Jan. 19, 2008
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The 2007 Boilermaker volleyball team celebrated its accomplishments, which included its fourth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and a third-place Big Ten finish, as well as the individual awards garnered by team members at its annual postseason banquet on Saturday.
The night featured awards presentations, a season review by head coach Dave Shondell and farewell speeches by the team's four seniors: Elizabeth Jacques, Samantha Mader, Anne Mastandrea and Emily Williams.
Mader wrapped up her career by garnering the Carol Dewey Mental Attitude Award and the team's Red Mackey Award nomination. The Dewey award is bestowed on the individual voted by her teammates as the player who best exemplifies the positive image represented by Purdue volleyball. Each team at Purdue nominates an individual for the Mackey Award and three student-athletes are chosen at the end of the year to receive another year of scholarship money for their continuing education.
The outside hitter played in all 33 of the team's matches, starting 13. Mader became the 18th player in school history to reach the 1,000 career kill milestone, and finished her career ranked ninth on the all-time career kills list with 1,310. In 2007, she accounted for 2.88 kills per game to go with 82 kills and 61 blocks.
The Boilermakers honored four players with Sue Jurkonis Strength Awards, which are given out annually in honor of former Boilermaker Sue Jurkonis who played volleyball for Purdue from 1994 to 1996. Jurkonis was an avid weight lifter and one of the Boilermakers' strongest athletes before losing her two-year battle with brain cancer in 1998.
Defensive specialist Jessica Ullrich
, who pulled up 1.83 digs per game and served up 10 aces, was dubbed Strongest Freshman, while classmate Kristen Arthurs
received Most Improved Freshman accolades. Arthurs, a middle hitter, played in 33 of the team's matches, starting 21, while averaging 1.46 kills and 0.95 blocks per game.
Redshirt junior defensive specialist Meghan McCormick was named as the Strongest Upperclassman, while sophomore Meagan Sesselmann garnered Most Improved Upperclassman honors in the weight room. McCormick tallied 1.52 digs per game and served up eight aces in 24 matches, while Sesselmann made her impact on the practice court.
Junior middle hitter Stephanie Lynch was recognized for earning honorable mention All-America honors as well as garnering first-team All-Mideast Region and first-team All-Big Ten acclaim.
Players also were honored for their off-court accomplishments. Junior outside hitter Danita Merlau received Academic All-District V second team honors for her work in the classroom, while she and seven other Purdue players made the Academic All-Big Ten roster. Merlau along with seniors Sammi Mader and Lizzie Jacques, redshirt junior Meghan McCormick, juniors Stephanie Lynch and Kelli Miller, and sophomores Sam Gray and Meagan Sesselmann, all own higher than the 3.0 cumulative GPA required of student-athletes, who must be in their second year at the institution in order to earn the conference accolades. The eight Academic All-Big Ten honorees is the second highest total in Purdue volleyball history, trailing the 2006 total of nine.
Merlau also received the Helen B. Schleman Award from the Reamer Club for having the highest GPA on the team over the last two semesters.
Purdue posted a 19-14 mark in 2007, including an 11-9 Big Ten record. The Boilermakers finished third in the league standings, marking their best conference placing since 1990. The team defeated two Top 25 teams during the season, including a win over No. 19 Ohio in the NCAA Tournament first round.
After a month long break, the Boilermakers are back in the gym preparing for a spring schedule which features four tournaments. Home fans can see the team in action on April 12 in the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility.
2008 Spring Schedule
March 29 - University of Michigan Tournament; Ann Arbor, Mich.
April 5 - Indianapolis Collegiate Invitational; Indianapolis
April 12 - Purdue Tournament; West Lafayette
April 19 - GLC/Sports Performance College Spring tournament; Aurora, Ill.