Sept. 3, 2008
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The No. 18 Boilermaker volleyball team looks to build on its undefeated opening weekend when it travels down the road to Muncie, Ind., this weekend. Purdue is set to face Tennessee Tech, Southern Illinois and Ball State at the Active Ankle Challenge on Friday and Saturday.
The Active Ankle Challenge
The Ball State Cardinals are playing host to the Active Ankle Challenge this weekend. The four-team tournament features Southern Illinois, Tennessee Tech, No. 18 Purdue and the host Cardinals.
Tennessee Tech: This is the first meeting between the Boilermakers and the Golden Eagles.
Southern Illinois (Purdue leads the series 4-2): The Boilermakers boast a 4-2 advantage in the series which began with a Saluki victory on Nov. 3, 1978 at the Hoosier Classic in Bloomington, Ind. Purdue won the next four meetings between 1978 and 1982, all in 3-0 sweeps, SIU took the most recent contest, a 3-1 decision on Sept. 7, 1996 at the Mortar Board Premier.
Ball State (Purdue leads the series 17-4): The Boilermakers boast their longest win streak over a single opponent against the Cardinals, taking the last 13 meetings in the series which began on Nov. 5, 1975. BSU won the first contest. Purdue followed with a trio of victories. Ball State took three of the next four to even the series at 4-4. The Boilermakers began their 13-match win streak on Sept 22, 1978, one which has continued through the most recent meeting on Aug. 31, 1996.
The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: The No. 18 Purdue Boilermakers own a Top 20 ranking for the first time since Aug. 27, 2007, when the squad was ranked 17th. Fourteen different players got in on the action during the team's opening weekend. The team's three seniors garnered all-tournament team honors, with outside hitter Danita Merlau receiving MVP accolades.
Last Time Out: Purdue posted a 3-0 record en route to the Mortar Board Premier tournament title to open the season. The Boilermakers upset No. 14 Kansas State, while also topping Duke and Tennessee State over the weekend.
Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Danita Merlau tallied a team-best 4.36 kills and 1.91 digs per set. Middle hitter Stephanie Lynch added 3.90 kills on a team-best .390 hitting effort, while also leading the team at the net with 1.50 blocks per set. Outside hitter Lisa Pierce added 2.00 kills per set, while middle hitter Kristen Arthurs tacked on 1.80 kills and helped out at the net with 0.90 blocks per set. In the backcourt, libero Kelli Miller racked up a team-best 3.55 digs per set, while Merlau and defensive specialist Jessica Ullrich pulled up 1.91 digs per set apiece. Setter Jaclyn Hart and outside hitter Mandy Nichols each recorded 1.82 digs per set. Hart also dished out 11.36 assists per set, while adding 1.45 blocks per set.
Talking About Tennessee Tech
At First Glance: The Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (1-2) are looking to follow up an 18-15 season with a roster featuring 11 returning players, including seven starters. One newcomer also joins the mix on the squad under head coach John Blair, who is in his sixth year with the team.
Last Time Out: Tennessee Tech posted a 1-2 record at the Lady Bearcat Invitational in Cincinnati, Ohio, last weekend. The Golden Eagles dropped contests to Marshall and host Cincinnati, but rebounded with a sweep of Wright State.
Statistically Speaking: Outside hitters Amanda Lindgren and Leah Meffert lead the TTU offense with kill tallies of 3.50 and 3.30 per set. Middle hitter Caitlin Bullock and outside hitter Teresa Craig follow with 2.30 and 1.50 putdowns per set respectively. Defensively, junior outside hitter Katie Kenline paces the team with 5.00 digs per set. Meffert (3.00), Craig (2.40), Lindgren (2.30) and setter Kappy Lang (2.10) also contribute more than two digs per set. The Golden Eagles have served up just nine aces to their opponents' 18 and have been outblocked 29.0 to 17.0.
Scouting Southern Illinois
At First Glance: The Southern Illinois Salukis (3-0) hope the mesh of seven returning starters and six newcomers will help improve on their 15-16 mark from a year ago. The Salukis, in their fourth year under head caoch Brenda Winkeler, kick off their stay at the Active Ankle Challenge against the host Ball State Cardinals.
