Opening Round Sweep
December 3, 2011Eastern Indiana Sports
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The fifth-seeded Boilermaker volleyball team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in the last eight seasons with a 3-0 sweep of Morehead State in front of a sold-out crowd of 2,294 at Belin Court Friday night. Purdue won the match 25-16, 25-15, 25-23.
Junior Ariel Turner led the way offensively with 13 kills, while also adding 12 digs and four blocks. Freshman Val Nichol sparked the Boilermakers with 11 kills, while hitting at a .474 clip, while senior Tiffany Fisher (6) and freshman Kierra Jones (5) also contributed offensively.
Jones led Purdue at the net with seven blocks, while Turner added four, as Purdue posted 12.5 stuffs to MSU's four. Redshirt senior Blair Bashen pulled up a match-high 13 digs, followed by Turner (12) and senior Emily Ehlers (7). Purdue hit .349, a team NCAA record mark, while holding the Eagles to a .097 effort.
Purdue outblocked Morehead State 7.5 to 2 en route to a 25-16 win in Set 1. Jones was in on four of the stuffs, while Davis and Turner each chipped in three. Nichol led the way offensively with four kills and Turner added three. Purdue jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead, but MSU battled back to go up 6-5. The Boilermakers scored four straight to vault ahead, including two kills and a block assist by Nichol. The Eagles cut the margin to one 10-9, but that just sparked a 7-1 Purdue rally and the Boilermakers never looked back. Turner managed two kills and two blocks in the stretch. The teams split the next 12 points, including two more Boilermaker stuffs, making it 23-16, but an MSU service error and a kill by Jones wrapped up the set for Purdue.
A balanced offensive attack and tough net defense helped Purdue to a 25-15 Set 2 win. Turner, Fisher and Nichol each downed four kills as the Boilermakers hit .357. Purdue's four blocks helped hold MSU to a -.065 effort. Morehead State had the early advantage, taking three of the first five points, but Purdue turned things around with an 8-3 run. An ace by Fisher and a couple of blocks helped the Boilermakers to the 10-6 lead. The Eagles pulled with two five times, last at 17-15, before Purdue rattled off eight straight points to clinch the set. A Nichol kill started the rally. The freshman added three more down the stretch which also saw Jones and redshirt sophomore Catherine Rebarchak combine on a pair of blocks, including the set-ender.
Purdue carried the momentum into the final set, scoring six of the first seven points, but had to hold off a late MSU charge en route to the 25-23 win. Turner turned it on with three kills in the Boilermakers' first six points, then Fisher and redshirt sophomore setter Rachel Davis got in the action as Purdue pushed ahead 12-6. A couple of Morehead State miscues and putaways by Jones, Turner and Fisher made it a seven point game at 19-12. The Eagles chipped the margin down to four at 19-15 forcing a Purdue timeout. The Boilermakers scored four of the next seven, including an ace by Fisher, to make it 23-18, but Morehead would not go quietly. MSU scored four straight points, two on kills and two on Purdue miscues to tighten the score at 23-22, prompting another Boilermaker timeout. A kill by Turner brought on an MSU pause. A net violation prolonged the match before Turner tallied the final putaway.
The Boilermakers (28-4) will face off with Louisville (24-8) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday live on the Big Ten Network with a Sweet 16 berth on the line. Nearly 250 tickets for the event will be released at 6 p.m. Saturday when the athletics ticket office opens for business. The match will air live on Big Ten Network, but also will be available on BTN2Go.
Purdue and Louisville met earlier this season in the Big Ten/Big East Challenge in Champaign, Ill., with the Boilermakers taking a 3-2 decision. Purdue knocked Louisville out of the 2010 NCAA Tournament with a 3-1 second round victory and also downed the Cardinals 3-2 in the first round in 2008.