Sept. 6, 1997

Boilermakers Win Mortar Board Purdue Premier

By TOM SCHOTT, For the Journal and Courier

The last time the Purdue volleyball team won a tournament championship was during the 1993 season. Current assistant coach Suzanne Stewart was a sophomore on that team, and she is the only person who was with the program then and is still a part of it now.

The upstart Boilermakers ended their tourney-winning drought Saturday with an 8-15, 15-3, 15-8, 11-15, 15-12 victory over Indiana State in the afternoon and a 15-7, 15-3, 15-7 sweep of Syracuse in the evening in front of 1,221 fans at the eighth-annual Mortar Board Purdue Premier in the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility.

With the two wins, the Boilermakers improved to 5-1 overall for their best start since having the same record through six matches in 1993, when they won the UTA/Asics Tiger Tournament in Arlington, Texas.

"We are so happy," Purdue coach Joey Vrazel said. "We have worked so hard for so long and to finally have a positive outcome is huge for us. It means a tremendous amount to the players and the coaches."

Sophomore outside hitter Kelly Colangelo was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, while classmate middle blocker Sarah Emke and freshman outside hitter Katie Gibbons were selected to the all-tournament team.

"I'm pumped," Colangelo said. "We had a great weekend. We weren't playing at our normal pace against Indiana State, but we still found a way to win and then came out against Syracuse and played our style of volleyball."

Gibbons tallied 26 kills on a .409 hitting percentage (26-8-44) to go with 13 digs for her first collegiate double-double against Indiana State. It was the most kills by a first-year Purdue player since Debbie McDonald had 27 against Michigan on Nov. 28, 1986. McDonald went on to be named the Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Year.

"I felt really good out there, and as the match went on I became more confident," Gibbons said. "But it wasn't like I was carrying us or anything. We had a great team effort all weekend."

Gibbons got help against the Sycamores from Colangelo, who had a career-high 24 kills and seven digs, and Emke, who totaled 13 kills and a career-high 10 blocks for her first double-double performance. Christi Kelsey and Jennie Williams both had two service aces.

The Boilermakers, who hit at a .346 clip for the match and amassed season highs of 53 digs and 13 blocks, scored the first four points and led wire-to-wire in the rally scoring Game 5. Twice Indiana State got within a single marker at 5-6 and 9-10, but Williams' second ace of the game capped a three-point surge that put Purdue in control at 13-9. The Boilermakers are 10-0 all-time against their intrastate rivals.

Against Syracuse, the Boilermakers got 15 kills on a .500 hitting percentage (15-2-26) from Colangelo and 14 kills on a .545 attack mark (14-2-22) and four blocks from Emke. Gibbons added nine kills, while Bev Krupa came up with 10 digs and a career-high four blocks.

The Boilermakers were nearly flawless offensively, attacking at a season-high .490 plateau with 58 kills and just 10 errors in 98 swings. They also totaled 40 digs and nine blocks.

Other members of the all-tournament team included Wendy Feldman and Robin Ill from Central Michigan, Dana Fiume from Syracuse and Karis Keeran from Indiana State.

Mortar Board Purdue Premier

Syracuse def. Indiana State 13-15, 15-6, 15-2, 15-17, 15-9
Purdue def. Central Michigan 15-8, 15-5, 15-3

Purdue vs. Indiana State 8-15, 15-3, 15-8, 11-15, 15-12
Central Michigan def. Syracuse 15-9, 15-5, 15-8
Central Michigan def. Indiana State 12-15, 12-15, 15-11, 15-12, 15-7
Purdue def. Syracuse 15-7, 15-3, 15-7


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