Game Notes 5: Michigan State, Michigan

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Setter Rachel Davis will face off with a pair of teams from her home state of Michigan as the Boilermakers begin conference play this weekend.
Setter Rachel Davis will face off with a pair of teams from her home state of Michigan as the Boilermakers begin conference play this weekend.

Sept. 21, 2011

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The Slate
Friday, Sept. 23 - 8 p.m. vs. Michigan State. TV: Big Ten Network LIVE. Radio: Live Stats:
Promotions: Social Media Night. Summer Camp Reunion Night - All summer camp participants can receive $2 admission to the match. Must buy tickets in advance

Saturday, Sept. 24 - 7 p.m. vs. Michigan. Video: Live stream on Radio: Live Stats:
Promotions: Boilermaker Kids Club Party pre-match.

Social Media Night
The Boilermakers will host Social Media Night at Belin Court on Friday, Sept. 23, for their Big Ten Network televised match with Michigan State. Fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #Purdue MSUVB for all twitter posts (tweets) related to the event. Fans also are being asked to tweet pictures of themselves donning their school colors, whether at the event or watching elsewhere, using the hashtag.

During the match, there will be a couple of in-house contests involving twitter. A flyer will be distributed to all patrons with the twitter handles of all of the Purdue players and others associated with the program and Big Ten Volleyball. Fans are encouraged to use these when tweeting about the event and future events. As always, use the hashtag #boilerup when referring to Boilermaker sports.

The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: The 13th-ranked Boilermakers (11-0) are off to their best start since the 2005 season and are at least 9-0 for the third time in the Shondell era (also 9-0 in 2006, 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 went 2-0 at the Big Ten/Big East Challenge in Champaign, Ill., last weekend. The Boilermakers won a five-set match against Louisville and swept Cincinnati. Outside hitters Ariel Turner and Catherine Rebarchak were named to the all-tournament team.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Ariel Turner paces the Boilermaker offense with 4.44 kills per set, while also adding 2.47 digs per set and 10 aces. Middle blocker Tiffany Fisher has put down 2.97 kills per set, while hitting .424, putting up 1.03 blocks per set and serving up nine aces. Outside hitter Val Nichol (2.32), outside hitter Catherine Rebarchak (2.18) and middle blocker Anna Drewry (2.14) also add more than two kills per set. Drewry chips in 1.14 blocks per set, while Rebarchak and Nichol puts up 0.79 and 0.77 stuffs per stanza. Outside hitter Katie Griffin (1.87) and middle blocker Kierra "KiKi" Jones (1.47) also aid the offense. Jones also paces Purdue at the net with 1.30 blocks per set.

Defensively, Blair Bashen leads a group of four players with more than two digs per set. Bashen manages 3.29 saves per stanza, while serving up a team-best 12 aces. Libero Carly Cramer (2.86), defensive specialist Emily Ehlers (2.51) and Turner (2.47) round out the group. Cramer also adds 12 aces to the team's tally. Setter Rachel Davis chips in 1.89 digs per set to go with her 11.49 assists per set average. Purdue is outhitting opponents .291 to .108 and outblocking foes 2.85 to 1.38.

Series Information
Michigan State (Purdue leads the series 42-27): 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 12 wins in the last 16 contests, which included season sweeps in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010.

Michigan (Purdue leads the series 40-24): 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.

Scouting The Spartans
At First Glance: The Michigan State Spartans (11-1) return nine letterwinners, including six starters, from the 2010 squad which went 15-16 and finished seventh in the Big Ten. MSU is coached by Cathy George, who is in her sixth year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Spartans went 3-0 at home last weekend in the Spartan Invitational. MSU swept Ball State and Sacred Heart, while winning a four setter against Virginia Commonwealth.

Statistically Speaking: Outside/middle hitter Jenilee Rathje paces the Spartan offense with 4.22 kills per set, while also adding 1.84 digs and six aces. Outside hitter Kyndra Abron (3.63), outside hitter Gina Lang (2.17) and middle blocker Alexis Matthews (2.08) follow. Matthews is hitting .410 and adds a team-best 1.53 blocks per set, while Abron chips in 1.03 stuffs per stanza. Outside hitter Amy Dentlinger (1.70) and middle blocker Kelsey Kuipers (1.61) also contribute offensively.

Defensively, libero Carli Weiler leads the way with 3.18 digs per set, while also serving up a team-best nine aces. Defensive specialist Kori Moster adds 2.32 digs pers set and six aces, while Rathje (1.84) and outside hitter Becca Zlabis (1.74) also aid the backcourt. MSU is hitting .334 as a team and has put up 3.11 blocks per set.

Words About The Wolverines
At First Glance: The No. 18 Michigan Wolverines (12-0) return 11 letterwinners from the 2010 roster which posted a 23-10 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The Wolverines are coached by Mark Rosen, who is in his 13th year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Wolverines went 3-0 at their own Michigan/adidas Invitational last weekend, topping Toledo and Xavier in four sets and sweeping Texas A&M.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Alex Hunt headlines a group of five Michigan hitters averaging more than two kills per set. Hunt has put down 3.45 kills per set, while serving up a team-best 25 aces and adding 1.62 digs per set. Outside hitter Lexi Erwin (3.29), outside hitter Claire McElheny (2.86), middle blocker Courtney Fletcher (2.73) and middle blocker Jennifer Cross (2.12) round out the group. Fletcher is hitting at a team-leading .394 clip and adds 20 aces, whle Cross paces the team at the net with 1.10 blocks per set.

