Martin Helps Purdue Northwest Volleyball Net Historic Victory in Florida
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Behind 22 kills by senior outside hitter Gabrielle Martin (DeMotte, Ind./Kankakee Valley), the Purdue University Northwest volleyball team wrapped up its first day at the Flagler College Invite in St. Augustine, Fla., with a 1-1 record defeating Shippensburg University (Pa.) in five sets followed by a loss to host (RV) Flagler in three sets. The victory against Shippensburg marked the first victory for any PNW team against a NCAA Division II foe since the program moved to Division II competition for 2017-18.
Purdue Northwest returns to action tomorrow afternoon, when they face off with Florida Tech at 1 p.m. (CT), followed by a match with Shippensburg at 3:30 p.m. (CT).
Match 1: PNW 3, Shippensburg 2
The Pride used a high-energy start in their first match of the season to gain momentum in the opening set, taking a 9-4 advantage after a service ace from Carissa Jones (Whiting, Ind./Bishop Noll). PNW would extend its lead later in the set, thanks to a kill from Martin, which gave the Pride a 16-10 lead.
The Black and Gold would capitalize on some mistakes from the Raiders to take the opening set 25-18.
Shippensburg bounced back with a 25-19 win in the second set and evened the match at 1-1. PNW answered back in the third set, in a seesaw battle, which had the set tied at 18-18. The Pride went on a 3-point run to take a 21-18 advantage before finishing strong in the final moments to take a third-set victory 25-22.
The Raiders would send the match to five sets, after winning the fourth set 25-18. In the final set, both teams were even at 4-4, before the Pride took a 6-4 advantage thanks to some miscues by the Raiders. PNW would tack on a few more points to take a 10-6 lead, before going up 13-9 late in the set.
The Pride finished strong, winning 15-10 and earning their first-ever victory in NCAA Division II.
Martin led the Pride with 13 kills and three service aces, while Morgan Spencer (Oswego, Ill./Aurora Central Catholic) finished with nine kills. Jones recorded a .389 attack percentage with eight kills and Brooke Ahrens (Covington, Ind./Covington) led the Pride with 34 assists.
Match 2: Flagler 3, PNW 0
After trailing in the opening set 5-2, the Black and Gold fought back to even the score at 10-10 thanks to a kill from Kayla Elsea (Palmyra, Ind./Crawford County). The Pride went on a 6-0 run midway through the set, but the Saints evened the score at 20 points apiece.
Flagler eventually moved on to take the first set 25-23. Both teams were even at six points apiece early in the second set, but the Saints went on a run midway through set two and came away with the 25-13 win.
In the third set, the Pride jumped out to a 3-0 advantage, before the Saints answered with three points of their own to even the set at 3-3. Back-to-back service aces from Eudora Negri (Munster, Ind./Munster) gave the Black and Gold a 12-8 advantage. However, Flagler climbed back later on in the third set to take a 19-18 lead, before winning by a score of 25-20.
Spencer and Martin each lead the Pride with nine kills apiece while Elsea finished with seven kills.