Game Notes 5: No. 25 Michigan State, Michigan

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Kalamazoo, Mich., native Rachel Davis leads the No. 17 Boilermakers back to her home state to kick off the Big Ten season.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Kalamazoo, Mich., native Rachel Davis leads the No. 17 Boilermakers back to her home state to kick off the Big Ten season.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Sept. 19, 2012

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The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: The No. 17 Boilermakers (9-2) take a four-match win streak into opening weekend of the Big Ten season. Purdue returns 12 players, including five starters, from the 2011 team which advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. Head coach Dave Shondell is in his 10th season with the team, which was picked third in the 2012 Big Ten preseason poll.

Last Time Out: The Boilermakers posted a 3-0 mark en route to the Active Ankle Challenge title. Purdue downed Jacksonville State, UAB and Bowling Green. Middle blocker Kiki Jones was tournament MVP, while middle blocker Anna Drewry and setter Rachel Davis received all-tournament team nods. The win over Bowling Green marked the 200th career collegiate victory for head coach Dave Shondell and his staff.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Ariel Turner paces the Boilermakers with 3.94 kills and 2.41 digs per set, while also serving up a team-leading 14 aces. Outside hitter Catherine Rebarchak (2.17), middle blocker Anna Drewry (2.14) and outside hitters Val Nichol (2.08) and Annie Drews (2.08) also contribute offensively. Drews is hitting a team-best .400 clip, while five others are hitting .250 or better.

Defensively, libero Carly Cramer has posted 4.32 digs per set, while Turner (2.41), setter Rachel Davis (2.27) and defensive specialist Amanda Miller (2.00) follow. Cramer also has served up 11 aces. At the net, middle blockers Kaisley Fisher, Drewry and Kiki Jones pace the team with 1.36, 1.14 and 1.03 stuffs per set. Jones also adds 1.78 kills per set and seven aces to the team tally. As a team, Purdue is hitting .268 and has served up 51 aces.

Series Information
Michigan State (Purdue leads the series 44-27): Michigan State won the first four contests in the series which began on Oct. 18, 1975. Purdue rebounded by taking 29 of the next 30 matches, including 24 straight from 1981 to 1993. The Spartans snapped the streak with a five-set win on Nov. 13, 1993, and continued on to win 18 of the next 19, including an 11-match streak from that five-setter until Nov. 12, 1998. The Boilermakers swept MSU on Oct. 10, 2003 to start Purdue's current streak of 14 wins in the last 18 contests, which included season sweeps in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2011.

Michigan (Purdue leads the series 42-24): Purdue won the first four meetings in the series which began on Oct. 31, 1975. Michigan took its first win on Oct. 24, 1981, but the Boilermakers responded with 19 straight victories from Nov. 7, 1981 to Nov. 2, 1990. The Wolverines countered with nine wins in the next 14 meetings from 1991 to 1997. Purdue won five straight from 1998-2000, but Michigan won eight of the next nine. In 2005, the Boilermakers kicked off a string of three straight wins. Purdue swept the 2007 contests, but Michigan took both in 2009 and 2010. The Boilermakers swept the 2011 meetings, winning via sweep and in a five-set decision.

What a Difference a Win Makes...
If the Boilermakers top No. 25 Michigan State on Friday ...

• They will move to 10-2 on the season and extend their current win streak to five matches.

• They will have won their conference opener for the seventh time in 10 tries under head coach Dave Shondell, and for the fourth straight season.

• They will post their second win over a ranked opponent in 2012 and 32nd under Shondell.

• They will move to 19-14 when playing in East Lansing, including a 6-3 mark under Shondell.

• They will move to 45-27 all time against Michigan State, including five straight wins.

• They will improve to 266-145 all-time when playing in the month of September, including a 9-6 mark when playing on September 21.

Scouting The Spartans
At First Glance: The No. 25 Michigan State Spartans (12-0) enter conference play after taking all four of their non-conference tournament titles. MSU returns 10 letterwinners, including four starters, from the 2011 squad, which posted a 22-12 record including an NCAA Second Round appearance and sixth-place Big Ten finish. The Spartans are coached by Cathy George, who is in her eighth year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Spartans won the Holiday Inn Charleston/Mt. Pleaseant Invitational in Charleston, S.C., last weekend, topping Presbyterian, Georgetown and College of Charleston.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Lauren Wicinski, a transfer from Northern Illinois, paces the Spartan offense with 4.55 kills per set, while hitting .344, adding 2.22 digs per set and serving up a team-best 30 aces. Outside hitters Amy Dentlinger (2.73) and Taylor Galloway (2.38) and middle blockers Alexis Mathews (2.20) and Kelsey Kuipers (2.00) also add more than two kills per set. Mathews is hitting at a team-best .465 clip and also leads the team at the net with 1.33 blocks per set.

