Match Notes 13: #25 Ohio State, #12 Penn State

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Trips to Columbus, Ohio, and University Park, Pa., make up the weekend slate for No. 8 Purdue volleyball.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Trips to Columbus, Ohio, and University Park, Pa., make up the weekend slate for No. 8 Purdue volleyball.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Nov. 16, 2011

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -

The Slate
Friday, Nov. 18: 7 p.m. vs. #25 Ohio State
Video: ohiostatebuckeyes.com; Radio: WSHY 1410 AM, purduesports.com: Live Stats: purduesports.com

Saturday, Nov. 12: 7 p.m. vs. #12 Penn State
Video: BTN.com; re-airs on BTN, 11/21 at noon; Radio: WSHY 1410 AM, purduesports.com; Live Stats: purduesports.com

The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: The eighth-ranked Boilermakers (24-3, 13-3 Big Ten) are off to their best start since the 1985 season (24-3), including their current nine match win streak, and boast their highest ranking since Nov. 14, 1983 (7th). Purdue returns 12 players, including five starters, from the 2010 team which went 24-11, defeated three Top 10 foes and advanced to the NCAA Regional Final. Head coach Dave Shondell is in his ninth season with the team.

Last Time Out: Purdue went 2-0 at home last week. The Boilermakers edged Iowa 3-2 on Thursday and swept #2 Nebraska in front of a standing-room only crowd on Saturday.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Ariel Turner paces the Boilermaker offense with 4.82 kills per set, while also adding 2.76 digs per set and 16 aces. Middle blocker Tiffany Fisher has put down 2.54 kills per set, while hitting .402, putting up 1.05 blocks per set and serving up a team-leading 24 aces. Outside hitters Val Nichol (2.23), Katie Griffin (1.93) and Catherine Rebarchak (1.87) follow. Middle blocker Anna Drewry chips in 1.32 kills per set and 1.00 blocks per set, while middle blocker Kierra Jones paces Purdue at the net with 1.31 blocks and adds 1.31 kills per set.

Defensively, Blair Bashen leads a group of five players with more than two digs per set. Bashen manages 4.04 saves per stanza, while serving up 21 aces. Turner (2.76), libero Carly Cramer (2.70), defensive specialist Emily Ehlers (2.66) and setter Rachel Davis (2.43) round out the group. Cramer adds 12 aces to the team's tally, which Davis also contributes 10.99 assists per set. Purdue is outhitting opponents .262 to .141 and outblocking foes 2.88 to 1.49.

Series Information
Ohio State (OSU leads the series 41-35): 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 nine of the last 11, including a 2010 season sweep and tha 3-1 win on Oct. 15.

Penn State (PSU leads the series 45-6): 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 two contests, including the Oct. 14 match in West Lafayette.

An Overview of Ohio State
At First Glance: The No. 25 Ohio State Buckeyes (17-12, 7-9 Big Ten) look to break a three-match losing streak this weekend. OSU returns eight letterwinners, including three starters, from the 2010 roster which posted a 24-12 record and finished 19th in the final AVCA rankings. Ohio State is coached by Geoff Carlston, who is in his fourth year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Buckeyes dropped a pair of road matches last weekend, falling to Northwestern in five sets and No. 7 Illinois in four sets.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Mari Hole, a transfer from UCLA, leads the OSU offense with 3.99 kills per set, while also adding 2.74 digs per set and 19 aces to the team's tallies. Outside hitter Emily Danks (3.43), outside hitter Kaitlyn Leary (2.47) and middle blocker Kelli Barhorst (2.13) follow. Barhorst is hitting a team-best .309 clip and adds 1.01 blocks per set. Danks has served up a team-leading 50 aces. Middle blocker Mariah Booth chips in 1.85 kills and a team-leading 1.04 blocks per set.

Defensively, libero Sarah Mignin leads the way, pulling up 4.33 digs per set to go with her 23 aces. Hole (2.74), defensive specialists Davionna DiSalvatore (1.97) and Alyssa Winner (1.78) follow. Setter Amanda Peterson dishes out 8.59 per set and manages 1.58 digs per set, while Taylor Sherwin has handed out 9.69 assists and pulled up 1.65 per set.

News About the Nittany Lions
At First Glance: The No. 12 Penn State Nittany Lions (11-5, 4-2), are in fourth place in the Big Ten, one game behind Purdue and Illinois. The Nittany Lions return 10 letterwinners, including five starters, from the 2010 roster which posted a 32-5 record and won its fourth straight national title. Penn State is coached by Russ Rose, who is in his 33rd year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Nittany Lions went 1-1 on the road last weekend, falling to No. 7 Illinois 3-0 and topping Northwestern 3-0.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Deja McClendon and middle blocker Ariel Scott pace the Nittany Lion offense with 3.59 and 3.49 kills per set respectively. Middle blocker Katie Slay follows with 2.11 kills per set, while outside hitter Aiyana Whitney adds 1.67 kills per set. Slay is hitting at a team-best .385 clip, while also putting up a team-leading 1.43 blocks per set. Outside hitter Nia Grant chips in 1.01 blocks per set.

Defensive specialists Ali Longo (3.08) and Kristin Carpenter (1.93) and setter Micha Hancock (2.31) account for the bulk of the PSU defense. McClendon also adds 1.91 digs per set. Hancock also dishes out 10.18 assists per set and has served up 80 aces. Longo has served up 24 aces.

