Game Notes: at No. 1 Penn State, No. 19 Ohio State

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Sophomore Kiki Jones and the Boilermakers look to knock off No. 1 Penn State on Friday in front of a national audience on BTN.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Sophomore Kiki Jones and the Boilermakers look to knock off No. 1 Penn State on Friday in front of a national audience on BTN.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Oct. 10, 2012

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -

The Slate
Friday, Oct. 12 - 8 p.m. at #1 Penn State
TV: Big Ten Network, LIVE.
Mike Wolf (PbP), Audrey Flaugh (Color)
Radio & Live Stats: purduesports.com

Saturday, Oct. 13 - 7 p.m. at #19 Ohio State
Video: BTN.com
Radio & Live Stats: purduesports.com

The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: The No. 17 Boilermakers (13-4, 4-2 Big Ten) are looking to get back on the winning track as they hit the road this weekend. Purdue returns 12 players, including five starters, from the 2011 team which advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. Head coach Dave Shondell is in his 10th season with the team, which was picked third in the 2012 Big Ten preseason poll.

Last Time Out: The Boilermakers dropped their first conference matches of the season, falling to No. 4 Nebraska and Iowa last weekend.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Ariel Turner paces the Boilermakers with 4.27 kills and 2.73 digs per set, while also serving up a team-leading 20 aces. Outside hitters Catherine Rebarchak (2.30) and Annie Drews (2.17) also add more than two kills per set, while middle blocker Anna Drewry (1.89), middle blocker Kiki Jones (1.81) and outside hitter Val Nichol (1.57) also contribute offensively. Jones is hitting a team-best .371 clip, while three others are hitting .250 or better.

Defensively, libero Carly Cramer has posted 4.14 digs per set, while Turner (2.73), defensive specialist Amanda Neill (2.60), setter Rachel Davis (2.27) and defensive specialist Hilliary Fox (1.82) follow. Cramer also has served up 17 aces and Miller has added 12. At the net, middle blockers Kaisley Fisher, Drewry and Jones pace the team with 1.25, 1.02 and 0.89 stuffs per set. Jones also adds 11 aces to the team tally. As a team, Purdue is hitting .259 and has served up 78 aces.

Series Information
Penn State (PSU leads the series 46-6): The Boilermakers won five of the first six contests with the Nittany Lions in the series which began on Nov. 7, 1981. Since 1988, Penn State had won 42 straight, including 36 in 3-0 sweeps, before Purdue took a five-set decision on Oct 8, 2010. The win marked the first time the Boilermakers had taken two sets from the Nittany Lions since a 2005 meeting in University Park and the first Purdue win over PSU since Dec. 4, 1987. PSU has won the last three contests, including a season sweep in 2012. The last Purdue win in University Park was in 1982.

Ohio State (OSU leads the series 41-36): The teams split the first 14 matches in the series which began on Oct. 31, 1975. The last of those contests kicked off an eight-match streak for the Boilermakers. Purdue would go on to win 17 of the next 20 in the series, including the eight straight victories from 1980 to 1983. Ohio State dominated the series over the next 15 years, posting 29 wins in 32 attempts from 1990 to 2005. One of the misses was a four-set Purdue win in 2003, which marked the Boilermakers' first victory in Columbus since 1988. Purdue has won 10 of the last 12, including the last five in a row.

What a Difference a Win Makes...
If the Boilermakers top No. 1 Penn State on Friday ...

• They will move to 14-4 on the season and 5-2 in Big Ten play.

• They will have beaten the Nittany Lions in University Park for the first time since Nov. 13, 1982, snapping a PSU 23-match home win streak in the series.

• They will have beaten a Top 5 ranked opponent for the fifth time since 2010, beginning with a win over then No. 4 ranked Penn State on Oct. 8.

• They will have defeated their ninth Top 10 foe under Coach Shondell.

• They will have beaten their fourth ranked foe of the season (also Louisville, Michigan State, Illinois).

• They will improve to 257-194-1 all-time when playing in the month of October, including a 7-4 mark when playing on October 5.

Prepping For Penn State
At First Glance: The No. 1 Penn State Nittany Lions (16-1, 6-0 Big Ten) bring a 10-match win streak into Friday's match, including a 6-0 Big Ten mark, tops in the league. Penn State returns 13 letterwinners, including six starters, from the 2011 squad which posted a 25-8 record, finished second in the Big Ten and advanced to the Sweet 16. The Nittany Lions are coached by Russ Rose, who is in his 34th year with the team.

Last Time Out: PSU went 2-0 on the road last weekend, sweeping Northwestern and topping No. 21 Illinois in five sets.

Statistically Speaking: Right side hitter Ariel Scott and outside hitter Deja McClendon lead the Nittany Lion offense with 3.68 and 3.31 kills per set respectively, while middle blocker Katie Slay adds 2.55 kills per set. Slay is hitting at a team-best .465 clip and has put up a team-leading 1.39 blocks per set. McClendon adds 2.69 digs per set, while Scott chips in 0.81 blocks per set. Setter Micha Hancock dishes out 11.66 assists per set and has served up a team-best 34 aces, while also adding 2.20 digs and 0.68 blocks per set to the team's tallies.

Defensively, defensive specialist Dominique Gonzalez paces the team with 3.29 digs per set, followed by McClendon (2.69), Hancock (2.20) and setter/outside hitter Megan Courtney (2.17). As a team, PSU is hitting .313 and has served up 88 aces.

An Overview of Ohio State
At First Glance: The No. 19 Ohio State Buckeyes (13-5, 4-2 Big Ten) take a three-match losing streak into their Friday match with Indiana. OSU returns 10 letterwinners, including five starters from the 2011 team which went 21-15, finished seventh in the Big Ten and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. Ohio State is coached by Geoff Carlston, who is in his fifth year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Buckeyes topped No. 21 Illinois in five sets and swept Northwestern last weekend.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Mari Hole headlines the Buckeye offense, registering 4.06 kills per set, while also adding 2.38 digs per set and 11 aces. Outside hitters Emily Danks (2.84), and Kaitlyn Leary (2.38) and middle blocker Mariah Booth (2.06) follow. Booth is hitting at a .316 clip, while Danks has served up 28 aces.

Defensively, libero Davionna DiSalvatore leads the way with 3.67 digs per set, followed by Hole (2.38). Setter Amanda Peterson adds 1.94 digs and 8.65 assists per set. Middle blocker Andrea Kacsits posts a team-best 0.90 blocks per set. As a team, OSU is hitting .258 and has served up 83 aces.

Among The Nation
The Boilermakers rank among the nation's top 50 in hitting percentage (30th with .259) and winning percentage (38th with .765). Individually, Ariel Turner ranks 24th in points per set (4.93) and 25th in kills per set (4.27), while Kiki Jones ranks 44th in hitting percentage (.371).

Poll Position
The Boilermakers fell five spots to No. 17 in this week's AVCA Coaches Poll. Last week, Purdue was ranked 12th.

On August 27, 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 122nd 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 (eights straight polls: Sept. 26 to Nov. 28).