Purdue at Minnesota
Wednesday, Oct. 11 / 7 p.m. ET
Maturi Pavilion / Minneapolis, Minnesota
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Purdue vs. Nebraska
Saturday, Oct. 14 / 7 p.m. ET
Mackey Arena / West Lafayette, Indiana
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - No. 16 Purdue (15-2, 5-1 B1G) is about to take a streak of four straight three-set victories into the toughest part of its schedule, beginning with contests against No. 6 Minnesota (15-2, 4-2 B1G) and No. 4 Nebraska (13-3, 6-0 B1G). The Boilermakers square off with the Golden Gophers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. ET prior to hosting the Cornhuskers in Mackey Arena on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m.
Coming off a pair of sweeps over Illinois and Northwestern, the Boilermakers have now won 13 of its 15 victories in three sets. Purdue is playing the best volleyball it has played all season as its hitting percentage of .349 ranks second in the nation and its 14.75 kills per set average ranks fifth in the country. Much of the success on offense is due to the setting of Ashley Evans who has fueled Purdue's 13.61 assists per set average that ranks 11th in the country. Evans on her own is averaging 11.68 assists per set, ranking her ninth in the country. Her assists per set average is second in the conference and she's been the best setter in the Big Ten since conference play began as Evans is averaging 12.26 assists per set through the first six Big Ten matches.
Fortunately for Evans, she has a number of options to choose from on each set. Danielle Cuttino is hitting .373 this season with a 4.24 kills per set average. Her hitting percentage is the best among pin hitters in the conference and her kills per set average is good for second in the Big Ten. Cuttino is averaging 4.84 kills per set with 92 kills in Big Ten play to lead the conference in both categories.
After a big weekend in which Sherridan Atkinson hit .529 with 19 kills, the redshirt junior's .356 hitting percentage this season is the conferences second best hitting percentage by a pin hitter. Since conference play began, Atkinson has hit .413 with 63 kills to earn the Big Ten's fourth best hitting percentage in league competition.
Blake Mohler has swung a hot hand of late as well. Since the loss to Ohio State, she's registered 35 kills to hit .444 and 18 blocks to average 1.50 blocks per set. Mohler currently ranks fourth in the conference with a 1.26 blocks per set average in Big Ten play. Shavona Cuttino leads Purdue this season with a .403 hitting percentage and 1.02 blocks per set. Purdue has averaged 2.63 blocks per set in conference play, ranking it third in the league.
Azariah Stahl continues to do it all for Purdue as she is hitting .280 with the team's third most kills (143), 17 aces, 135 digs and 20 blocks. However she has elevated her serving and blocking against Big Ten opponents as nine of her aces and 11 of her blocks have come in conference play. The nine service aces against Big Ten opponents rank her third in the conference. Jena Otec and Evans have also been major contributors in Purdue's serving efforts as they each have six service aces in Big Ten matches. The team's 1.53 assists per set average in Big Ten competition ranks second in the conference.
Brooke Peters continues to thrive defensively at libero for the Boilermakers at the junior out of Avon, Indiana, has registered 12 straight matches with 10 digs or more and is averaging 3.77 digs per set this season.
Purdue's match in Mackey Arena will be the 19th time the Boilermakers have played in the 14,264-seat venue including two exhibition contests. The Boilermakers are 13-4 all-time in the facility. This year's match in Mackey Arena is free for students to attend. All students are asked to enter through the southwest entrance of the arena.