Oct. 15, 2008
Complete Release in PDF Format
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The No. 21 Boilermaker volleyball team returns home for a pair of weekend matches with Wisconsin and Northwestern. Purdue will take on the No. 19 Badgers at 6 p.m. Friday as part of the Mackey Madness combination event with the men's and women's basketball teams. The Boilermakers will then take on the Wildcats on Saturday evening.
The Purdue volleyball team will host this free event in Mackey Arena in conjunction with a men's and women's basketball tip-off celebration on Oct. 17. Doors will open at 5 p.m. for the Boilermakers' 6 p.m. contest against nationally-ranked Wisconsin. The basketball celebration will follow the match. Seats are first come, first served, so be there early and stay late. Sections 1 and 2 of the lower arena will be reserved for volleyball season ticket holders. Please bring your ticket to the event and the sections will be held until the intermission.
The Boilermakers last played in Mackey Arena on Oct. 2, 2005, when they took on Northwestern in front of a crowd of 8,512 at the Pack Mackey event.
The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: The No. 21 Purdue Boilermakers are 14-4 on the season, including a 3-3 mark in the Big Ten. Purdue won all four of its non-conference tournament titles and has been ranked among the nation's Top 25 throughout 2008.
Last Time Out: The Boilermakers split their conference matches over the weekend, falling to then-No. 23 Michigan in four sets, but rebounding with a four-set win over Ohio State.
Statistically Speaking: Middle hitter Stephanie Lynch paces the Boilermaker offense with 3.53 kills on a team-best .420 hitting effort, while also leading the team at the net with 1.27 blocks per set. Outside hitter Danita Merlau is right behind with 3.25 kills per set. Middle hitter Kristen Arthurs tacks on 1.97 kills and helps out at the net with 1.02 blocks per set. In the backcourt, libero Kelli Miller racks up a team-best 4.30 digs per set. Merlau adds 2.17 digs per set, while setter Jaclyn Hart and defensive specialist Jessica Ullrich pull up 1.88 and 1.85 respectively. Hart also has dished out 9.64 assists per set, while adding 0.85 blocks per set. Purdue has served up 66 aces, paced by Miller's output of 16. Junior outside hitter Sam Ainsworth and Ullrich have added 14 and 13 respectively.
Wisconsin (UW leads the series 36-23): The Boilermakers won 13 of the first 16 meetings in the series which began on Oct. 11, 1975, including a string of 10 straight from 1981-1986. Wisconsin won 11 of the next 19, before beginning a 17-match win streak, which lasted from 1996-2004. Since then, the Boilermakers have won two matches, including a 3-1 win in Madison in 2005, Purdue's first road win against the Badgers since 1992. Wisconsin has taken the last four meetings.
Northwestern (Purdue leads the series 42-22): The series with the Wildcats began with a trio of Purdue wins beginning in 1977. The Boilermakers won seven straight from Oct. 17, 1981 to Oct. 15, 1983. The teams traded wins from 1987 to 1990, but Purdue took 13 of the next 14 including streaks of six and seven respectively. Northwestern took 10 of the next 16. The teams then split the 2005 meetings with each winning on its home court. The Boilermakers swept the 2006 and 2007 meetings.
Words About Wisconsin
At First Glance: The No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers (14-4, 4-2 Big Ten) enter the weekend on a four-match win streak. The Badgers are in their 10th year under head coach Pete Waite.
Last Time Out: Wisconsin topped Northwestern in four sets and swept Michigan State last week. The Badgers have won four straight since starting the conference season 0-2.
Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Brittany Dolgner leads the Badger offense, averaging 3.15 kills per set. Middle hitter Audra Jeffers (2.44), outside hitter Katherine Dykstra (2.38) and outside hitter Kaity DuPont (1.92) follow. Jeffers boasts a team-best .334 hitting effort and leads the team at the net with 1.11 blocks per set. Middle hitter Elle Ohlander adds 1.02 blocks per set. Libero Kim Kuzma paces the Wisconsin backcourt with 4.15 digs per set. Setter Janelle Gabrielsen chips in 2.03 digs per set to the team tally. UW has served up 73 aces, led by setter Nikki Kligsporn's 20.
News About Northwestern
At First Glance: The Northwestern Wildcats (6-11, 0-6 Big Ten) are searching for their first win since Sept. 19. The Wildcats, under ninth-year head coach Keylor Chan, have faced four ranked teams during their current seven-game skid.
Last Time Out: Northwestern dropped conference matches to then-No. 21 Wisconsin and Michigan State last weekend, falling to the Badgers in four sets and the Spartans in five.
