Game Notes: Active Ankle Challenge

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM No. 21 Purdue welcomes Syracuse, Northern Kentucky and FIU to Belin Court for the fifth annual Active Ankle Challenge.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
No. 21 Purdue welcomes Syracuse, Northern Kentucky and FIU to Belin Court for the fifth annual Active Ankle Challenge.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Sept. 17, 2013

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The Slate
Active Ankle Challenge
Belin Court at Holloway Gymnasium; West Lafayette, Ind.
Live Stats/Radio/Video - purduesports.com
Tourney Central: http://bit.ly/14agSal

Friday, Sept. 20:
4 p.m. Northern Kentucky vs. FIU
7 p.m. Syracuse vs. Purdue

Saturday, Sept. 21:
10 a.m. FIU vs. Syracuse
Noon Northern Kentucky vs. Purdue
5 p.m. Syracuse vs. Northern Kentucky
7:30 p.m. FIU vs. Purdue

Promotions
Friday, 9/20 vs. Syracuse
Residence Hall Challenge - The residence hall floor with the most attendees to check in at the promotions table will receive free tickets to the volleyball match in Mackey Arena on Friday, October 11. Floors will also receive points towards the Residence Hall Cup, where the champion will receive a trophy for the year and a sideline experience at the spring football game.

Saturday, 9/21 vs. Florida International, 7 p.m.
Boilermaker Beach Party - $2 admission for anyone in a Hawaiian shirt

The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: The No. 21 Boilermakers (6-2) bring a six-match win streak into their final non-conference tournament, the Active Ankle Challenge at Belin Court. Purdue posted a 23-11 record, including a 12-8 Big Ten finish, made the program's eighth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last nine seasons and sixth Sweet 16 showing in the last eight seasons in 2012. The team, which finished fifth in Big Ten play, ended the season in the Sweet 16 at their own West Lafayette Regional. Purdue's roster features 11 returning players, including five starters, from that team as well as three redshirt freshmen and one true freshman. Head coach Dave Shondell is in his 11th season with the team.

Last Time Out: The Boilermakers went 3-0 at the USF Invitational en route to the tournament title in Tampa last weekend. Purdue swept FAU and USF and topped Pittsburgh in five sets. Juniors KiKi Jones and Val Nichol and sophomore Annie Drews were named to the all-tournament team.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Catherine Rebarchak and junior settter/outside hitter Val Nichol leads a group of six hitters averaging nearly two kills per set or more. Rebarchak is averaging 2.85 kills per set, while hitting at a .316 clip. Nichol has put down 2.71 kills per set, while also dishing out 5.58 assists per set and managing 2.00 digs and 0.68 blocks per set. Outside hitters Annie Drews (2.18), Sam Epenesa (1.92) and Katie Griffin (1.84) and middle blocker KiKi Jones (1.90) round out the group. Jones is hitting at a team-best .368 clip and adds 1.26 blocks per set and seven aces to the team's tallies. Redshirt freshman middle blocker Faye Adelaja leads the team at the net with 1.48 blocks per set along with 1.16 kills per stanza.

Defensively, libero Carly Cramer leads the way with 3.68 digs per set. Defensive specialist Amanda Neill (2.21), setter Rachel Davis (2.00) and Nichol (2.00) follow. Cramer has served up a team-best 11 aces, followed by Neill (10) and Jones (7). As a team, Purdue it hitting .225 and has served up 44 aces.

Series Information
Syracuse (Purdue leads the series 2-0): The Boilermakers won both previous meetings with the Orange, winning a pair of sweeps at the Mortar Board Premier in West Lafayette on Sept. 18, 1993, and Sept. 7, 1997.

Northern Kentucky (Purdue leads the series 1-0): The Boilermakers won the lone previous meeting with the Norse with a 2-0 win at the AIAW National Tournament in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Dec. 9, 1978.

Florida International: This is the first meeting between the Boilermakers and the Panthers.

What a Difference a Win Makes...
If the Boilermakers top Syracuse on Friday:

• They will extend their current win streak to seven matches, the team's longest since winning eight in a row from Sept. 8 to Sept. 29, 2012.

• They will improve to 275-145 all-time when playing in the month of September, including a 10-2 mark when playing on Sept. 20.

