Match Notes 5: Wisconsin, No. 9 Minnesota

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM The No. 20 Boilers are looking to win their ninth straight match in 2013 and fifth straight conference opener.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
The No. 20 Boilers are looking to win their ninth straight match in 2013 and fifth straight conference opener.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Sept. 24, 2013

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The Slate: Big Ten Week 1
UW Fieldhouse, Madison, Wis.; Sports Pavilion, Minneapolis, Minn.

Friday, Sept.27: 8 p.m. ET Purdue at Wisconsin

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Sunday, Sept. 29: 2 p.m. Purdue at Minnesota

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The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: The No. 20 Boilermakers (9-2) bring an eight-match win streak into Big Ten play. 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 their own Active Ankle Challenge en route to the tournament title last weekend. Purdue swept Syracuse and FIU and topped Northern Kentucky in four sets. Junior KiKi Jones was named tournament MVP, while redshirt seniors Rachel Davis and Katie Griffin 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 2.78 kills per set, while also dishing out 5.73 assists per set and managing 1.77 digs and 0.66 blocks per set. Outside hitters Annie Drews (2.11), Sam Epenesa (2.11) and Katie Griffin (1.89) and middle blocker KiKi Jones (2.07) round out the group. Jones is hitting at a team-best .419 clip and adds 1.20 blocks per set and seven aces to the team's tallies. Redshirt freshman middle blocker Faye Adelaja leads the team at the net with 1.39 blocks per set along with 1.32 kills per stanza.

Defensively, libero Carly Cramer leads the way with 3.80 digs per set. Defensive specialist Amanda Neill (2.08), setter Rachel Davis (1.93) and Nichol (1.71) follow. Cramer has served up a team-best 16 aces, followed by Neill (11) and Epenesa (11). As a team, Purdue it hitting .259 and has served up 61 aces.

Series Information
Wisconsin (Wisconsin leads the series 37-30): The teams split the first six contests of the series which began on Oct. 11, 1975. Purdue surged ahead in the series with 10 straight wins from 1981 to 1986. The Badgers won 11 of the next 19, but never more than two matches in a row. Wisconsin went ahead in the series with 17 straight wins from 1996 to 2004. The Boilermakers stopped the streak, taking two of the next three matches. The Badgers swept the 2006 and 2007 meetings, but Purdue swept the 2008 and 2009 contests, winning three via five-set decisions. The teams split the 2010 meetings with each winning on its home court. Purdue has won the last two contests, a sweep on Nov. 25, 2011, in Madison, and a 3-1 decision on Nov. 23, 2012, in West Lafayette.

Minnesota (Minnesota leads the series 45-28): Purdue dominated the early part of the series with the Golden Gophers, which began on Oct. 11, 1975, posting 18 wins in the first 20 meetings. Minnesota won 19 of the next 25, though Purdue swept the 1990 series. The Boilermakers took the 1998 series in a pair of five set matches, but the Gophers won 22 of the next 24. Purdue took a 3-1 win in the lone 2011 meeting, snapping an 11-match UM win streak and marking the first Purdue win since 2005. The Gophers won a 3-1 decision on Oct. 20, 2012, in Minneapolis and on Dec. 7 in the NCAA Sweet 16 in West Lafayette.

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

• They will extend their current win streak to nine matches, the team's longest since winning 10 in a row from Oct. 15 to Nov. 18, 2011.

• They will have won their conference opener for the eighth time in 11 tries under head coach Dave Shondell, and for the fifth straight season.

• They will improve to 278-145 all-time when playing in the month of September, including a 10-9 mark when playing on Sept. 27.

Words About Wisconsin
At First Glance: The Wisconsin Badgers (11-1) enter conference play on a five-match win streak. The team's lone loss of the season was a five-setter against Kansas on Sept. 13. The Badgers return 12 letterwinners, including four starters, from the 2012 team that posted a 17-16 mark and finished ninth in the Big Ten. Syracuse is coached by Kelly Sheffield, who is in his first year with the team. Purdue alumna Brittany Dildine (2003-06) is an assistant coach with the Badgers.