Statistically Speaking: Middle hitter Chelsy Hyser, outside hitter Brittani Gray and middle hitter Sabel Moffett lead the Wildcat offense with 2.78, 2.66 and 2.66 kills per set respectively. Moffett is hitting at a .336 clip to lead the team, while also chalking up a team-best 1.04 blocks per set. Libero Kate Nobilio is average 4.81 digs per set to pace the NU defense. Setter Elyse Glab (2.06) and outside hitter Alexandra Ayers (2.00) also add more than two digs per set. Gray (15) leads a group of five players with double-digit aces tallies, helping NU to its total of 75.
Comparing the Teams
Statistic Purdue Wisconsin Northwestern
Hitting % .221 .257 .200
Kills 12.36 13.77 10.37
Assists 11.01 12.56 9.30
Aces 0.99 1.11 0.89
Blocks 2.60 2.57 1.75
Digs 13.49 12.98 11.07
What a Difference a Win Makes...
If the Boilermakers top No. 19 Wisconsin on Friday ...
They will post their first win over the Badgers since Nov. 5, 2005, snapping a four-match Wisconsin streak.
They will post their first win over Wisconsin in West Lafayette, since Nov. 26, 2004.
They will have topped their second Top 25 foe of the season. Purdue defeated #14 Kansas State the first week of the season.
Among the Nation
The Boilermakers rank among the nation's top 50 in several team and individual statistical categories. As a team, Purdue ranks 23rd in blocks per set (2.60). Individually, middle hitter Stephanie Lynch ranks 11th in hitting percentage (.420) and 24th in blocks per set (1.27).
Movin' On Up
Outside hitter Danita Merlau sits second in career attempts with 4,608, just 175 off the record. Merlau also ranks among the Top 10 in career kills with 1,536, a mark which ranks fourth.
Setter Jaclyn Hart moved into the Purdue Top 10 in career assists with 1,641.
Middle hitter Stephanie Lynch snapped Kim McConaha (2001-04)'s career record mark of 382 block assists against Tennessee State on August 30. She now owns the record with 450. Lynch surpassed the 500 total blocks milestone on Sept. 13 and ranks among the career top 10 in solo blocks (4th with 98) and total blocks (3rd with 548).
Can You Dig It?
Libero Kelli Miller became Purdue's career digs leader on Sept. 13 against Utah State, surpassing Becky Kanitz (1985-88)'s mark of 1,564. The overall record now stands at 1733. Miller began her senior season with a tally of 1,445 and inched her way to the record in the team's opening eight matches. The Muncie, Ind., native moved into second place on the Purdue career digs list on Nov. 4, 2007.
Rank And File
The Boilermakers fell three spots to No. 21 in this week's CSTV/AVCA Coaches' Poll. Purdue has been ranked among the top 25 throughout the 2008 season, beginning at No. 25 in the preseason poll. The team then moved up to No. 18 on Sept. 1 after knocking off then-No. 14 Kansas State. The Boilermakers continued to climb the rankings, landing at No. 15 on Sept. 8. The team's first loss dropped them to No. 20 in the Sept. 15 poll. However, the Boilermakers posted a 3-0 record the following week to move up a spot to No. 19. Purdue was ranked No. 18 in both the Sept. 29 and Oct. 6 polls.
The No. 15 ranking on Sept. 8 was the Boilermakers' highest since earning the No. 13 spot in the 2007 preseason listing. Since rankings began in 1982, Purdue has been ranked in 87 polls, including preseason and postseason listings.
Against the Top 25
The Boilermakers are slated to face four ranked teams in 2008, based on the preseason AVCA Top 25 poll, including No. 19 Wisconsin. During the Dave Shondell era, Purdue has beaten 14 Top 25 teams, including three Top 10 opponents. The Boilermakers posted wins over No. 10 Wisconsin and No. 9 Minnesota in 2005 and a victory over No. 9 Colorado State in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Purdue owns a 52-164 all-time record in matches against the Top 25.
The Boilermakers are slated to play in five nationally televised matches in 2008 beginning with an ESPN2 broadcast of its Oct. 10 match with Michigan, which aired tape-delayed on Sunday, Oct. 12.
Purdue will be featured on the Big Ten Network four times, including three at home on Belin Court. The Boilermakers' next TV match will be Oct. 22 at Illinois. The team's Nov. 1 rematch with Michigan, a Nov. 15 date with Penn State and a Nov. 19 contest with the Illini round out the television slate.
Tale of the Century
Head coach Dave Shondell recorded his 100th collegiate coaching victory when the Boilermakers swept Tennessee State, August 30. His team's have posted a 111-69 mark in his five plus years as the Boilermaker boss.
Dig For A Cure
On October 4, Coach Shondell and the Boilermaker volleyball team celebrated breast cancer awareness month with Dig for the Cure, a national initiative by college volleyball teams to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. The team raised $1,546 for the Indianapolis Affiliate of Komen for the Cure through dig pledges and a silent auction.
