Sept. 26, 1997

By Tom Schott
For the Journal and Courier

Purdue Volleyball Falls to Indiana in Front of Record Crowd

Lafayette, Ind. -Less than 10 minutes of play decided a marathon-like 2 hour and 20 minute volleyball match between intrastate rivals Purdue and Indiana at the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility on Friday night.

The Boilermakers quickly blew a huge lead in Game 3 and never regrouped en route to a disappointing 12-15, 15-4, 14-16, 7-15 loss to the undefeated Hoosiers in the Big Ten Conference opener for both teams before an IAF record crowd of 1,976.

After completing dominating Game 2 and continuing their high level of play in Game 3, the Boilermakers (7-5, 0-1) stubbed their collective toes. They were leading 14-7 but then seemingly instantly were behind 15-14. The teams traded sideouts before Indiana (14-0, 1-0) put the decisive point on the scoreboard.

``We have been struggling to maintain our intensity throughout matches, and that will continue to plaque us until we decide to do something about it,'' Purdue coach Joey Vrazel said. ``That was a particularly tough lesson to learn tonight.''

Purdue led early in Game 4 before Indiana picked up its passing and blocking and rallied to defeat the Boilermakers for the ninth time in the last 11 matches, dating to the 1992 season.

``Once again, we were hurt by our own inconsistency,'' senior setter Linda Menconi said. ``I don't think we had as much of an emotional letdown after Game 3 as we just weren't playing very smart at times. That was the difference between winning and losing, and it's something we need to change.''

The Boilermakers had five players finish in double figures in kills: Katie Gibbons, Bev Krupa and Connie Paul (19 each), Sarah Emke (18) and Kelly Colangelo (11). Paul attacked at a career-high .516 clip with a career high in kills and also recorded a season high of five blocks. Colangelo and Menconi, who played perhaps her best match in two years, had 13 and 10 digs, respectively.

``We got great leadership from Linda, but we have young people in every other position, and that has hurt us at times,'' Vrazel said. ``I think we have been relying on Katie a lot, and we have to remember that she is just a freshman.''

Indiana outhit Purdue .294 to .275 and outblocked the Boilermakers by a 12-10 margin. Purdue won the digging battle 55-49.

On Saturday the Boilermakers play host to No. 1-ranked Penn State at 7:30 p.m.

1997 Big Ten Conference Volleyball Standings (through Sept. 26, 1997)
Big Ten Overall
Wisconsin       2-0 1.000  11-1    .917
Indiana         1-0 1.000  14-0   1.000
Penn State      1-0 1.000  12-0   1.000
Northwestern    1-0 1.000  10-2    .833
Michigan        1-0 1.000   8-4    .667
Minnesota       0-1  .000  10-2    .833
Illinois        0-1  .000   9-2    .818
Michigan State  0-1  .000  10-4    .714
Ohio State      0-1  .000   9-4    .692
PURDUE          0-1  .000   7-5    .583
Iowa            0-1  .000   7-5    .583

This Week's Results and Remaining Schedule

Wednesday, Sept. 24 Wisconsin def. Illinois 15-8, 15-1, 15-1 Friday, Sept. 26 Indiana def. Purdue 15-12, 4-15, 16-14, 15-7 Michigan def. Minnesota 6-15, 15-11, 16-18, 15-11, 15-12 Northwestern def. Iowa 8-15, 15-10, 6-15, 15-12, 15-12 Penn State def. Ohio State 15-1, 15-8, 15-6 Wisconsin def. Michigan State 10-15, 15-4, 19-17, 15-3 Saturday, Sept. 27 Michigan at Iowa, 7 p.m. Northwestern at Minnesota, 7 p.m. Penn State at Purdue, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28 Indiana at Ohio State, 1 p.m. Illinois at Michigan State, 4 p.m. (SportsChannel/Fox Sports Chicago) All times EST.