Last Time Out: Southern Illinois posted a 3-0 record at the Niagra University tournament last weekend, sweeping Sacred Heart, Oakland and Niagra. Twelve different players got in on the action in the victories.
Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Jennifer Berwanger leads a group of four Saluki players averaging more than two kills per set. Berwanger (2.67), middle hitter Chandra Roberson (2.44), outside hitter Sydney Clark (2.17) and middle hitter marina Medic (2.00) make up the group. Berwanger boasts a team-best .400 hitting percentage to go with eight aces and 3.56 digs per set. Roberson and Medic also are a force at the net, racking up blocking tallies of 1.00 and 0.86 stuffs per set. Defensively, Berwanger paces the starters with 3.56 digs per set, followed by setter Brooklyn Robbins (2.78), libero Kristy Elswick (2.78) and defensive specialist Lauren Blumhorst (2.12).
A Bit About Ball State
At First Glance: The Ball State Cardinals (2-2), under second year head coach Dave Boos, are utilizing a combination of their six returning letterwinners, including three starters, and 10 newcomers in an effort to best last year's 5-25 mark.
Last Time Out: Ball State split its four matches at the Comfort Suites Sam Houston Invitational last weekend. The Cardinals fell to Wisconsin-Green Bay and Drake, before finishing the weekend with wins over Centenary and Sam Houston State.
Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Julie Breivogel leads the Cardinal hitters, averaging 3.20 kills per sset. Junior Elaina Kakatolis is just behind with 2.67 kills per set, while four other players have posted 10 or more kills. Outside hitter Charde Phillips is hitting a team-best .435 clip, while also putting up a team-leading 1.00 blocks per set. Libero Alyssa Rio paces the defense with 5.60 digs per set. Defensive specialists Emily Fisher (2.67) and Christie Waters (2.27) and setter Brittany McGinnis (2.27) also contribute in the back court. McGinnis also has served up a team-high five aces and is hitting .394 with 17 kills.
Comparing the Teams
Statistic Purdue TTU SIU BSU Hitting % .241 .220 .272 .143 Kills 14.09 13.30 11.44 11.53 Assists 12.64 12.50 10.67 10.80 Aces 1.45 0.90 2.44 1.27 Blocks 2.59 1.70 2.11 1.73 Digs 13.45 15.40 14.11 15.47
What a Difference a Win Makes...
If the Boilermakers top Tennessee Tech on Friday ...
• They will move to 4-0 on the season, matching their 2006 start. The 2006 Boilermakers went on to a 9-0 start.
• They will improve to 226-136 all-time when playing in the month of September and 160-75 all-time in neutral site contests.
Rank And File
The Boilermakers moved up seven spots, from No. 25 to No. 18, in this week's CSTV/AVCA Preseason Coaches' Poll, after knocking off then No. 14 Kansas State. Purdue was ranked 25th in the preseason CSTV/AVCA Preseason Coaches' Poll released on Aug. 19. Purdue wrapped up the 2007 season in the NCAA Tournament second round and received votes in the final poll of the year.
Since rankings began in 1982, Purdue has been ranked in 81 polls, including preseason and postseason listings.
Against the Top 25
The Boilermakers are slated to face four ranked teams in 2008, based on the preseason AVCA Top 25 poll, including No. 14 Kansas State. During the Dave Shondell era, Purdue has beaten 14 Top 25 teams, including three Top 10 opponents. The Boilermakers posted wins over No. 10 Wisconsin and No. 9 Minnesota in 2005 and a victory over No. 9 Colorado State in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Purdue owns a 52-161 all-time record in matches against the Top 25.
Middle hitter Stephanie Lynch snapped Kim McConaha (2001-04)'s career record mark of 382 block assists against Tennessee State on August 30. She now owns the record with 389. She also ranks among the career top 10 in solo blocks (5th with 90) and total blocks (4th with 479).
