Match Notes 11: at No. 2 Penn State, Ohio State

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM The 14th-ranked Boilermakers will face No. 2 Penn State and Ohio State on the road this weekend to mark Week 7 of Big Ten play.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
The 14th-ranked Boilermakers will face No. 2 Penn State and Ohio State on the road this weekend to mark Week 7 of Big Ten play.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Nov. 5, 2013

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The Slate
Big Ten Week 7
Rec Hall - University Park, Pa. ~ St. John Arena - Columbus, Ohio

Friday, Nov. 8: 7 p.m. Purdue at Penn State
Live Stats/Radio - purduesports.com

Saturday, Nov. 9: 7 p.m. Purdue at Ohio State
Live Stats/Radio/Video - purduesports.com

The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: The No. 14 Boilermakers (16-7, 7-5 Big Ten) kick off a four-match road swing at Penn State and Ohio State this weekend. Purdue posted a 23-11 record, including a fifth place finish in Big Ten play and a Sweet 16 berth. Purdue's roster features 11 returning players, including five starters, from that team as well as three redshirt freshmen and one true freshman. Head coach Dave Shondell is in his 11th season with the team.

Last Time Out: The Boilermakers split a pair of five set matches with No. 10 Minnesota and No. 15 Wisconsin at home last weekend. Purdue fell to the Gophers, but rebounded to beat the Badgers.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Catherine Rebarchak leads a group of six hitters averaging nearly two kills per set or more. Rebarchak is averaging 2.97 kills per set. Setter/outside hitter Val Nichol has put down 2.64 kills per set, while also dishing out 6.06 assists per set and managing 1.86 digs and 0.62 blocks per set. Outside hitters Sam Epenesa (2.32), Annie Drews (1.94) and Katie Griffin (1.81) and middle blocker KiKi Jones (2.02) round out the group. Jones is hitting at a team-best .365 clip and adds a team-leading 1.18 blocks per set and 16 aces to the team's tallies. Redshirt freshman middle blocker Faye Adelaja adds 1.12 blocks per set to go with 1.41 kills per stanza.

Defensively, libero Carly Cramer leads the way with 4.01 digs per set. Defensive specialists Hilliary Fox (2.41) and Amanda Neill (1.89), setter Rachel Davis (2.01), and Nichol (1.86) follow. Cramer has served up a team-best 27 aces, followed by Neill (24), Jones (16) and Epenesa (11). As a team, Purdue is hitting .241 and has served up 103 aces.

Series Information
Penn State (PSU leads the series 49-6): 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 six contests, including season sweeps in 2011 and 2012 and a five-set win on Oct. 5 in West Lafayette.

Ohio State (OSU leads the series 42-38): 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 11 of the last 13, including seven of the last eight. The Boilers won via sweep on Oct. 4 in West Lafayette.

What a Difference a Win Makes...
If the Boilermakers top No. 2 Penn State on Friday:

• They will move to 17-7 overall and 8-5 in Big Ten play this season.

• They will record their fifth win over a ranked foe in 2013 (also #12 Ohio State, #8 Nebraska, #17 Michigan, #15 Wisconsin).

• They will record their seventh win over a Top 10 foe since 2010. (#4 Penn State, #10 Illinois & #1 Florida in 2010; #5 Illinois & #2 Nebraska in 2011 and #9 Nebraska in 2013).

• They will have won their first match in University Park since Nov. 13, 1982, snapping a 24-match losing streak.

• They will post their second win over Penn State under Coach Shondell. (also a Oct. 8, 2010, five-set win in West Lafayette)

• They will improve to 190-158 all-time when playing in the month of November, including a 7-9 mark when playing on Nov. 8.

Prepping for Penn State
At First Glance: The No. 2 Penn State Nittany Lions (20-2, 11-1 Big Ten) bring an 11-match win streak into Friday's match with Purdue. The PSU roster includes four starters from the 2012 team that finished 33-3, won the Big Ten and advanced to the Final Four. Penn State is coached by Russ Rose, who is in his 35th season with the team.

