10/6/19 Illinois, Jael Johnson

Sophomore middle back Jael Johnson jumps to slam the ball over the net during the game against Northwestern University on Oct. 4. Purdue had a 3-0 win over Northwestern on both Oct. 4 and Sunday.

After sweeping Northwestern University during both home and away matches, the Purdue volleyball team is gearing up to face Ohio State University this weekend.

The Buckeyes (9-9, 2-4 Big Ten) currently lead the Boilermakers (11-4, 3-3), having won 19 of the 36 matchups between the two teams since the teams began playing each other in 1999.

“They’re a great program, athletically, in particular,” head coach Dave Shondell said.

According to Shondell, the Buckeyes have had many of their star players out during the past few weeks due to injuries, but now that they have all their players back, it is sure to be a tough game for the Boilers.

To take on such a tough opponent, the Boilermakers have to make improvements in all areas.

“Our hitting percentage is not where it needs to be,” Shondell said.

With fifth-year middle back Blake Mohler and junior outside hitter Caitlyn Newton both missing games recently, Purdue has struggled to find ways to score points and is looking for an offensive leader to emerge.

“Offensively, we have to take a big step,” Shondell said. “I think the personnel is there.”

The team is also looking for a more efficient way to improve both aspects of the game at the same time.

“We have to find ways to control people better,” Shondell said.

After playing three of the toughest teams in the Big Ten — University of Wisconsin, University of Illinois and University of Minnesota — the defense has shifted focus to back-court defense.

Defeating Northwestern gave Purdue a boost in morale, providing them the momentum they will need against the Buckeyes.

“I think it gives our team sense of confidence that we can win and that every team in the Big Ten is beatable,” sophomore setter Hayley Bush said.

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