Nov. 14, 1997

Purdue Volleyball Falls at Penn State

by Tom Schott

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the second time in less than a week, the Purdue volleyball team put up a fight against a nationally-ranked opponent on the road. On a wintry Friday night, the Boilermakers made a run at No. 2-ranked Penn State before the Nittany Lions posted a 15-10, 15-8, 15-6 victory in front of 1,638 fans in venerable Rec Hall.

With the win, the Lions improved to 25-1, 14-1 and moved back into a first-place tie in the Big Ten Conference with Wisconsin, which was idle. Penn State is 10-0 at home this season and has won 29 straight on its own court over the last three years, the longest current winning streak in the nation.

The Lions have lost just one game at home in 1997. Purdue, which lost at No. 25 Michigan State in five games last Saturday, dropped to 9-17, 2-13 but not without a valiant effort. In Game 1 the Boilermakers rallied from a 12-4 deficit to get within three points at 13-10. A seemingly invisible touch call against Purdue gave Penn State its 14th point, and the Lions finished matters with a block.

The Boilermakers fashioned a similar comeback in Game 2, rebounding from early 6-0 and 7-2 holes to make it interesting at 13-8. Penn State opened a 3-0 advantage in Game 3 and did not look back, though the boilermakers did get within one point at 4-3 before the Lions scored 11 of the last 14 markers, six of those coming via blocks.

In all three games, whenever Penn State needed a sideout or a point, it relied on its blocking, which ranks second in the nation. The Lions outblocked Purdue by a 20-5 margin. Sarah Emke paced Purdue with a match-high 16 kills, while Bev Krupa had 11 and Jennie Williams added a season-high 10 kills to go with two service aces.

It was the second straight match Williams recorded a season high since taking over for the injured Connie Paul (dislocated patella). The Boilermakers, who have five matches remaining this season, return to the Hoosier State to battle intrastate rival Indiana (17-10, 4-10) in the Monon Spike match in Bloomington on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The match will be broadcast live by WBAA (920 AM). Indiana played host to surging Ohio State on Friday.