Aug. 29, 1997

Women's Volleyball Defeats Mississippi State to Open Season

TALLAHASEE, Fla. -- If one match is any indication, the Purdue volleyball team will have a well-balanced offense for the 1997 season, and the slogan "Armed and Dangerous" will describe the Boilermakers perfectly.

Four players had at least eight kills as the Boilermakers rolled to a season-openeing 15-4, 15-11, 15-12 victory over Mississippi State in opening round action of the Florida State Classic on Friday evening in Tully Gymnasium. Sarah Emke led the way with 17 kills on a .324 hitting percentage, and was followed by Kelly Colangelo and Bev Krupa (10 apiece) and Katie Gibbons (eight).

"We have a lot of options offensively and it was good to see so many people get involved in our first match," Purdue coach Joey Vrazel said. "Our overall team strength is very good and the players have worked hard at developing different shots, so I really believe we can be a better team offensively than last year."

In 1996 the Boilermakers set a school record with 2,066 kills (17.63 per game), but most of those kills came from graduated seniors Lauri Girimes and Brooke White. "We can go to more people now," Emke said. "I think we will be a more balanced team. That will make a huge difference because teams won't be able to focus on shutting down just one or two people."

Emke also had six blocks and six digs, while Krupa came up with six digs and Colangelo was in on four blocks. Purdue also recorded 10 service aces from six different players. While she was pleased with the balanced attack, Vrazel appeared happier with her young players' focus and teammwork. Her top eight players consisted of one junior, three sophomores and four freshmen "Because we are so young we have spent a lot of time working on being a team and picking up one another. I thought everyone who played did a good job in that area. Plus our energy level was very high and that helped us."

The Boilermakers scored the first seven points of game one behind the aggressive serving of Krupa, two kills by Emke and a nifty block by Emke and Taryn Catlin. Later it was 10-4 when Purdue put the final five points on the scoreboard. Three Mississippi State errors aided the Boilers' cause, and a pair of kills by Colangelo accounted for the last two points.

Purdue attacked at a .333 clip for the game.

The one-sided affair continued early in game two as Purdue opened 4-0 and 7-2 leads. Colangelo, Emke and Krupa each picked up an ace, and Colangelo teamed with Emke on a block to extend the advantage to 10-3. Then the Bulldogs rallied to close the gap to three points at 14-11. But the Boilermakers hung tough and finished matters with a kill by Emke.

In game three, the Bulldogs appeared to build on their late rally and took advantage of several Purdue hitting errors to jump out 5-1. A kill by Gibbons halted the streak, and then the Boilermakers scored five unanswered points to forge ahead 6-5. But Mississippi State came back with a four-point run of its own to retake the lead 9-6, and later was up 10-8 when Purdue fought back to tie the score at 10 all. Two Mississippi State miscues and a Krupa kill gave the Boilermakers a 13-10 advantage, and after it was 14-12, Purdue finally wrapped up the sweep.

Purdue out-hit the Bulldogs .220-.161 and out-blocked them 9-7. Mississippi State held a slim 36-32 edge in digs.

On Saturday the Boilermakers will take on Boston College at 1 p.m. and Florida State at 6 p.m.