Tale of the Century
Head coach Dave Shondell recorded his 100th collegiate coaching victory when the Boilermakers swept Tennessee State Saturday morning. His team's have posted a 101-66 mark in his five plus years as the Boilermaker boss.
Movin' On Up
Libero Kelli Miller moved into second place on the Purdue career digs list on Nov. 4, 2007, against Ohio State. By season's end, she had upped her tally to 1,445. With 39 digs at the Mortar Board Premier, Aug. 29-30, Miller's total now stands at 1,484. She trails only record holder Becky Kanitz, who posted 1,564 digs from 1985 to 1988.
Outside hitter Danita Merlau sits second in career attempts with 4,065. Merlau also ranks among the Top 10 in career kills with 1,376, a mark which ranks eighth.
Lauds For Lynch
Senior middle hitter Stephanie Lynch was one of 12 players named to the preseason All-Big Ten team as announced by the conference on Aug. 14. The honor is the third straight for Lynch, who garnered honorable mention All-America, first team all-region and first team All-Big Ten acclaim in 2006 and 2007.
Lynch averaged 3.53 kills per game on a .318 hitting effort, while also posting 1.38 blocks per game in Purdue's 33 matches. In conference play, the New Albany, Ind., native tallied 3.24 kills per game on a team-best .289 hitting effort, while racking up 1.51 blocks per game. Lynch was a preseason All-Big Ten selection and also earned Defensive Player of the Week honors from the conference on Nov. 5.
The league's coaches have high expectations for the Boilermakers this season as Purdue was tabbed to finish fourth in the conference race in the Big Ten preseason poll. The Big Ten coaches chose defending national champion Penn State, which has won the conference title the past five seasons, to repeat as Big Ten champions, Minnesota was picked to finished second, followed by Wisconsin and Purdue.
In 2007, the Boilermakers finished tied for third with the Golden Gophers, marking their best conference placing since 1990.
Fans will notice five new faces on the court for the Boilermakers in 2008. Junior setter/outside hitter Sam Ainsworth (Stouffville, Ontario) joined the team in January after transferring from Syracuse. Four freshmen also add depth to the Purdue roster. Middle hitters Laura Boldig (Mattoon, Ill.) and Tiffany Fisher (Topeka, Ind.) could see time at the net, while Emily Ehlers (Mishawaka, Ind.) and Amanda Miller (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) look to make their marks in the back court.
After completing her volleyball and basketball playing careers, former Boilermaker Brittany Dildine took on a new role this spring as the team's volunteer assistant coach. Dildine, who head coach Dave Shondell has credited as being a major part of the program's turn around, ranks fifth on Purdue's all-time career digs list with 1,243. She averaged 2.67 digs per game, while also tallying 142 aces and 226 kills in her time in the Old Gold and Black.
Katie McGuine, a native of Rochester, Minn., is in her first year as Director of Operations for the Boilermaker volleyball team after serving in the same position at the University of Iowa for the last two years.
Dig For A Cure
On October 4, Coach Shondell and the Boilermaker volleyball team will celebrate breast cancer awareness month with an opportunity for fans to donate to the cause for each dig the team tallies in the match vs. Minnesota. All funds will support the Komen Foundation. Cash or checks will be accepted. Wear pink and show your support for Purdue volleyball and breast cancer research!
In 2007, the Purdue volleyball team raised more than $1,200 as fans pledged fund for each dig the team tallied during its Dig for a Cure match against Michigan State on October 13. The Boilermakers wore pink ribbons and fans received pink rally towels to show support.
The Purdue volleyball team will host this free event in Mackey Arena in conjunction with a men's and women's basketball tip-off celebration on Oct. 17. Doors will open at 5 p.m. for the Boilermakers' 6 p.m. contest against nationally-ranked Wisconsin. The basketball celebration will follow the match. Seats are first come, first served, so be there early and stay late.
The Boilermaker team and coaching staff will host a free youth clinic open to children 13 and under on Saturday, October 18 from 10-11:30 a.m. E-mail name, age, and shirt size to firstname.lastname@example.org by Oct. 1 to register. All skill levels welcome. Clinic includes a T-shirt and free admission to the game that night.