Boilers VB Sweeps Northwestern
EVANSTON, Ill. – Sherridan Atkinson led No. 18 Purdue (15-2, 5-1 B1G) to its second sweep of Northwestern (12-6, 2-4 B1G) this season as the Boilermakers defeated the Wildcats 27-25, 25-13, 25-23. The victory marks Purdue’s fourth straight win and moves the Boilermakers to eighth in the nation’s RPI rankings.
“It’s very hard to come back in a Big Ten match and win after being down 20-12,” said head coach Dave Shondell. “But we just persevered. I thought Azariah (Stahl) made some great defensive plays, the hitters started to roll and (Ashley) Evans made great choices. Then it just became a combustion of everybody doing their job at a high level and before you know it, we stormed back and stole one from them which actually changed the whole match. That was fantastic, but it was started by defense.”
The Wildcats came out playing some of the best volleyball they’ve played all season long, hitting .846 with 12 kills to take a 20-12 lead over the Boilermakers. However, a thunderous kill by Azariah Stahl, three blocks, and an ace by Brooke Peters set the tone for the rest of the first set. Purdue hit .500 with six kills and five blocks while holding Northwestern to three kills and a -.444 hitting percentage in order to pull off the 27-25 victory.
From that point on, Purdue’s offense took control of the match as Boilermakers hit .549 the rest of the way to close out the match. Ashley Evans had Northwestern off balance most of contest as she initially set her middles to .588 hitting percentage with 13 kills in the first two sets, opening the door for Atkinson and Danielle Cuttino to hit .537 with 25 kills on the pins. Evans finished the match with 40 assists on Purdue’s 50 kills, fueling a .430 hitting percentage for the match. She also registered three kills, a service ace, eight digs and a block.
Atkinson finished with 13 kills and just one error on 18 swings to hit .667 in the contest while Cuttino hit .435 with 12 kills, two errors and 23 attempts. Both, Cuttino and Atkinson, finished with three blocks. Stahl seemed to come up with a big play when Purdue needed it the most no matter where she was on the court as the six-rotation outside hitter finished with seven kills, two service aces, three digs and three blocks.
Evans connected with Shavona Cuttino for four kills on four swings while Blake Mohler registered 11 kills and a team-leading six blocks. Brooke Peters was exceptional on defense, registering 15 digs to go along with two service aces while Carissa Damler supported the efforts in the back row with six digs.
Purdue is about to enter the toughest part of its schedule as its next three matches are against No. 6 Minnesota, No. 4 Nebraska and No. 3 Penn State. The Boilermakers wrap up a four-match stretch of road contests Wednesday, Oct. 11, with Minnesota at 7 p.m. ET before they come home to West Lafayette, Indiana, for a 7 p.m. match against Nebraska in Mackey Arena.