Game Notes 11: at Illinois, Northwestern

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Senior defensive specialist Courtney Gosewisch will lead the Boilermakers into Illinois to face her home state teams for the final time this week.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Senior defensive specialist Courtney Gosewisch will lead the Boilermakers into Illinois to face her home state teams for the final time this week.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Oct. 30, 2012

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The Slate
Wednesday, Oct. 31 - 8 p.m. ET at Illinois
TV: Live on Big Ten Network;
Play by Play - Mike Wolf , Color - Liz Tortorello-Nelson
Live Stats and Radio: purduesports.com

Saturday, Nov. 3 - 8 p.m. ET at Northwestern
Video: Live on BTN.com (Purdue All-Access)
Live Stats and Radio: purduesports.com

The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: The No. 22 Boilermakers (16-7, 7-5 Big Ten) take a two-match win streak into Wednesday's match with Illinois. 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 swept Michigan and won a five-set match with Michigan State last weekend on Belin Court.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Ariel Turner paces the Boilermakers with 4.28 kills and 2.67 digs per set, while also serving up a team-leading 22 aces. Outside hitters Catherine Rebarchak (2.13) and Annie Drews (2.05) also add more than two kills per set, while middle blockers Kiki Jones (1.86) and Anna Drewry (1.82) and outside hitter Val Nichol (1.54) also contribute offensively. Jones is hitting a team-best .383 clip.

Defensively, libero Carly Cramer has posted 4.13 digs per set, while Turner (2.67), defensive specialist Amanda Neill (2.22), setter Rachel Davis (2.11) and defensive specialist Hilliary Fox (1.94) follow. Cramer also has served up 21 aces, while defensive specialist Amanda Miller has added 12. At the net, middle blockers Drewry and Jones pace the team with 1.03 and 0.94 stuffs per set. Jones also adds 11 aces to the team tally. As a team, Purdue is hitting .245 and has served up 92 aces.

Series Information
Illinois (Illinois leads the series 41-35): 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 a 3-2 decision on Sept. 29.

Northwestern (Purdue leads the series 48-25): 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 took the final contest in 2010 and swept the 2011 meetings. The Boilermakers took the Wildcats in four sets on Sept. 28.

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

• They will move to 17-7 on the season and 8-5 in Big Ten play and extend their current win streak to three matches.

• They will have swept the season series from the Fighting Illini for the first time since 2006 and third time under Coach Shondell (also 2004).

• They will have beaten the Illini in Champaign for the first time since Oct. 8, 2007.

• They will level the series record at 10-10 under Shondell, including a 6-4 mark at home and 4-6 mark on the road against the Fighting Illini over the last 10 seasons.

• They will move to 22-30 all-time in televised matches, including a 3-3 mark in 2012.

• They will move to 260-197-1 all-time in the month of October, including a 10-9 mark on Oct. 31.

Facts about the Fighting Illini
At First Glance: The Illinois Fighting Illini (10-12, 4-8 Big Ten) bring a three-match losing streak into Wednesday's match. Illinois returns nine letterwinners, including five starters from the 2011 team which went 32-5, advanced to the NCAA Championship game and finished second in the Big Ten. Illinois is coached by Kevin Hambly, who is in his fourth year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Illini lost a four-game match to Wisconsin and was swept by No. 10 Minnesota on the road.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Jocelynn Birks leads the Illinois offense with 4.01 kills per set, while also serving up a team-best 18 aces. Outside hitters Liz McMahon (2.88) and Morganne Criswell (1.77) and middle blocker Anna Dorn (1.74) follow. Dorn is hitting at a team-best .392 clip and adds 1.02 blocks per set.

Defensively, libero Jennifer Beltran leads the way with 4.00 digs per set. Freshman setter Alexis Viliunas (2.33), outside hitter Ali Stark (2.06) and Birks (2.00) follow. Viliunas saw her first action on October 13. Redshirt senior Annie Luhrsen has dished out 10.35 assists per set. Middle blocker Erin Johnson leads the team with 1.19 blocks per set. Illinois is hitting .250 and has tallied 89 aces.

News about Northwestern
At First Glance: The Northwestern Wildcats (15-8, 4-8 Big Ten) have split their last six Big Ten matches after beginning conference play at 1-5. Northwestern returns eight letterwinners, including six starters, from the 2011 squad which posted a 16-15 record and 10th place Big Ten finish. The Wildcats are coached by Keylor Chan, who is in his 13th year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Wildcats fell to No. 10 Minnesota 3-0, but won a five-setter against Wisconsin on the road.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Stephanie Holthus headlines the Wildcat offense with 4.21 kills per set, while also adding 3.07 digs per set and 14 aces to the team's tallies. Outside hitter Yewane Akanbi (2.54) and middle blocker Katie Dutchman (2.41) also add more than two kills per set, while middle blocker Savannah Paffen adds 1.61 kills per set and 20 aces. Dutchman boasts a team-best .382 hitting percentage and also paces the team with 26 aces and 0.98 blocks per set.

Setter Madalyn Shalter leads the way defensively with 3.20 digs per set to go with her 11.52 assist per set average and 17 aces. Libero Julie Chin (3.16), Holthus (3.07), and outside hitter Monica McGreal (2.32) also chip in more than two digs per set. Northwestern is hitting .235 as a team and has served up 110 aces, including 10 or more by six different players.

Among The Nation
The Boilermakers rank among the nation's top 50 in hitting percentage (49th with .245) and rank 57th in winning percentage (.696). Individually, Ariel Turner ranks 20th in points per set (4.96) and 26th in kills per set (4.28), while Kiki Jones ranks 25th in hitting percentage (.383).

Poll Position
The Boilermakers moved down one spot to No. 22 in the AVCA Coaches Poll despite winning both of their matches, after spending last week at No. 21.

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 125th 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 (eight straight polls: Sept. 26 to Nov. 28).

Going The Distance
The Boilermakers have won 12 straight five-set matches dating to an Oct. 29, 2010, win at Ohio State. Purdue went 4-3 in long matches in 2010, but won its last three, beginning against the Buckeyes. The team went 4-0 in five setters in 2011. Purdue is 5-0 in five-set matches in 2012. The Boilermakers are 41-28 all-time in five-setters under head coach Dave Shondell.

Turner Named Senior CLASS Award Finalist
A leader on the court and in the classroom, senior outside hitter Ariel Turner was named as one of 10 finalists for the 2012 Senior CLASS Award, which honors student-athletes for their achievements in community, classroom, character and competition. The winner will be decided by media members and Division I coaches (2/3) as well as a fan vote component (1/3), and will be announced at the NCAA Final Four in Louisville. Fans can vote once a day per device at www.seniorclassaward.com.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their community.

The 2012 candidate class of 30 included 16 AVCA All-Americans from last season, including Turner, who garnered first team accolades. Turner was the lone member of the candidate pool that received Capital One Academic All-America honors in 2011, although 24 of them boasted a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better.