Match Notes 7: Illinois, Northwestern

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Fans are encourage to wear pink to support the Dig for a Cure cause on Saturday.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Fans are encourage to wear pink to support the Dig for a Cure cause on Saturday.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Oct. 8, 2013

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The Slate: Big Ten Week 3
Friday, Oct. 11: Mackey Arena
7 p.m. Purdue vs. Illinois
Live Stats/Radio/Video - purduesports.com

Saturday, Oct. 12: Holloway Gymnasium
6 p.m. Purdue vs. Northwestern
TV: BTN (live); Mike Wolf (PxP), Audrey Flaugh (Color)
Live Stats/Radio - purduesports.com

Promotions Friday, Oct. 11 - Operation 14K. The Boilermakers look to pack Mackey Arena for their match with Illinois. All Purdue students receive free admission with a student ID and may enter through the southwest entrance. All Boilermaker Kids Club members may receive two free tickets to the match at the Athletics Ticket Office.

Saturday, Oct. 12 - Dig For A Cure - Fans are encouraged to wear pink to support the Breast Cancer Awareness cause. Admission to volleyball is just $3 with a Purdue/Nebraska football ticket stub.

The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: The No. 20 Boilermakers (10-5, 1-3 Big Ten) will play host to Illinois in Mackey Arena on Friday as part of the Operation 14K promotion to pack Mackey and will face Northwestern for the annual Dig for a Cure match on Saturday live on BTN. 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 split home matches last weekend, sweeping No. 12 Ohio State and falling to No. 5 Penn State in five sets.

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 2.68 kills per set. Nichol has put down 2.53 kills per set, while also dishing out 5.80 assists per set and managing 1.73 digs and 0.64 blocks per set. Outside hitters Sam Epenesa (2.26), Annie Drews (1.96) and Katie Griffin (1.85) and middle blocker KiKi Jones (2.05) round out the group. Jones is hitting at a team-best .405 clip and adds 1.15 blocks per set and 12 aces to the team's tallies. Redshirt freshman middle blocker Faye Adelaja leads the team at the net with 1.31 blocks per set to go with 1.35 kills per stanza.

Defensively, libero Carly Cramer leads the way with 3.91 digs per set. Defensive specialist Amanda Neill (2.02), setter Rachel Davis (1.91), defensive specialist Hilliary Fox (1.83) and Nichol (1.73) follow. Cramer has served up a team-best 19 aces, followed by Neill (14), Jones (12) and Epenesa (11). As a team, Purdue is hitting .228 and has served up 73 aces.

Series Information
Illinois (Illinois leads the series 41-36): Illinois won the first match in the series, which began on Oct. 25, 1975 in Champaign. Purdue countered with four of the next six before kicking off a seven-match win streak dating from Sept. 28, 1979 to Oct. 26, 1981. An Illini win stopped the streak, but Purdue responded with five more victories. Illinois won 29 of the next 38 contests from 1985 to 2003. The Boilermakers won six of the next seven including season sweeps in 2004 and 2006. Illinois took six in a row, but Purdue stopped the streak with four-set win on Nov. 27, 2010. The teams split the 2011 series with each winning on its home court. Purdue won both 2012 meetings in five sets.

Northwestern (Purdue leads the series 49-25): Purdue took the first three meetings in the series which began on Oct. 28, 1977. The Wildcats answered with three of the next four, but the Boilermakers won seven straight from 1981 to 1983. The teams split the next eight meetings, before Purdue kicked off a string of 21 wins in 28 tries from 1987 to 2000. Northwestern won eight of the next 10, including five straight, but Purdue took six of the next seven meetings, sweeping the season series in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Northwestern won the next three meetings, but Purdue has taken the last five, beginning with the Nov. 12, 2010 contest.

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

• They will move to 10-4 all-time when playing in Mackey Arena.

• They will move to 11-10 against the Fighting Illini under Coach Shondell, including each of the last four matches played in West Lafayette.

• They will have won four straight matches against the Fighting Illini dating to Nov. 2, 2011.

• They will improve to 262-198-1 all-time when playing in the month of October, including a 10-7 mark when playing on Oct. 11.

