Courtesy: Purdue Athletics
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The No. 23 (AVCA 14) Purdue volleyball team continues Big Ten play, as the Boilermakers head north for a pair of matches in the Great Lakes State. Purdue first visits No. 17 (AVCA 16) Michigan for a 9 p.m. BTN showdown on Friday, before heading to East Lansing to take on Michigan State at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
AT THE NET – Big Ten Action
Purdue at Michigan
Friday, Oct. 5 | 9 p.m.
Purdue at Michigan State
Friday, Oct. 6 | 7 p.m.
- With only two away matches and two neutral site matches, Purdue holds a perfect 4-0 away record this season. Away from Holloway, the Boilermakers have defeated Southern Miss, then-No. 25 Alabama, South Alabama and Maryland.
- The NCAA announced the first edition of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) on Monday (Oct. 1), with Purdue at No. 12. The Boilermakers are ranked the fifth highest in the Big Ten, behind Illinois (No. 3), Nebraska (No. 8), Wisconsin (No. 9) and Michigan (No. 11). The Big Ten Conference leads the way with 10 teams ranked in the top 50.
- Purdue is ranked 14th in this week’s AVCA poll with 711 points. The Boilermakers were previously ranked No. 16 (9/17-9/21), No. 15 (9/10), No. 19 (9/3), No. 20 (8/28) and No. 23 (preseason poll).
- Offensively, Purdue is led by redshirt senior Sherridan Atkinson, who is registering 4.25 kills per set, good for first among Big Ten opponents and 16th in the nation. In league play alone, her mark improves to a conference-best 4.40 kills per set. Altogether, California native has tallied 242 kills on the season. Overall, she owns 904 putaways, only needing 96 to become the 17th Boilermaker in program history to reach 1,000 kills.
- Redshirt freshman Hayley Bush leads Purdue with 615 assists through 15 matches and averages 10.79, which is fifth in the Big Ten and 34th in the nation. She leads a group that is 89th in the NCAA with 12.33 assists per set. She most recently surpassed the 500-assists mark when she tallied 46 helpers in Purdue’s win against Northwestern (9/22).
- Defensively, libero Brooke Peters guides the Boilermakers with 284 digs on the year, which is best for second among Big Ten opponents and 68th in the nation. Overall, she has tallied 1,132 digs to become the 19th Boilermaker to surpass the 1,000-dig mark. Her total also ranks 12th in program history for most digs. She is 13 digs away from tying former Boilermaker Kim Corwin (1982-1985) in 11th place, while being 111 digs away from tying former Boilermaker and current Wisconsin volleyball assistant coach Brittany Dildine in 10th place with 1,243 career-digs.
- In addition to tough defense, Peters has also contributed a touch serve to Purdue’s roster. The senior is currently one service ace away from posting her 100th career ace. As a freshman, Peters recorded 30 aces, followed by 27 in her sophomore season, 19 through her junior campaign and 23 through the first full month of 2018 play. Currently ranked third in the Big Ten and in the top 60 in the nation, Peters will need 46 more service aces to crack Purdue’s career top-ten list. With 46 more perfect serves, she would tie former Boilermaker Jill Whiteman (1987-1990) with 145 career aces.
- Purdue owns a 97-57 record against Michigan and Michigan State (48-26 vs. Michigan | 49-31 vs. Michigan State).
The Boilermakers are 97-57 all-time against this weekend’s field:
#16 Michigan: 49-31
Michigan State: 48-26
Scouting No. 16 Michigan
Following a three-set loss to No. 9 Penn State, Michigan brings a 2-2 Big Ten record into Friday’s match. The Wolverines previously lost to then-No. 3 Nebraska, but defeated Iowa and Rutgers over the first two weeks of conference play. Michigan mirrors Purdue’s 13-2 overall record and is currently 9-1 at home this season. A well-rounded team, the Wolverines also rank fourth in the nation with a .144 opponent hitting percentage, sixth in the country with 13.73 assists per set and eighth in the nation with 14.56 kills per set. Michigan has had four players earn kill-dig or assist-dig double-doubles this season, including freshman Paige Jones, junior MacKenzi Welsh, junior Sydney Wetterstrom and Carly Skjodt. Defensively, the Wolverines are guided by senior libero Jenna Lerg, who has recorded 13 matches with double-figure digs and averaging 5.42 digs per set to rank 18th in the country.
Last Meeting vs. the Wolverines
In 2017, Purdue and Michigan faced off in back-to-back matches at the end of the regular season. Playing in both Ann Arbor and West Lafayette, the Wolverines were victorious, claiming both contests 3-1. In the first match up last season, Sherridan Atkinson registered 20 kills with a .302 hitting percentage while finishing an ace, four blocks and a dig away from a double-double. Caitlynn Newton earned 10 kills with a .250 hitting percentage on the outside, while Shavona Cuttino added six kills to go along with her five blocks. In the year’s second game, Blake Mohler tallied 14 kills on a .300 hitting clip and Brooke Peters was once dig shy of posting her third 20-dig effort of the season. The pair of losses snapped Purdue’s eight-match winning streak against Michigan. Overall, Purdue owns the all-time series against Michigan, 48-26. The Boilermakers last defeated the Wolverines, 3-1, in an October contest in 2016 at Holloway Gymnasium.
Scouting Michigan State
The Spartans are coming off a 3-1 victory over Rutgers last week to snap a three-game losing streak. Overall, Michigan State is 13-4 and 1-3 in Big Ten action, including a 4-1 showing at home. Statistically, MSU continues to lead the Big Ten and ranks seventh nationally in service aces per set (1.86), with 108 aces over 58 frames. The Green & White boast five matches with double-digit aces, the most of any team in the Big Ten. The single-match high of 14 is held by both Maryland (vs. Ohio State) and Rutgers (vs. Coppin State), with MSU’s 13 aces vs. Chattanooga ranking third. Defensively, the Spartans are averaging 2.93 blocks per set, which is good for third in the Big Ten and seventh nationally.
Last Meeting vs. the Spartans
Purdue and Michigan State last met on November 24, 2017, when the Boilermakers defeated the Spartans at Holloway, 3-1 (20-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-21) in their regular season finale. The victory marked Purdue’s upset over a top-10 opponent in 2017. Middle blocker Blake Mohler was a consistent problem for the Spartans as she finished with 11 kills on 22 swings and hit .364 with four blocks as well. Sherridan Atkinson was contained to eight kills but denied two of Michigan State’s attempts and added an ace to her line. Caitlyn Newton factored in five clutch kills and a .272 hitting percentage in the final two sets. The teams will meet again on Halloween night in West Lafayette.