Defensively, libero Sloane Donhoff leads the way with 4.57 digs per set. Erwin (2.27), setter Lexi Dannimiller (2.26) and defensive specialist Ally Sabol (2.20) also contribute more than two digs per stanza. Michigan has served up 86 aces and is hitting .289 as a team.

Comparing the Teams

Stat.      Purdue        Michigan State      Michigan
Hit.%      .291          .334                .289
Kills      14.03         14.87               15.10
Assists    13.08         13.82               13.90
Aces       1.57          1.00                2.07
Blocks     2.85          3.11                2.04
Digs       14.00         12.39               14.19

What a Difference a Win Makes...
If the Boilermakers top Michigan State on Friday ...

• They will move to 12-0 to start the season for the first time since 1985 (13-0) and the fourth time in program history, also 1982 (33-0) and 1981 (12-0).

• They will have won their conference opener for the sixth time in nine tries under head coach Dave Shondell, and for the third straight season.

• They will move to 154-121 all-time in Big Ten Conference matches played at home.

• They will move to 17-25 all-time when playing on television, dating to 1995.

• They will improve to 258-144 all-time when playing in the month of September, including a 6-7 mark when playing on Sept. 23.

Garnering National Recognition
The Boilermakers moved up a spot to No. 13 in this week's AVCA Coaches Poll after spending three weeks at No. 13 and last week at No. 14. Purdue was 13th in the preseason poll, the Aug. 29 and Sept. 5 polls. This week's listing is Purdue's 104th 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 six statistical categories. Purdue is one of eight undefeated teams, ranking them first in winning percentage. The Boilermakers also are ninth in hitting percentage (.291), 13th in blocks per set (2.85), 26th in assists per set (13.08), 30th in kills per set (14.03) and 45th in aces per set (1.57).

Individually, senior middle blocker Tiffany Fisher ranks 12th nationally in hitting percentage with a .424 effort. Junior outside hitter Ariel Turner ranks 13th in points per set (5.25) and 19th in kills per set (4.44). Redshirt sophomore setter Rachel Davis ranks 17th in assists per set (11.49), while freshman middle Kierra "KiKi" Jones ranks 31st in blocks per set (1.30).

Riding The A-Train
Junior outside hitter Ariel Turner has posted double-digit kills in all 10 of the matches she has played in this season, and 16 matches in a row dating to the 2010 season. The Highlands Ranch, Colo., native has led the team offensively in nine of those contests, while also pacing the team in blocks twice and in digs once. The junior also has four double-doubles (kills and digs) to her credit in 2011.

All told, Turner has posted double-digit digs in 57 of her 75 career matches and registered nine double-doubles.

Defense By Committee
Five different players have led the Boilermaker defense in the team's 11 matches. Junior Carly Cramer, redshirt senior Blair Bashen and senior Emily Ehlers have been tops in digs three times. Junior Ariel Turner posted a team-leading tally against Bryant, while redshirt sophomore Rachel Davis did the honors against College of Charleston.

Approaching 1,000
Reaching 1,000 career kills or digs is a major milestone for a collegiate volleyball player. A handful of Boilermaker players are on pace to join those exclusive clubs in 2011. Junior outside hitter Ariel Turner has put down 916 kills, just 84 shy of the miltestone, which 23 Purdue players have reached in program history. Redshirt senior Blair Bashen, senior Emily Ehlers and junior Carly Cramer all are within striking distance of 1,000 digs. Bashen has managed 890, while Ehlers has recorded 848 saves and Cramer has pulled up 792. Twelve Boilermakers have surpassed the 1,000 dig milestone.

Small Screen Stars
The Boilermaker volleyball team is slated to make a four television appearances in 2011, including two live from Belin Court in Holloway Gymnasium.

The Big Ten Network will air Purdue's Friday, Sept. 23 match against Michigan State, live from Belin Court at 8 p.m. ET. Less than a week later, BTN will air the Boilermakers' Wednesday, Sept. 28 match against Northwestern in Evanston, live at 8 p.m. ET. The team `s Oct. 19 match against Indiana will be streamed live on, but it will be re-aired on the Big Ten Network at noon on Friday, Oct. 21. The squad also will have its Wednesday, Nov. 2 match at home against Illinois aired live at 8 p.m. ET.

Twelve of Purdue's conference matches will be streamed live on Matches streamed on are available as part of the Purdue or Big Ten's All-Access Packages. Fans may purchase the Purdue School Pass for a monthly charge of $9.95 to access broadcasts streamed on as well as Purdue's home and away events streamed on Fans can also purchase a season pass for $79.95. A Big Ten Digital Network Conference Pass, available for a monthly charge of $14.95 or $119.95 yearly allows access to broadcasts of all Big Ten schools, except Nebraska, and all broadcasts.

Tracking The Boilermakers
Follow Purdue volleyball on the web with streaming video, live audio and live statistics on Live statistics are available via the GameTracker feature, while free audio broadcasts are available by clicking the listen links on the schedule page. Streaming video is available for a monthly fee via the Purdue All-Access Pass.

Be a part of Purdue volleyball online via the social networking services Facebook and Twitter. Join the Official Purdue Volleyball group on Facebook. Follow the team on twitter at or Boilermaker coach Dave Shondell's tweets at