Sept. 14, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
Big Ten/Big East Challenge:
Friday, Sept. 16, 5:30 p.m. ET vs. Louisville
Saturday, Sept. 17, 5:30 p.m. ET vs. Cincinnati
Live Stats: GameTracker on purduesports.com
Radio: WSHY 1410 AM and purduesports.com
The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: The 14th-ranked Boilermakers (9-0) are off to their best start since the 2006 season (9-0) and are at least 9-0 for the third time in the Shondell era (also 11-0 in 2005). Purdue returns 12 players, including five starters, from the 2010 team which went 24-11, defeated three Top 10 foes and advanced to the NCAA Regional Final. Head coach Dave Shondell is in his ninth season with the team.
Last Time Out: Purdue won the Active Ankle Challenge title at home last weekend, sweeping Jacksonville State and Western Carolina and topping Ball State in four sets. Setter Rachel Davis was named tournament MVP, while outside hitters Ariel Turner and Catherine Rebarchak were named to the all-tournament team. The Boilermakers also sold a Holloway Gymnasium record 2,830 tickets for the Ball State match.
Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Ariel Turner paces the Boilermaker offense with 4.42 kills per set, while also adding 2.19 digs per set and eight aces. Middle blocker Tiffany Fisher has put down 2.96 kills per set, while hitting .488, putting up 1.08 blocks per set and serving up seven aces. Outside hitter Val Nichol (2.38), middle blocker Anna Drewry (2.14) and outside hitter Catherine Rebarchak (2.04) also add more than two kills per set. Drewry chips in 1.14 blocks per set, while Nichols puts up 0.94 stuffs per stanza. Outside hitter Katie Griffin (1.86) and middle blocker Kierra "KiKi" Jones also aid the offense. Jones also paces Purdue at the net with 1.32 blocks per set.
Defensively, libero Carly Cramer leads a group of five players with more than two digs per set. Cramer manages 2.86 saves per stanza, while serving up a team-best 12 aces. Defensive specialists Emily Ehlers (2.74) and Blair Bashen (2.73), Turner (2.19) and setter Rachel Davis (2.00) round out the group. Bashen also adds nine aces to the team's tally. Purdue is outhitting opponents .299 to .101 and outblocking foes 3.00 to 1.29.
Louisville (Purdue leads the series 9-0): Purdue has won all nine previous meetings with the Cardinals in the series which began on Oct. 11, 1977. The teams have played five matches in recent history dating to the 2008 season. The Boilermakers and Cardinals played both regular season and NCAA Tournament matches in 2008 and 2010. Purdue is 6-0 at home, 2-0 in Louisville and 1-0 at a neutral location.
Cincinnati (Purdue leads the series 6-2): The Boilermakers have taken six of the eight matches with the Bearcats in the series which began on Oct. 16, 1976. Purdue won the first contest and Cincinnati took the second. The Boilermakers won five straight from 1979 to 1980. Cincinnati took the most recent meeting 3-0 as part of the 2010 Big Ten/Big East Challenge, in a contest which revived the series after nearly 30 years.
Learning About Louisville
At First Glance: The Louisville Cardinals (8-2) return nine letterwinners, including five starters, from the 2010 squad which went 23-8 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament second round. Louisville is coached by Anne Kordes, who is in his first year with the team.
Last Time Out: The Cardinals posted a 3-1 mark last week, falling to Kentucky 3-0 on Wednesday, but rebounding with three wins at the Ohio Bobcat Classic en route to the tournament title. Louisville topped Ohio and Virginia in four sets, before wrapping up the weekend with a sweep of Marshall.
Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Lola Arslanbekova leads the Cardinals offensively, putting down 4.49 kills per set, while hitting at a .298 clip and adding 2.11 digs per set. Outside hitter Emily Juhl (2.60) and middle blockers Gwen Rucker (2.38) and Brooke Mattingly (2.09) also add more than two kills per stanza and are each hitting at better than a .300 clip. Mattingly is hitting at a team-best .361 clip, while Rucker has served up a team-leading 11 aces and put up a team-high 1.25 blocks. Outside hitter Tanya Lukyanenko adds 1.00 blocks per set.