Last Time Out: The Badgers went 3-0 at the N.C. State Invitational in Raleigh, N.C., last weekend. Wisconsin topped N.C. State (3-1), VCU (3-2) and swept Colgate.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Ellen Chapman headlines the UW offense, turning in 3.89 kills per set on a .289 hitting percentage with a team-best 15 aces. Middle blocker Dominique Thompson (2.52), setter/outside hitter Courtney Thomas (2.41), and outside hitter Deme Morales (2.26) also average more than two kills per set. Thompson leads the team at the net with 1.07 blocks per set, while also hitting a .310 clip. Thomas has added 4.26 assists per set, 12 aces and 2.88 digs per set to the team tallies.

Defensively, libero Taylor Morey leads the way with 4.28 digs per set. Defensive specialist Annemarie Hickey (3.05), setter Lauren Carlini (2.91), Thomas (2.88), and Morales (2.30) also aid the defense. As a team, Wisconsin is hitting .239 and has served up 71 aces.

Getting To Know The Gophers
At First Glance: The Minnesota Golden Gophers (12-1) have won five straight coming into Wednesday's Big Ten opener with Indiana. The Gopher roster includes four starters from the 2012 team that finished 27-8, placed second in the Big Ten and advanced to the Elite Eight. Minneosta is coached by Hugh McCutcheon, who is in his second season with the team.

Last Time Out: The Gophers went 4-0 at the Dartmouth Duels in Hanover, N.H., last weekend. Minnesota swept Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Dartmouth and won in four sets against UConn.

Statistically Speaking: Middle blocker Tori Dixon leads the Gophers with 4.26 kills per set on a .471 hitting percentage, while also serving up a team-best 14 aces and leading the team at the net with 1.36 blocks per set. Outside hitters Ashley Wittman (3.61) and Daly Santana (2.94) and middle blocker Adrianna Nora (2.30) also add more than two kills per set. Wittman is hitting at a .382 clip and also adds 2.89 digs per set, while Santana chips in nine aces and 2.85 digs per set.

Defensively, Wittman leads a group of four players with more than two digs per set. Wittman (2.89), Santana (2.85), setter Alexandra Palmer (2.31) and defensive specialist Lindsey Lawmaster (2.10) make up the group. As a team, Minnesota is hitting .327 and has served up 58 aces.

Poll Position
The Boilermakers moved up a spot to No. 20 in the AVCA Coaches Poll after spending last two week at No. 21. Purdue was ranked 16th in the 2013 Preseason AVCA poll after wrapping up 2012 at No. 15. Purdue was ranked in the Top 25 throughout the 2012 season and has been ranked in 36 consecutive polls dating to Nov. 29, 2010.

On August 27, 2012, 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 134th 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 (eight straight polls: Sept. 26 to Nov. 28).

Among The Nation
The Boilermakers rank 15th nationally in blocks per set with 2.79, an average which leads the Big Ten Conference. Purdue also rankes 42nd in hitting percentage (.259). Individually, redshirt freshman Faye Adelaja ranks 19th nationally and second among Big Ten players with 1.39 blocks per set. Junior KiKi Jones ranks 23rd in hitting percentage (.419), and fourth in the Big Ten.

All-Tournament Honors
Redshirt freshman middle blocker Faye Adelaja garnered all-tournament team honors at the Mortar Board Premier on opening weekend. The Baton Rouge, La., native posted 1.50 kills and hit at a team-best .351 clip, while also adding 0.92 blocks per set.

Redshirt seniors Carly Cramer and Catherine Rebarchak were named to the all-tournament team at the Golden Dome Invitational. Cramer averaged 4.75 digs per set and served up four aces, while Rebarchak put up a team-best 3.50 kills per set and hit at a .304 clip.

Juniors Val Nichol and KiKi Jones and sophomore Annie Drews earned all-tournament team nods at the USF Invitational in Tampa. Drews led the offense with 2.45 kills per set, while hitting .426 and adding 0.91 blocks per set. Nichol chipped in 2.09 kills, 5.27 assists, 2.27 digs and 0.55 blocks per set. Jones racked up 1.45 blocks per set, while also posting 1.91 kills per set on a .419 hitting percentage and four aces.

Jones was named MVP of the Active Ankle Challenge, while redshirt seniors Rachel Davis and Katie Griffin received all-tournament team honors. Jones posted 2.60 kills per set, while hitting at a .571 clip and adding 1.00 block per set. Davis dished out 5.60 assists and managed 1.70 digs per set, while helping the Boilers to a team hitting percentage of .379. Griffin averaged 2.00 kills per set, hit .326 and added six digs and five blocks.