Last Time Out: The Nittany Lions won a pair of road matches last weekend, topping No. 17 Michigan in four sets and sweeping No. 14 Michigan State. PSU has won 11-straight match since losing their conference opener on Sept. 27.

Statistically Speaking: Right side hitter Ariel Scott leads a group of four players averaging more than two kills per set. Scott has put down 3.23 kills per set, while outside hitters Deja McClendon (2.68), Megan Courtney (2.32), and middle blocker Katie Slay (2.08) follow. Outside hitters Paulina Prieto Cerame (1.95) and Nia Grant (1.83) also add nearly two kills per set. Slay is hitting at a team-best .408 clip, while also putting up a team-best 1.60 blocks per set. Grant has served up 18 aces and added 0.80 blocks per set. McClendon and Courtney also contribute defensively, turning in 2.74 and 2.18 digs per set.

Defensively, libero Dominique Gonzalez leads the way with 3.24 digs per set, followed by McClendon and Courtney. Setter Micha Hancock adds 1.94 digs per set, while also serving up a team-best 56 aces and dishing out 10.81 assists per set. As a team, PSU is hitting .320 and has served up 111 aces.

An Overview of Ohio State
At First Glance: The Ohio State Buckeyes (14-10, 2-10 Big Ten) have lost their last eight matches heading into Friday's match with Indiana. OSU returns nine letterwinners, including three starters, from the 2012 team that posted a 23-11 mark, finished fourth in the Big Ten and advanced to the NCAA second round. The Buckeyes are coached by Geoff Carlston, who is in his sixth year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Buckeyes fell to No. 14 Michigan State (3-0) and No. 17 Michigan (3-2) on the road last weekend. OSU has not won a Big Ten match since beating Indiana on Oct. 5.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Kaitlyn Leary leads the OSU offense with 4.82 kills per set, while adding 2.26 digs per set and 12 aces. Outside hitters Kylie Randall (2.48) and Erin Sekinger (2.14) and middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe (2.34) also add more than two kills per set. Sandbothe leads the team at the net with 1.02 blocks per set and adds 11 aces. Middle blocker Andrea Kacsits adds 1.41 kills per set.

Defensively, libero Davionna DiSalvatore leads the way with 3.22 digs per set. Defensive specialist Julianne Mandolfo (3.18), Leary (2.26), defensive specialist Valeria Leon (1.98) and setter Taylor Sherwin (1.86) follow. Leon has served up a team-best 19 aces, while Mandolfo has added 15. As a team, OSU is hitting .206 and has served up 97 aces.

Poll Position
The Boilermakers moved up two spots to No. 14 in the AVCA Coaches Poll after spending last week at No. 16. Purdue was ranked 16th in the 2013 Preseason AVCA poll after wrapping up 2012 at No. 15. Purdue was ranked in the Top 25 throughout the 2012 season and has been ranked in 42 consecutive polls dating to Nov. 29, 2010.

On August 27, 2012, 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 139th 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).

Among The Nation
The Boilermakers rank 54th nationally in blocks per set with 2.53. Individually, junior KiKi Jones ranks 52nd in hitting percentage (.376), and fifth in the Big Ten.

Nichol Posts Triple Double
Junior setter/outside hitter registered her first career triple double with 15 kills, 34 assists and 15 digs in the Nov. 2 match against No. 15 Wisconsin. The triple double is the first for a Boilermaker since Jaclyn Hart achieved the feat on Sept. 5, 2009, against UCF with 12 kills, 41 assists and 10 digs. The effort is the 16th by a Purdue player in program history and just the third by a setter. (also Hart and Renata Dargan (13 kills, 61 asssts, 13 digs vs. No. 8 Wisconsin on Sept. 30, 2005).

Striking A Perfect Balance
Six Boilermakers have posted nearly two kills per set in 2013, while seven players have led the team offensively in at least one match this year. Junior Val Nichol has led the team 12 times. Redshirt senior Catherine Rebarchak has posted a team-best tally seven times, while sophomore Sam Epenesa has led the team four times. Sophomore Annie Drews has been tops on the team three times, while redshirt senior Katie Griffin, junior KiKi Jones and redshirt freshman Faye Adelaja each have posted team-high kill tallies once.