Match Notes 16: NCAA Regionals

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
No. 19 Purdue looks to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2010 when it faces off with Illinois on Friday.

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
No. 19 Purdue looks to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2010 when it faces off with Illinois on Friday.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Dec. 11, 2013

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The Slate
2013 NCAA Tournament
State Farm Center; Champaign, Ill.
Tournament Central - here

Friday, Dec. 13:
7 p.m. (EST) #19 Purdue vs. #18 Illinois
Video: ESPN3.com
PxP: Adam Amin; Color: Maria Taylor
Audio: purduesports.com

Saturday, Dec. 14:
6:30 p.m. (EST) Winner of Match 1 vs. Winner of Match 2
Video: ESPNU
PxP: Adam Amin; Color: Maria Taylor

The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: The No. 19 Boilermakers (22-11, 11-9 Big Ten) are making their fourth straight NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance and seventh in the last nine seasons. Purdue posted a 23-11 record, including a fifth place finish in Big Ten play and a Sweet 16 berth in 2012. Purdue's roster features 11 returning players, including five starters, from that team. Head coach Dave Shondell is in his 11th season with the team.

Last Time Out: The Boilermakers advanced to the Sweet 16 with an NCAA Tournament first round sweep of Central Arkansas and a four-set upset win over No. 4 Missouri in the second round in Columbia, Mo.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Catherine Rebarchak leads a group of six hitters averaging nearly two kills per set or more. Rebarchak is averaging 2.89 kills per set and also adds 0.72 blocks per set. Setter/outside hitter Val Nichol has put down 2.76 kills per set, while also dishing out 6.03 assists per set and managing 1.73 digs and 0.64 blocks per set. Outside hitters Sam Epenesa (2.32), Annie Drews (1.92) and Katie Griffin (1.74) and middle blocker KiKi Jones (2.10) round out the group. Jones is hitting at a team-best .397 clip and adds a team-leading 1.21 blocks per set and 25 aces to the team's tallies. Redshirt freshman middle blocker Faye Adelaja adds 1.08 blocks per set to go with 1.36 kills per stanza.

Defensively, libero Carly Cramer leads the way with 3.97 digs per set. Defensive specialists Hilliary Fox (2.61) and Amanda Neill (1.90), setter Rachel Davis (1.95), and Nichol (1.73) follow. Cramer has served up a team-best 32 aces, followed by Neill (31), Jones (25) and Nichol (20). As a team, Purdue is hitting .244 and has served up 144 aces.

Series Information Illinois (Illinois leads the series 42-37): 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. The teams split the 2013 contests with Purdue winning in Mackey Arena and the Illini winning in Champaign.

Florida State (Series is tied 4-4): Purdue won the first meeting in the series with the Seminoles taking a 2-0 victory in the AIAW National Tournament on Dec. 7, 1979, in Carbondale, Ill. FSU got its first win in 1981 and the teams split the next four meetings. The Seminoles took the lead in the series with a four-set win in the Sweet 16 in Minneapolis on Dec. 9, 2011. Purdue returned the favor with a five-set win in the NCAA Second Round in Tallahassee, Fla., on Dec. 1, 2012.

Wisconsin (Wisconsin leads the series 38-31): The teams split the first six contests of the series which began on Oct. 11, 1975. Purdue surged ahead in the series with 10 straight wins from 1981 to 1986. The Badgers won 11 of the next 19, but never more than two matches in a row. Wisconsin went ahead in the series with 17 straight wins from 1996 to 2004. The Boilermakers stopped the streak, taking two of the next three matches. The Badgers swept the 2006 and 2007 meetings, but Purdue swept the 2008 and 2009 contests. Wisconsin took the first meeting in 2010, but the Boilermakers won the next three, including the lone meetings in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, the Badgers won the Sept. 27 contest in Madison via sweep, and Purdue won a five-setter on Nov. 2 in West Lafayette.

What a Difference a Win Makes...
If the Boilermakers top No. 18 Illinois on Friday:

• They will move to 23-11 overall and extend their current win streak to seven matches.

• They will advance to the NCAA Tournament fourth round for the second time in program history (also 2010) and to the regional finals for the third time (also 1982).

• They will record their eighth win over a ranked foe in 2013 (also #12 Ohio State, #8 Nebraska, #17 Michigan, #15 Wisconsin, #6 Nebraska, #19 Michigan State, #4 Missouri), marking a program high. Previous high was seven in 2011.

• They will improve to 25-20 all-time when playing in the month of December, including a 1-1 mark when playing on Dec. 13.

Facts About the Fighting Illini
At First Glance: The No. 18 Illinois Fighting Illini (18-14, 12-8 Big Ten) are making their 21st NCAA Tournament appearance and 11th third round appearance. The Illini have played ranked opponents in 21 of their 32 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 advanced to the Sweet 16 with a sweep of Morehead State and a four-set win over No. 22 Marquette in the NCAA First and Second Rounds in Champaign last weekend.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitters Jocelynn Birks and Liz McMahon headline the Illinois offensive attack. Birks has put down 4.03 kills per set to go with 2.22 digs per set and 27 aces, while McMahon has added 3.15 kills per set, 0.81 blocks per set and 12 aces. Outside hitter Morganne Criswell follows with 2.42 kills per set, while middle blocker Maddie Mayers has chipped in 1.47 kills per set in addition to her team-leading 1.05 blocks per set.

