. 8, 1997)
                    Big Ten             Overall
Penn State      4-0     1.000       15-0    1.000
Michigan        4-0     1.000       11-4     .733
Minnesota       3-1      .750       13-2     .867
Wisconsin       3-1      .750       12-2     .857
Indiana         2-2      .500       15-2     .882
Michigan State  2-2      .500       12-5     .706
Ohio State      2-3      .400       11-6     .647
Illinois        1-3      .250       10-4     .714
Northwestern    1-3      .250       10-5     .667
Iowa            1-3      .250        8-7     .533
PURDUE          0-5      .000        7-9     .438

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
Iowa at Penn State,                 6:30 p.m.
Northwestern at Illinois,           7 p.m.
Michigan at Wisconsin,              7 p.m.
Minnesota at Indiana,               7:30 p.m.
Michigan State at Purdue,           7:30 p.m.
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.