Oct. 10, 2003
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -The Purdue volleyball team once again played the spoiler, knocking off No. 16 Michigan State 3-0 Friday night. The 33-31, 31-29, 30-22 win marked the second time this season that Purdue topped a top 20 opponent. The Boilermakers beat No. 18 Minnesota on Sept. 27. Purdue stands at 11-4 on the season, 4-1 in the Big Ten entering Saturday night's Fox Sports Chicago match with Michigan (11-5, 3-2 Big Ten).
With the win, Purdue improved to 11-4 on the season, marking the team's best start since going 12-3 to open the 1990 season. The victory was Purdue's first over Michigan State since Oct. 1, 1999, when Purdue swept the Spartans, and moved the Boilermakers' current home win streak to six, just one shy of the team's 7-0 home record to start the 1990 campaign.
Four Boilermakers surpassed the 10-kill mark, led by redshirt sophomore Leah Wischmeier's 13. Junior Kim Cappa tallied 12, while junior Kim McConaha and freshman Melanie Ukovich each posted 11. McConaha tied a career-high with 10 blocks, while Ukovich contributed a season-high eight to the Boilermaker effort. Junior Daren Poe led Purdue with 12 digs. The Boilermakers hit .313 to MSU's .220 and also out-blocked the Spartans 13.5 to six.
The Spartans jumped out to a seven-lead in game one, taking an 18-11 and forcing a Purdue timeout. The Boilermakers regrouped and sliced the lead to two at 21-19 on a pair of kills by freshman Katie Dobson and Melanie Ukovich. The Boilermakers chalked up seven of the next 11 points to turn the deficit into a one-point lead at 26-25. Michigan State regained the lead at 27-26 and set up its first game-point attempt at 29-27. Purdue would not go down easily, instead scoring three-straight points including two Ukovich kills to set up their own game-point attempt at 30-29. The Spartans tied it up at 30 and 31, but a Kim Cappa kill and a block by Ukovich and junior Kim McConaha, Purdue's seventh of the game, clinched the 33-31 win.
"I think we came out tentative in game one, because we didn't really think we would be able to compete with them," head coach Dave Shondell said. "As the match evolved, our players realized that if we played our game, we could stay in the match."
The Boilermakers fell behind again early in game two, but Purdue put together a 3-0 run after trailing 8-7 to take the lead. The Boilermakers held at least a one-point advantage until the Spartans tied it at 26 on a Mickey Davis service ace. Michigan State went on to take a 28-26 lead, but Purdue again remained unshaken, scoring three straight points, two on MSU errors to take a 29-28 advantage. The Spartans tied it at 29, but a pair of Cappa kills made it a 2-0 match with a 31-29 win.
Game three saw the Boilermakers on top to start things off. Purdue owned a 2-0 lead and despite a tie at two maintained the advantage until another tie-up at 10. The teams traded points leading to a tie at 13, but Purdue rattled off the next six points including three Ukovich kills and a service ace by Dobson to take a 19-13 advantage and force a MSU timeout. The Boilermakers made the lead seven with an ace by Ukovich to make it 21-14. The lead teetered between seven and five over the next few minutes, but Michigan State could not break through. Purdue led 28-22, then a MSU miscue set up match point for the Boilermakers. A block by McConaha and Ukovich sealed the upset win for Purdue with a 30-22 score.
"Our blocking was crucial tonight," Shondell said. "Slowing down (Kim) Schram, who is one of the best hitters in the conference, especially in game one where we had some big blocks was huge. It is certainly impressive to out-block one of the best blocking teams in the conference. No one had a real standout night, we just had all six players on the floor playing at a fairly high level, playing with confidence and following our gameplan."
The Boilermakers return to action at 8 p.m. Saturday when they take on the Wolverines. All children under 13 and all patrons who redeem their Penn State football ticket at the Athletic Ticket Office will receive free admission to the match which will air tape-delayed on Fox Sports Chicago. The match will be shown at 3 p.m central time on Sunday.