Defensively, libero Jennifer Beltran leads the way with 4.28 digs per set. Setter Alexis Viliunas follows with 2.62 digs per set, while also dishing out 9.97 assists per set. Defensive specialist Danielle Davis (2.48), Birks (2.22) and outside hitter Ali Stark (1.85) also aid the defense. As a team, the Illini are hitting .213 and have served up 121 aces.

Scouting the Seminoles
At First Glance: The No. 16 Florida State Seminoles (26-7, 17-3 ACC) are making their 16th overall and fifth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance after finishing second in the ACC. FSU returns nine letterwinners, including five starters, from the 2011 squad which posted a 28-4 record and advanced to the NCAA Second Round. The Seminoles are coached by Chris Poole, who is in his sixth year with the team.

Last Time Out: Florida State advanced to the Sweet 16 with a sweep of Georgia Southern and a five-set win over No. 6 Florida in the NCAA First and Second rounds in Gainesville, Fla., last weekend.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Nichole Walch leads the FSU offense with 3.56 kills pers et, while hitting at a .277 clip and adding 2.32 digs per set and 26 aces. Right side hitters Elisa Walch (2.83) and Izzy Carmona (1.98) and middle blockers Ashley Neff (1.83) and Sarah Burrington (1.81) follow. Neff leads the team at the net with 1.39 blocks per set and boasts a team-best .367 hitting percentage, while Burrington adds 1.22 stuffs per stanza and is hitting at a .345 clip.

Defensively, libero Katie Mosher leads the way with 4.31 digs per set. Outside hitter Olvera Medic follws with 3.18 saves per set and 22 aces, while Nichol Walch adds 2.32 digs per set. Setter Sarah Wickstrom adds 1.87 digs per set, a team-best 31 aces and 6.79 assists per set. As a team, FSU is hitting .271 and has served up 144 aces.

Words About Wisconsin
At First Glance: The No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers (25-9, 12-8 Big Ten) are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007 and eighth regional appearance in program history. The Badgers return 12 letterwinners, including four starters, from the 2012 team that posted a 17-16 mark and finished ninth in the Big Ten. Wisconsin is coached by Kelly Sheffield, who is in his first year with the team. Purdue alumna Brittany Dildine (2003-06) is an assistant coach with the Badgers.

Last Time Out: The Badgers advanced to the Sweet 16 with sweeps of UW-Milwaukee and California in the NCAA First and Second Rounds in Madison, Wis., last weekend.

Statistically Speaking: Outside hitter Ellen Chapman headlines the UW offense, turning in 3.47 kills per set on a .259 hitting percentage with a team-best 29 aces. Outside hitter Deme Morales (2.65), middle blocker Dominique Thompson (2.52) and setter/outside hitter Courtney Thomas (2.44) also average more than two kills per set. Middle blocker Haleigh Nelson adds 1.80 kills per set, while hitting at a team-best .332 clip and leading the team with 1.12 blocks per set. Thompson adds 0.99 blocks per set and 25 aces.

Defensively, libero Annemarie Hickey leads the way with 3.75 digs per set. Setter Lauren Carlini (2.84), Thomas (2.75), Morales (2.71) and defensive specialist Taylor Morey (2.68) also aid the defense. As a team, Wisconsin is hitting .237 and has served up 157 aces. Six players have served up double-digit ace tallies.

Common Foes
Florida State took on three Big Ten foes in 2013 - Illinois, Ohio State and Michigan. The Seminoles played Illinois in the season opener, with the Illini winning 3-0. FSU also lost a four-set decision to No. 23 OSU on Sept. 6 and defeated No. 7 Michigan in five sets on Sept. 14.

The Seminoles also played Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame, who were on the Purdue schedule. FSU topped the Pitt 3-0 on Oct. 13, Syracuse 3-1 on Sept. 28 and Notre Dame twice via sweep (Oct. 20 and Nov. 17).

In non-conference action, Wisconsin and Purdue both took on Bowling Green and won via sweep.

Among The Nation
The Boilermakers rank 53rd nationally in hitting percentage (.244), and 55th in blocks per set with 2.54. Individually, junior KiKi Jones ranks 27th in hitting percentage (.397), and fourth in the Big Ten.

In The Record Book
Junior middle blocker KiKi Jones has earned a spot on the season Top 10 in block assists with 134 thus far in 2013. That tally ranks her fifth, just two out of fourth.

Jones also has put her name among the career Top 10 in block assists with 356 to rank seventh all-time. She also moved into the career top 10 in total blocks with 400 (9th).

Redshirt senior Rachel Davis ranks eighth on the career assists listing with 3,259, while redshirt senior libero Carly Cramer is second in career digs with 1,783.