Match Notes 12: at Northwestern, No. 25 Illinois

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
The No. 18 Boilermakers are looking to bounce back after a pair of road losses last weekend.

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
The No. 18 Boilermakers are looking to bounce back after a pair of road losses last weekend.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Nov. 13, 2013

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -

BIG TEN WEEK 8
Welsh Ryan Arena - Evanston, Ill. ~ Huff Hall - Champaign, Ill.

Friday, Nov. 15: 8 p.m. Purdue at Northwestern
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Saturday, Nov. 16: 8 p.m. Purdue at Illinois
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The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: The No. 18 Boilermakers (16-9, 7-7 Big Ten) wrap up a four-match road swing at Northwestern and Illinois 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 fell to No. 2 Penn State in three sets and to Ohio State in four sets to kick off a four-match road swing. The consecutive losses are the first for Purdue since late September.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Catherine Rebarchak leads a group of six hitters averaging nearly two kills per set or more. Rebarchak is averaging 3.00 kills per set and also adds 0.61 blocks per set. Setter/outside hitter Val Nichol has put down 2.69 kills per set, while also dishing out 6.03 assists per set and managing 1.81 digs and 0.61 blocks per set. Outside hitters Sam Epenesa (2.31), Annie Drews (1.91) and Katie Griffin (1.72) and middle blocker KiKi Jones (1.99) round out the group. Jones is hitting at a team-best .364 clip and adds a team-leading 1.18 blocks per set and 20 aces to the team's tallies. Redshirt freshman middle blocker Faye Adelaja adds 1.11 blocks per set to go with 1.40 kills per stanza.

Defensively, libero Carly Cramer leads the way with 4.01 digs per set. Defensive specialists Hilliary Fox (2.53) and Amanda Neill (1.93), setter Rachel Davis (2.02), and Nichol (1.81) follow. Cramer has served up a team-best 27 aces, followed by Neill (24), Jones (20) and Epenesa (11). As a team, Purdue is hitting .237 and has served up 109 aces.

Series Information
Northwestern (Purdue leads the series 49-26): 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 has taken five of the last six, save the Oct. 12 match, which the Wildcats won in five sets.

Illinois (Illinois leads the series 41-37): 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 both 2012 meetings in five sets and took the Oct. 11 meeting in four sets in Mackey Arena.

What a Difference a Win Makes...
If the Boilermakers top Northwestern on Friday:

• They will move to 17-9 overall and 8-7 in Big Ten play this season.

• They will snap a two-match losing streak.

• They will have won their third straight match in Evanston and move to 14-8 against the Wildcats in the Shondell era, including a 6-5 mark on the road.

• They will improve to 190-160 all-time when playing in the month of November, including a 10-8 mark when playing on Nov. 15.

Notes About Northwestern
At First Glance: The Northwestern Wildcats (14-12, 6-8 Big Ten) looks to snap a three-match losing streak when they face off with Purdue on Friday. The Wildcats return nine letterwinners, including five starters, from the 2012 team that posted a 16-15 mark and finished ninth in the Big Ten. Northwestern is coached by Keylor Chan, who is in his 14th year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Wildcats dropped a pair of home matches last weekend, falling to No. 13 Michigan State and No. 17 Michigan in four sets.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Stephanie Holthus leads the NU offense with 4.11 kills per set, while also contributing 2.73 digs per set and serving up 16 aces. Right side hitter Katie Dutchman (2.74) and outsides hitter Kayla Morin (2.26) and Yewande Akanbi (2.20) follow. Dutchman is hitting at a team-best .262 clip, while Morin adds 2.30 digs per set and 18 aces to the team tally. Middle blocker Savannah Paffen leads the Wildcats at the net with 0.91 blocks per set to go with her 1.74 kills per set.

Defensively, libero Caroline Neidospial leads the way with 4.39 digs per set and 20 aces. Holthus (2.73), Morin (2.30) and setter Caleigh Ryan (2.21) also add more than two digs per set. As a team, Northwestern is hitting .219 and has served up 103 aces.

Facts About the Fighting Illini
At First Glance: The No. 25 Illinois Fighting Illini (12-12, 8-6 Big Ten) bring a three-match win streak into their Friday match with Indiana. The Illini have played ranked opponents in 17 of their 24 matches in 2013. The Illinois roster includes five starters from the 2013 team that finished 14-16 and placed eighth in the Big Ten. Illinois is coached by Kevin Hambly, who is in his fourth season with the team.

Last Time Out: The Illini won a pair of home contests against No. 17 Michigan and No. 13 Michigan State last weekend, topping the Wolverines in five sets and the Spartans in four.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitters Jocelynn Birks and Liz McMahon headline the Illinois offensive attack. Birks has put down 3.93 kills per set to go with 2.23 digs per set and 14 aces, while McMahon has added 3.14 kills per set, 0.80 blocks per set and 12 aces. Outside hitter Morganne Criswell follows with 2.29 kills per set, while middle blocker Maddie Mayers has chipped in 1.55 kills per set in addition to her team-leading 1.10 blocks per set.

Defensively, libero Jennifer Beltran leads the way with 4.17 digs per set. Setter Alexis Viliunas follows with 2.53 digs per set, while also dishing out 9.85 assists per set. Defensive specialist Danielle Davis (2.46), Birks (2.23) and outside hitter Ali Stark (1.89) also aid the defense. As a team, the Illini are hitting .206 and have served up 89 aces.

Poll Position
The Boilermakers moved down four spots to No. 18 in the AVCA Coaches Poll after spending last week at No. 14. 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 44 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 140th 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 53rd nationally in blocks per set with 2.52. Individually, junior KiKi Jones ranks 45th in hitting percentage (.364), and fifth in the Big Ten.