Defensively, libero Caitlin Welch leads the way with 4.40 digs per set. Outside hitter Kaitlynn James (2.56), setter Taylor Brauneis (2.20) and Arslanbekova (2.11) follow. Brauneis and Welch each have served up 11 of the team's 55 aces.
Chatting About Cincinnati
At First Glance: The Cincinnati Bearcats (7-4) return eight letterwinners, including five starters, from the 2010 roster which posted a 30-6 record, won the Big East regular season title and advanced to the NCAA Second Round. The Bearcats are coached by Reed Sunahara, who is in his 12th year with the team.
Last Time Out: Cincinnati went 2-1 at the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii last weekend. The Bearcats swept Pacific and topped Rice in five sets, before being swept by No. 12 Hawai'i.
Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Missy Harpenau leads a group of four players that average more than two kills per set. Harpenau has posted 3.36 kills per set, while also adding a team-best 13 aces and 2.62 digs per set. Middle blocker Jordanne Scott (2.77), outside hitter Megan Turner (2.46) and middle blocker Becca Refenes (2.08) round out the group. Refenes leads the team at the net with 1.13 blocks per set and adds 10 aces, while Scott has served up 13 aces and chips in 0.95 stuffs per set.
Defensively, libero Emily Macintyre leads the Bearcats with 3.50 digs per set, while also serving up nine aces. Harpenau (2.62) and setter Caylin Mahoney (2.08) also aid the defense.
Comparing the Teams
Stat. Purdue Louisville Cincinnati Hit. % .299 .276 .235 Kills 14.14 13.57 10.26 Assists 13.07 12.46 9.42 Aces 1.59 1.57 1.18 Blocks 3.00 2.50 1.74 Digs 13.76 14.77 9.90
What a Difference a Win Makes...
If the Boilermakers top Louisville on Friday ...
They will move to 10-0 to start the season for the first since 2005 (11-0) and the fifth time in program history, also 1985 (13-0), 1982 (33-0) and 1981 (12-0).
They will move to 173-79 all-time in neutral site contests.
They will improve to 255-144 all-time when playing in the month of September, including a 10-4 mark when playing on Sept. 16.
Garnering National Recognition
The Boilermakers fell one spot to No. 14 in this week's AVCA Coaches Poll after spending three weeks at No. 13. Purdue was 13th in the preseason poll, the Aug. 29 and Sept. 5 polls. This week's listing is Purdue's 103rd all time since the AVCA polls began in 1982, including preseason and postseason listings. Purdue owned the No. 11 spot in the final poll of 2010.
Among The Nation
The Boilermakers rank among the top 50 nationally in five statistical categories. Purdue is one of 14 undefeated teams, ranking them first in winning percentage. The Boilermakers also are sixth in hitting percentage (.299), 11th in blocks per set (3.0), 29th in kills per set (14.14) and 31st in assists per set (13.07). Purdue also has served up 1.59 aces per set, ranking 51st.
Individually, senior middle blocker Tiffany Fisher ranks second nationally in hitting percentage with a .488 effort, just behind Oyinlola Oladinni of Middle Tennessee State's .490 effort. Junior outside hitter Ariel Turner ranks 12th in points per set (5.33) and 22nd in kills per set (4.42). Redshirt sophomore setter Rachel Davis ranks 21st in assists per set (11.38), while freshman middle Kierra "KiKi" Jones ranks 34th in blocks per set (1.32).
The Boilermakers put up 19.0 blocks as a team against Ball State on Sept. 10, setting a new rally scoring record for a four-game match. The tally surpassed the previous Purdue rally scoring record of 17.5 set at Indiana on Nov. 4, 2009. The 19 blocks also tie for the fourth-most ever by a Boilermaker side in a four-set affair, matching efforts against Wisconsin (11/3/1989), Georgia (9/3/1990), Minnesota (11/20/1993) and Notrthwestern (11/21/1982).
The Boilermakers set a new record for tickets sold for a match in Holloway Gymnasium against Ball State on Sept. 10. The Athletics Ticket Office reported a total of 2,830 tickets sold for the match with the Cardinals, surpassing the previous facility record of 2,588 sold for the Nov. 10, 2010 match against Indiana.