In 2007, the Purdue volleyball team raised more than $1,300 as fans pledged fund for each dig the team tallied during its Dig for a Cure match against Michigan State on October 13. The Boilermakers wore pink ribbons and fans received pink rally towels to show support.
Middle hitter Stephanie Lynch and libero Kelli Miller were named Big Ten Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week on Sept. 15 after leading the Boilermakers to their third straight tournament title and marking career milestones at the Utah Classic last weekend.
Lynch garnered offensive honors after earning MVP honors at the Utah Classic, racking up 4.1 kills, 1.4 blocks and 0.6 digs per set over the weekend. The senior totaled 19 stuffs in 14 sets to surpass the 500 blocks milestone, now with 510 in her career. The New Albany, Ind. native led the Boilermakers in kills in all three matches, recording 14 against St. Louis, 18 versus Utah State and a season-high 25 against Utah in the tournament's championship game. In all, Lynch tallied 57 total kills on a .533 hitting percentage, including a .564 mark against Utah in which she put down 10 hits in Set 4 alone. The award is the third of Lynch's career as she was also honored once as a junior (Nov. 5, 2007 Defensive) and once as a sophomore (Nov. 20, 2006).
On the defensive side, Miller became Purdue's all-time digs leader, tallying 76 saves over the weekend to total 1,602 in her career. The senior recorded 19 digs in the Boilermakers' opening match vs. Saint Louis before breaking the previous school record of 1,564 against Utah State with 23 saves. Miller tacked on 34 digs against Utah in the championship game of the Utah Classic, posting the Big Ten's third-highest single-match digs total this season. The effort was Miller's fifth career 30-dig effort, giving her three of the top five single-match totals in Purdue annals. On the weekend, Miller executed on 97 percent of her service reception opportunities and also recorded six assists and one ace in 14 sets. Behind Miller, the Boilermaker defense held opponents to just a .123 combined hitting percentage. The weekly honor is the fourth of Miller's career as she was recognized twice in 2006 (Sept. 4 and Oct. 9) and once last season (Oct. 22).
The Boilermakers have been well represented on the all-tournament teams at each of its non-conference ventures this season. At the season opening Mortar Board Premier, senior outside hitter Danita Merlau garnered MVP honors, while senior middle hitter Stephanie Lynch and senior libero Kelli Miller earned all-tournament team nods. At the Active Ankle Challenge, Miller took MVP honors, while Lynch and Merlau were named to the all-tournament team. At the Utah Classic, Lynch brought home MVP accolades, while setter Jaclyn Hart and Miller garnered all-tournament team nods. Lynch also was named MVP of the Dayton Flyer Invitational, while Miller and Merlau received all-tournament team recognition.
Lauds For Lynch
Senior middle hitter Stephanie Lynch was one of 12 players named to the preseason All-Big Ten team as announced by the conference on Aug. 14. The honor is the third straight for Lynch, who garnered honorable mention All-America, first team all-region and first team All-Big Ten acclaim in 2006 and 2007.
Lynch averaged 3.53 kills per game on a .318 hitting effort, while also posting 1.38 blocks per game in Purdue's 33 matches. In conference play, the New Albany, Ind., native tallied 3.24 kills per game on a team-best .289 hitting effort, while racking up 1.51 blocks per game. Lynch was a preseason All-Big Ten selection and also earned Defensive Player of the Week honors from the conference on Nov. 5.
The league's coaches have high expectations for the Boilermakers this season as Purdue was tabbed to finish fourth in the conference race in the Big Ten preseason poll. The Big Ten coaches chose defending national champion Penn State, which has won the conference title the past five seasons, to repeat as Big Ten champions, Minnesota was picked to finished second, followed by Wisconsin and Purdue.
In 2007, the Boilermakers finished tied for third with the Golden Gophers, marking their best conference placing since 1990.
Fans will notice five new faces on the court for the Boilermakers in 2008. Junior setter/outside hitter Sam Ainsworth (Stouffville, Ontario) joined the team in January after transferring from Syracuse. Four freshmen also add depth to the Purdue roster. Middle hitters Laura Boldig (Mattoon, Ill.) and Tiffany Fisher (Topeka, Ind.) could see time at the net, while Emily Ehlers (Mishawaka, Ind.) and Amanda Miller (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) look to make their marks in the back court.
After completing her volleyball and basketball playing careers, former Boilermaker Brittany Dildine took on a new role this spring as the team's volunteer assistant coach. Dildine, who head coach Dave Shondell has credited as being a major part of the program's turn around, ranks fifth on Purdue's all-time career digs list with 1,243. She averaged 2.67 digs per game, while also tallying 142 aces and 226 kills in her time in the Old Gold and Black.
Katie McGuine, a native of Rochester, Minn., is in her first year as Director of Operations for the Boilermaker volleyball team after serving in the same position at the University of Iowa for the last two years.