An Overview of the Orange
At First Glance: The Syracuse Orange (4-5) bring a three-match win streak into Friday's match with Purdue. The Orange return seven letterwinners, including five starters, from the 2012 team that posted a 12-18 mark and finished 4-11 in Big East play. Syracuse is coached by Leonid Yelin, who is in his second year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Orange swept Saint Peter's, Delaware State and Chicago State at the Candlewood Suites Challenge at home in Syracuse last weekend.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitters Silvi Uattara and Nicolette Serratore lead the Syracuse offense with 3.21 and 2.97 kills per set respectively. Uattara is hitting at a team-best .338 clip and also has served up six aces, while Serratore chips in 2.41 digs per set and five aces in addition to her kill tally. Outside hitters Gosia Wlaszcuk (1.84) and Valeriya Shaipova (1.38) also contribute offensively. Middle blockers Lindsay McCabe and Monika Salkute pace the team at the net with 1.07 and 1.03 blocks per set. Salkute also has served up a team-leading eight aces.

Defensively, Serratore (2.41) and defensive specialists Candace Timberlake (2.37) and Melina Violas (2.36) lead the way, while Wlaszczuk adds 1.87 digs per set. As a team, Syracuse is hitting .264 and has served up 45 aces.

News About Northern Kentucky
At First Glance: The Northern Kentucky Norse (4-5) are set to kick off Atlantic Sun Conference play on Wednesday at Lipscomb before travelling to West Lafayette. The NKU roster includes seven players from the 2012 team that finished 25-7 and placed third in the Atlantic Sun in its inaugural season of Division I play. The Norse are coached by Liz Hart, who is in her third season with the team.

Last Time Out: The Norse went 2-1 at the UC Tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio, last weekend. Taylor Snyder garnered her second straight A-Sun freshman of the week honor for her efforts.

Statistically Speaking: Middle blocker Jenna Ruble leads a group of four players averaging more than two kills per set. Ruble puts down 2.73 kills per set, while hitting at a team-best .321 clip and adding 0.73 blocks per set. Outside hitters Jayden Julian (2.46), Tristen Simpson (2.22) and Megan Wanstrath (2.15) round out the group. Middle blocker Keely Creamer adds 1.84 kills per set, while also leading the team at the net with 0.86 blocks per set.

Defensively, libero Anna Prickel leads the way with 3.95 digs per set. Defensive specialist Mel Stewart (3.14), outside hitter Kaela Jo Freppon (2.38) and freshman setter Taylor Snyder (2.27) also average more than two digs per set. Freppon and Snyder each have served up a team-best 11 aces. As a team, the Norse are hitting .203 and have served up 38 aces.

Facts About Florida International
At First Glance: The FIU Panthers (5-4) hit the road for the first time since opening weekend when they travel to West Lafayette this weekend. The Panther roster including eight letterwinners from the 2012 team that went 10-20 and finished third in the Conference USA East Division. FIU is coached by Rita Buck-Crockett, who is in her first season with the team.

Last Time Out: The Panthers went 2-1 at their second straight home tournament, the FIU Invitational, in Miami last weekend. FIU lost the opener to Jacksonville in five sets, but rebounded with sweeps of Chattanooga and South Dakota State.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Ksenia Sukhareva and middle blocker Kimberly Smith lead the FIU offense with 3.55 and 3.20 kills per set respectively. Smith is hitting at a team-best .391 clip and adds a team-best 1.07 blocks per set, while Sukhareva adds 2.24 digs per set and and eight aces. Outside hitter Lucia Castro chips in 2.72 kills per set on a .302 hitting effort. As a team, the Panthers are hitting .216 and have served up 39 aces.

Defensively, outside hitter Jessica Mendoza paces the team with 3.67 digs per set, while also adding nine aces. Defensive specialist Adriana McLamb (2.27), Sukhareca (2.24) and defensive specialist Carolyn Fouts (2.09) also aid the defense.

Fabulous Faye
Redshirt freshman middle blocker Faye Adelaja was named Big Ten Defensive Player and Co-Freshman of the Week for her efforts at the USF Invitational last weekend.

Adelaja was a force at the net for the Boilers, racking up 23 blocks (2.09 per set) on the weekend as Purdue limited opponents to a .098 hitting effort. Against Pittsburgh, the Baton Rouge, La., native became the first Purdue player since Oct. 23, 2010 to post more than 10 blocks in a match, racking up 11 stuffs, including three solo efforts. Against USF, Adelaja managed a team-leading 9 stuffs as well as a team-best seven kills on a stellar .778 hitting percentage. On the weekend, she ended four sets, three with kills and one with a block.

Adelaja is the first Purdue player to earn Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors since Ariel Turner did so on Oct. 15, 2012, and the first Boilermaker to be named Freshman of the Week since Annie Drews did so on Sept. 24, 2012.

Among The Nation
The Boilermakers rank 11th nationally in blocks per set with 2.89, an average which leads the Big Ten Conference. Individually, redshirt freshman Faye Adelaja ranks 17th nationally and second among Big Ten players with 1.48 blocks per set. Junior KiKi Jones ranks 59th nationally and sixth in the Big Ten with 1.26 blocks per set.