What a Difference a Win Makes...
If the Boilermakers top #25 Ohio State on Friday ...

• They will post their sixth win over a ranked foe this season, tying the 1983 season for the most Top 25 wins in a season in program history since rankings began in 1982.

• They will move to 25-3, marking the program's best mark through 28 matches since 1985 (25-3).

• They will open Big Ten play 14-3, the best record through 17 conference matches since 1985 (16-1).

• They will move to 105-173 all-time in Big Ten Conference matches played on the road.

• They will improve to 181-153 all-time when playing in November, including an 8-5 mark when playing on Nov. 18.

Comparing the Teams

Stat.     Purdue       Ohio State    Penn State
Hit.%     .262         .240          .258
Kills     13.81        14.39         13.52
Assists   12.71        13.45         12.49
Aces      1.14         1.08          1.72
Blocks    2.88         2.39          2.76
Digs      15.44        15.45         13.94

Giant Slayers
Up until Oct. 8, 2010, Purdue had not beaten a Top 5 ranked opponent in 37 tries. On that date, the Boilermakers toppled No. 4 Penn State, snapping a 42-match skid against the Nittany Lions. Purdue followed that win up with a sweep of No. 1 Florida on Dec. 10 to earn their spot in the Elite Eight. The Boilermakers have added two more historic wins in 2011, taking down No. 5 Illinois on Nov. 2 and No. 2 Nebraska on Nov. 12. Under coach Dave Shondell, Purdue has defeated 28 ranked opponents, including five in 2011, and seven ranked in the Top 10.

Garnering National Recognition
The Boilermakers moved up two spots to No. 8 in this week's AVCA Coaches Poll, marking their highest listing since Nov. 14, 1983, when the team was ranked seventh. This is the second week Purdue has spent in the Top 10, its longest stay there since Oct. 2 and Oct. 9, 2006. This week's ranking is Purdue's 111th all time since the AVCA polls began in 1982, including preseason and postseason listings.

Among The Nation
The Boilermakers rank among the top 50 nationally in four statistical categories. With a 24-3 record, Purdue ranks fifth in winning percentage (.889). The Boilermakers also are ninth in blocks per set (2.88), 19th in hitting percentage (.262) and 44th in kills per set (13.81). The team also ranks 54th in assists per set (12.71).

Individually, junior outside hitter Ariel Turner ranks fourth in points per set (5.45) and fifth in kills per set (4.82). Senior middle blocker Tiffany Fisher ranks ninth nationally in hitting percentage with a .402 effort. Freshman middle Kierra Jones ranks 27th in blocks per set (1.31). Redshirt sophomore setter Rachel Davis ranks 35th in assists per set (10.99).

Dynamite Defense
Redshirt sophomore Rachel Davis continued Purdue's success on the awards stage, earning AVCA National Player of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors Nov. 14 and 15 for her efforts against Iowa and No. 2 Nebraska.

Davis guided the offensive attack to a pair of wins over Iowa and #2 Nebraska, dishing out 11.62 assists per set, while also contributing 2.88 digs and 0.75 blocks per set. The Kalamazoo, Mich., native helped four hitters to .300 or better hitting efficiencies and the team to a .287 effort on the weekend, including a season-best .410 effort in the sweep of Nebraska. The Boilermakers hit .300 or better in six of their eight sets on the weekend.

Against Iowa, the redshirt sophomore scooped up a career-high 21 digs, while rounding out her 10th double double of the season with 51 assists and four blocks. She set the Purdue offense to hitting efforts of over .300 in each of the final three sets in the 5-set comeback win, while capping Set 4 with a block assist of her own.

Against Nebraska, Davis guided the team to a season best .410 hitting effort and saw five different hitters manage a .250 or better effort, including four over .300. She helped the team to a stellar Set 2 efficiency of .600 featuring 18 kills on 30 swings with no errors. She also contributed offensively in the set putting down the final kill.

Rewriting the Record Books
The Boilermakers are making a dent in the season and career record books this year. Junior Ariel Turner ranks seventh in career hitting attempts (3,597) and is sixth on the season list (1323). She is 38 kills away from the season Top 10 and 82 out of the career Top 10.

Redshirt senior Blair Bashen ranks eighth in career digs (1166). Senior Tiffany Fisher needs just three more block assists to match Jaclyn Hart's 10th place spot of 307 on that career listing. Fisher is 52 total blocks out of the Top 10 in that category.

Talking Tickets
The Boilermakers set a new record for tickets sold for a match in Holloway Gymnasium against No. 2 Nebraska on Nov. 12. The Athletics Ticket Office reported a total of 2,961 tickets sold for the match with the Huskers, surpassing the previous facility record of 2,830 sold for the Sept. 10, 2011 match against Indiana. Purdue has sold out nine contests in 2011 and ranks 11th nationally in attendance average with 2,418 per match.

Tracking The Boilermakers
Follow Purdue volleyball on the web with streaming video, live audio and live statistics on purduesports.com. Live statistics are available via the GameTracker feature, while free audio broadcasts are available by clicking the listen links on the schedule page. Streaming video is available for a monthly fee via the Purdue All-Access Pass.

Be a part of Purdue volleyball online via the social networking services Facebook and Twitter. Join the Official Purdue Volleyball group on Facebook. Follow the team on twitter at twitter.com/PurdueVB or Boilermaker coach Dave Shondell's tweets at twitter.com/daveshondell.