Sept. 28, 2012
Site: West Lafayette, Ind. (Holloway Gymnasium)
Score: No. 13 Purdue 3, Northwestern 1
Records: NU (11-3, 0-3 Big Ten), Purdue (12-2, 3-0 Big Ten)
Next NU Event:Saturday, Sept. 29 -- at Indiana (Bloomington, Ind.), 6 p.m.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.-- Northwestern dropped the first two sets Friday night against No. 13 Purdue, and despite a ferocious comeback to claim the third and battle through the fourth, ended up on the short end of a 3-1 (18-25, 18-25, 25-21, 22-25) score at Holloway Gymnasium in West Lafayette, Ind.
Stephanie Holthusfinished with a match-high 21 kills, including 16 in the final two sets, but the Wildcats were unable to shake off their sluggish start against the nation's 13th-ranked squad.
"We played good volleyball at times, but we weren't able to put it all together," said Northwestern head coach Keylor Chan. "You have to be playing your best every single night in this conference and we weren't at that point against a very strong Purdue team tonight. We have to improve on those little things that decide close points."
For the second straight match, the Wildcats came firing out of the chute as they built a 10-5 lead. It was a balanced attack for the visiting team as four different players etched their names in the scoring column to that point.
Following a timeout called by head coach Dave Shondell, the Boilermakers orchestrated a 7-2 run to tie the match at 12 points apiece. Purdue eventually secured at narrow two-point edge at 16-14, prompting Chan to ask for his first timeout of the evening. The Wildcats pulled to within two points of their opponent at 20-18, but they were unable regain the lead in the first set. Purdue notched the final five points to win 25-18.
The Boilermakers distributed the ball across the floor in the premiere set as three different players collected at least four kills, led by Ariel Turner's
six. For Northwestern, Monica McGreal
and Yewande Akanbi
tallied three sets each in the first game.
The 'Cats earned a 4-3 lead in the second set, but a dump by Purdue setter Rachel Davis and a block by Davis and Annie Drewsput the home team back in front. Northwestern continued to claw into the deficit and evened the ledger on numerous occasions, but the Boilermakers always seemed to have an answer. Nursing a two-point cushion at 13-11, Purdue outscored the Wildcats down the stretch, 12-7 to win the second game, 25-18 and grab a 2-0 lead as the teams broke for intermission.
As it did in the opening game, Northwestern controlled the early pace of play early in the third. NU led 7-4 when Katie Dutchman and Madalyn Shalterteamed up for their team's first block of the match. The 'Cats continued to play with poise and extended its lead to five points at 14-9 following another kill from Akanbi.
The lead blossomed to seven points after Dutchman notched a termination to make the score 18-11 in favor of the visitors. Northwestern later led 20-13, but Purdue rattled off four straight points to pull within three once again. This time it was the Wildcats' turn to end on an solid run, finished off by Holthus' eighth kill of the frame as they put away the home team, 25-21, to win the third set and slice their overall deficit in half.
Shalter, the Big Ten's leader in assists per set heading into play Friday, had 13 of her 43 helpers in the third set as she moved into the top-10 in Northwestern annals in that statistical category with 1,870 all-time.
The two teams fought valiantly with one another as they split the first 26 points of the fourth set down the middle. Purdue earned kills following two terrific rallies to grab the lead at 15-13, at which point Chan requested a timeout. The stoppage proved to be effective as the Wildcats went on a brief 3-1 run to tie the score yet again at 16-16.
Purdue took a 20-18 lead and never looked back as they went on to win the what proved to be the final set, 25-22, to take the match by a score of 3-1.
The Wildcats finish the weekend on Saturday evening when they travel to Bloomington, Ind. to face the Indiana Hoosiers at University Gymnasium. Northwestern has won the last six matches between the two programs and has not dropped a set in each of the last three contests. Saturday's match is set for a 6 p.m. CT start.
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