Sept. 28, 2011
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
Score: Northwestern 1, No. 12 Purdue 3
Records: NU (9-5, 0-3 Big Ten), Purdue (14-0, 3-0 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Saturday, Oct. 1 -- vs. Indiana (Welsh-Ryan Arena), 7 p.m.
EVANSTON, Ill. - Freshman Yewande Akanbi and redshirt freshman Katie Dutchman each posted career best numbers in kills, but it was not enough as Northwestern fell to No. 12 Purdue, 3-1 (25-23, 18-25, 19-25, 20-25) in front of over 700 rowdy fans at Welsh-Ryan Arena Wednesday.
Akanbi tied for the team lead, along with sophomore Stephanie Holthus (Burlington, Ill./Central), after knocking down 13 kills against the Boilermakers. Dutchman chipped with the highest output of her young career with 12 while hitting at a clip of .346 (12-3-26).
The 'Cats took advantage of the boisterous crowd behind them as they pushed out to an early 10-6 lead on the heels of 6-0 run. The streak was punctuated by four kills from Akanbi.
Purdue would not bow out of the first set easily, however, as they traded points and eventually grabbed the lead back at 17-16 following a three-point run of their own. Northwestern would surge ahead, 20-17, thanks to pair of kills from Akanbi, one from Kathryn Chrystal (Crystal Lake, Ill./Central) and a service ace from Madalyn Shalter (Ottawa, Ohio/Ottawa-Glandorf). NU would hang on to claim victory in the first set, 25-23.
Akanbi led all players with six kills in the opening frame, while Shalter dished out 14 assists early on.
Purdue showed why it remains one of few undefeated teams left in the country as it dug in and fought out to the early lead. Northwestern proved it would not back down easily, though. The 'Cats trailed by as many as seven points at several markers throughout out, but a kill from Alex Ayers (Playa del Rey, Calif./Marymount) sliced the deficit to just two at 19-17. The Boilermakers answered with a 6-1 run to slam the door (25-18) and knot the match at two games apiece.
Purdue came out firing on all cylinders once again in the third set as they sped out to a 6-0 cushion, prompting a quick timeout by NU head coach Keylor Chan
. His team responded and settled down and began chipping away ever so slightly, though they would never tie the set in the third as the Boilermakers won, 25-19.
What would prove to be the decisive fourth set was the tightest affair of the night featuring 10 tie scores and six lead changes. The two teams essentially traded points until the score was tied at 14. Following a media timeout Purdue scored four of the next five points to put some distance between themselves and Northwestern. The home team continued to battle tooth-and-nail, but the deficit was too much to overcome and Purdue won the fourth set, 25-20, and the match, 3-1.
"We're still looking to find that consistency," said Chan. "We're still making errors at critical times that are costing us at the end. We'll get right back to work and be ready for Indiana Saturday night."
Holthus added 14 digs to go along with her 13 kills to notch her sixth double-double of the campaign. Libero Julie Chin (Naperville, Ill./North) led all players in the match with 17 digs. Shalter finished the night one assist shy of tying her career high with 44.
The Wildcats will now turn their attention to the Indiana Hoosiers who come to town on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The first serve from Welsh-Ryan is set for 7 p.m.
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