Defensivley, libero Kori Moster leads the way with 4.80 digs per set, while also adding 19 aces. Wicinski (2.22) and Galloway (2.13) also aid the defense. Michigan State is hitting .336 as a team and has served up 78 aces.

Words about the Wolverines
At First Glance: The Michigan Wolverines (12-2) started the season 8-0, but have dropped two of their last six matches heading into Big Ten play. UM returns seven letterwinners, including four starters from the 2011 team which went 22-13 and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. Michigan is coached by Mark Rosen, who is in his 14th year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Wolverines went 2-1 at their own Coke/Michigan Invitational last weekend. The team bookended the weekend with a sweep of Eastern Michigan and a five-set win over Duke. A five-set loss to Western Kentucky was the lone setback.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Lexi Erwin leads the Wolverines with 4.13 kills per set, 16 aces and 2.51 digs per set. Outside hitter Kelly Murphy (2.86), middle blocker Jennifer Cross (2.53) and outside hitter Molly Toon (2.33) also add more than two kills per set. Cross is hitting a team-best .349 clip and has put up a team-leading 1.36 blocks per set. Murphy adds 13 aces. As a team, Michigan is hitting .265 and has served up 74 aces.

Defensively, libero Tiffany Morales leads the way with 3.65 digs per set. Ally Sabol (2.62) and Erwin (2.51) also aid the defense with more than two digs perset. Setter Lexi Dannemiller chips in 1.92 digs per set in addition to her 11.02 assists per set tally.

Poll Position
The Boilermakers fell three spots to No. 17 in this week's AVCA Coaches Poll. Last week, Purdue was ranked 14th. On August 27, the team was ranked seventh, a listing which tied the highest ranking in program history, matching the No. 7 listing from Nov. 14, 1983. Purdue was ranked No. 9 in the 2012 Preseason AVCA Coaches Poll, marking their highest starting listing in program history. This week's ranking is Purdue's 119th all-time since the AVCA polls began in 1982, including preseason and postseason listings.

Purdue was listed among the Top 10 in six straight polls from Nov. 7, 2011 to Aug. 27, 2012 ­­- its longest stay there since 1983 (eights straight polls: Sept. 26 to Nov. 28).

Shondell Earns Collegiate Win #200
Head coach Dave Shondell picked up his 200th career collegiate victory with Purdue's sweep of Bowling Green on Sept. 15. The Boilermakers have posted a 200-109 record in just over nine seasons under Shondell. Under his watch, the program has become part of an elite group nationally. Purdue is one of 12 schools nationally to make seven NCAA appearances in the last eight seasons, advancing to at least the second round each time. In addition, the Boilermakers have made five Sweet 16 berths in the last seven seasons, making the program one of just nine in the nation that can boast the accomplishment.

Under Shondell, Purdue has posted five 20-win seasons, including 29 victories in 2011, the program's highest total since 1985, and defeated 30 ranked foes. In 2011, the Boilermakers finished second in the Big Ten, its best conference placing since 1987. Shondell has coached four All-Americans and two Academic All-Americans. His charges also have earned 15 All-Big Ten and 55 Academic All-Big Ten accolades.

Aiding Shondell in leading Purdue are assistant coaches Kathy Jewell and John Shondell. The trio are the longest tenured complete staff in the Big Ten Conference.

From Teammates to Foes
Boilermaker sophomores Kiki Jones and Val Nichol along with senior Ariel Turner played for the U.S. Women's National Volelyball A2 Program this past summer. Forty eight collegiate players from around the country were divided into four 12-player teams: Gold, Red, White and Blue. Two collegiate coaches helmed each squad. Jones played for the USA Red team, while Nichol donned USA White and Turner sported the USA Blue.

Jones was teammates with three Boilermaker opponents: Louisville's Gwen Rucker and Michigan State's Alexis Mathews and Amy Dentlinger; and was coached by Northwestern's Keylor Chan. Nichol teamed up with Michigan's Lexi Dannemiller. Two other Big Ten players were part of the A2 program on Team Gold: Michigan State's Lauren Wicinski and Minnesota's Tori Dixon.

Nichol's USA White squad claimed the gold medal over USA Gold in the A2 Tournament.

Countdown to 1,000
Redshirt junior libero Carly Cramer has pulled up 953 career digs, just 47 away from the 1,000 dig milestone. Cramer would be the 15th Boilermaker player to reach the milestone.

Among The Nation
The Boilermakers rank among the nation's top 50 in hitting percentage (30th with .268) and winning percentage (36th with .818). Individually, Ariel Turner ranks 37th in points per set (4.74), 59th in kills per set(3.94) and 65th in aces per set (0.41).