12/6/19 Wright State, Team

The Purdue volleyball team huddles up before its game against Wright State. After dominating Wright State 3-0, Purdue will play Marquette in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 

The No. 14 Boilermakers soared past the Wright State Raiders in three sets on Friday evening to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 

"I was proud of our team," head coach Dave Shondell said. "I think our defense especially did a great job. We served the ball tough, we switched up our serving a little."

Purdue (23-7) won, 25-9, 25-22 and 25-11 to advance to host No. 16 Marquette at 7 p.m., Saturday. The Golden Eagles (28-5) swept Dayton, 25-23, 25-19 and 25-22 Friday afternoon.

Purdue came into the tournament after finishing the regular season on a six-match winning streak. Initially seeded 16 overall, its rank jumped to 14 earlier this week.

The Boilermakers were led by junior outside hitter Caitlyn Newton, finishing the match with 13 kills and four blocks.

"My setter put the ball right where I needed," Newton said. 

The match served as Newton's 15th consecutive match with 10 or more kills.

The first set ended quickly for the Boilers, who outscored the Raiders (24-5, 13-1 Horizon League), 25-9. A four-serve streak from sophomore setter Hayley Bush, followed by an 8-0 Purdue run, gave them all the edge they needed to take a 1-0 set lead.

Bush finished with one ace and 32 assists.

"We had some good offensive performances," Shondell said. "Everybody had a pretty good show tonight. Caitlyn had a lot of swings, but that's the way its gonna work with our team."

The Boilermakers' play dipped in quality in the second set, making four errors and recording a much lower hitting percentage,

The Boilers trailed for the first time of the night when Wright State went up 11-9. Junior middle hitter Nyssa Baker and freshman outside hitter Megan Alder combined for 8 kills in the second set.

The pair finished with seven and six kills respectively. 

Much of the rest of the set played out in see-saw fashion, with the Boilers continually going top by one, only for the Raiders to tie it up again. Bush, along with senior middle blocker Shavona Cuttino, played tight against the net with multiple single-hit volleys.

Bush's missed serve late in the set allowed the Raiders to make the score 20-19 Purdue following a controversial tipped-ball called against Purdue. That called was overturned though, setting the score back to 21-18. 

The Boilers were finally able to combine for 12 kills and win the second set, 25-22.

"We definitely knew they were gonna come out strong in the second set," Newton said, "but I think we did a good job of getting back on track."

The Raiders shot themselves in a foot throughout the match, committing a total of 21 errors in comparison to Purdue's six. Purdue also outdid the Raiders in kills, assists, blocks, aces and digs. 

Sophomore outside hitter Grace Cleveland was second on the team in kills, recording eight in the match with zero errors. 

"She was a match-up problem for them," Shondell said, "and we knew that going in. We felt like ... we'd have some one-on-ones with Grace. That didn't surprise me. Grace is a low-error hitter. She doesn't make a lot of mistakes. A very typical night for her."

The third set was reminiscent of the first for the Boilermakers, who jumped to an early 10-5 lead. Kills from fifth-year middle blocker Blake Mohler and freshman outside hitter Emma Ellis helped the Boilers extend their lead to as much as 13 points, and ultimately win the third set 25-11.

"Emma Ellis really rose to the occasion," Shondell said. 

Mohler recorded half of her sets in the third set.

"I think it was just how the game played out," Mohler said. "Sometimes I start off with a little shaky confidence, but I think as the match went on, Hayley (Bush) and I kept talking and (started settling in)."

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