Facts About the Fighting Illini
At First Glance: The Illinois Fighting Illini (6-8, 2-2 Big Ten) take on a ranked opponent for the fourth straight match when they face Purdue on Friday. The Illini have played ranked opponents in 10 of their 14 matches in 2013. The Illinois roster includes five starters from the 2013 team that finished 14-16 and placed eighth in the Big Ten. Illinois is coached by Kevin Hambly, who is in his fourth season with the team.

Last Time Out: The Illini split road contests with No. 9 Michigan State and No. 14 Michigan, falling to the Spartans in three sets on Friday and topping the Wolverines in five on Saturday.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitters Jocelynn Birks and Liz McMahon headline the Illinois offensive attack. Birks has put down 3.78 kills per set to go with 2.06 digs per set and 10 aces, while McMahon has added 3.04 kills per set, 0.70 blocks per set and 12 aces. Middle blocker Maddie Mayers has chipped in 1.75 kills per set in addition to her team-leading 1.18 blocks per set.

Defensively, libero Jennifer Beltran leads the way with 3.80 digs per set. Setter Alexis Viliunas follows with 2.53 digs per set, while also dishing out 9.38 assists per set. Birks (2.06) and outside hitter Ali Stark (1.96) also aid the defense. As a team, the Illini are hitting .188 and have served up 60 aces.

Notes About Northwestern
At First Glance: The Northwestern Wildcats (9-7, 1-3 Big Ten) looks to snap a two-match losing streak when they face off with Indiana on Friday. The Wildcats return nine letterwinners, including five starters, from the 2012 team that posted a 16-15 mark and finished ninth in the Big Ten. Northwestern is coached by Keylor Chan, who is in his 14th year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Wildcats dropped a pair of road matches last weekend, falling to No. 14 Michigan in four sets and to No. 9 Michigan State via sweep.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Stephanie Holthus leads the NU offense with 4.10 kills per set, while hitting .235, contributing 2.90 digs per set and serving up 12 aces. Right side hitter Katie Dutchman (2.95) and outside hitter Kayla Morin (2.37) and Yewande Akanbi (2.04) follow. Dutchman is hitting at a team-best .298 clip, while Morin adds 2.47 digs per set to the team tally. Middle blocker Savannah Paffen leads the Wildcats at the net with 1.00 blocks per set to go with her 1.83 kills per set.

Defensively, libero Caroline Neidospial leads the way with 4.29 digs per set and 17 aces. Holthus (2.90), Morin (2.47) and setter Caleigh Ryan (2.17) also add more than two digs per set. As a team, Northwestern is hitting .237 and has served up 62 aces.

Poll Position
The Boilermakers moved up four spots to No. 20 in the AVCA Coaches Poll after spending last week at No. 24. 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.

This week's ranking is Purdue's 136th all-time since the AVCA polls began in 1982, including preseason and postseason listings.

Among The Nation
The Boilermakers rank 31st nationally in blocks per set with 2.65. Individually, junior KiKi Jones ranks 26th in hitting percentage (.405), and fourth in the Big Ten. Redshirt freshman Faye Adelaja ranks 33rd nationally and third among Big Ten players with 1.31 blocks per set.

Striking A Perfect Balance
Six Boilermakers have posted nearly two kills per set in 2013, while seven players have led the team offensively in at least one match this year. Junior Val Nichol has led the team eight times. Sophomore Annie Drews has posted team-bests three times. Sophmore Sam Epenesa and redshirt senior Catherine Rebarchak have each led the team twice. Redshirt senior Katie Griffin, junior KiKi Jones and redshirt freshman Faye Adelaja each have posted team-high kill tallies once.

Operation 14K/Pack Mackey
The Boilermakers will take on Illinois in Mackey Arena on Oct. 11. This will mark Purdue's 16th match in Mackey in program history, including two exhibition contests. The Boilers are 9-4 in countable matches in the facility and at one time held the NCAA Attendance record, packing in 10,645 fans for the original Pack Mack event on Oct. 29, 1985.

The six largest crowds ever to watch Purdue volleyball at home have seen the Boilers play in Mackey Arena.

Small Screen Stars
The Boilermakers are set to make two television appearances in 2012, both originating from Belin Court in Holloway Gymnasium. Purdue's Oct. 12 match with Northwestern and Oct. 22 battle with Indiana will air live on the Big Ten Network. Purdue is 21-31 all-time in televised matches dating to 1995, including a 4-3 mark in 2012.