Coming off of a thrilling 3-2 victory against the University of Illinois last Wednesday night, Purdue seemed to have all of the confidence and motivation it needed to build on their two-game winning streak and strengthen their record in Big Ten conference play.
The Boilermakers (13-2, 5-1 Big Ten) battled the Iowa Hawkeyes (2-14, 0-6 Big Ten) Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. in the Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa.
A big question for this match for Purdue was how they were going to contain Iowa’s star senior right-side hitter Courtney Buzzerio, a top 25 kill leader in the country. Head coach Dave Shondell praised Buzzerio and mentioned that the team took time to study her game film.
“We talked about her since we started pointing towards Iowa. She’s a returning veteran that has gotten a lot of kills,” Shondell said. “We thought we had a pretty good feel for her as she was moved to the left side. She’s not as comfortable out there. We had some shots that she wanted to hit that we could defend.”
Purdue kept the first set neck-and-neck with the Hawkeyes. The Boilermakers led by no more than 7 points, a lead they had built at the end of the set. Purdue ultimately took the first set 25-18 with several great performances and big plays.
Fifth-year senior outside hitter Caitlyn Newton and junior outside hitter Emma Ellis led the way for the Boilermakers in a statistically dominating fashion with a combined nine kills and two digs. Both hitters made several key plays to put the Boilermakers on top.
Purdue dominated again in the second set, leading Iowa by as much as 13 points. Purdue was able to capitalize on a flurry of Iowa service errors, taking the second set completely annihilating the Hawkeyes 25-12.
Newton continued her strong performance in this match adding five more kills and another dig. The phenomenal freshman middle blocker Raven Colvin had an amazing set performance racking up six kills, one dig and one block.
Purdue started the third set off strong, scoring four straight points with kills by senior outside hitter Grace Cleveland and sophomore middle blocker Taylor Trammell. While the Hawkeyes kept the set close, Purdue ultimately pulled away with a 25-16 victory, coming up with a dominating sweep.
Cleveland was unstoppable in this set, getting five kills, a dig and six blocks. Colvin also added another two kills to her total of 10, getting the match-winning kill that won the Boilers their third straight game.
After the match, Coach Shondell heavily praised the performances of Colvin and Trammell as they filled in for senior middle blocker Jael Johnson, who did not play in tonight’s match for an undisclosed reason.
“Colvin and Trammell had to play," Shondell said. "They had to step up and they did. They were really good."
The Boilermakers’ will face a tough test as they take on the Ohio State Buckeyes (13-2, 3-2 Big Ten) on Friday at 8:00 p.m. in Columbus. This match can be streamed on the Big Ten Network.