The Purdue Boilermakers stayed golden, defeating the Michigan State Spartans 3-1 on Halloween night.
Purdue (20-4, 9-4 Big Ten) was recently listed No. 12 in the AVCA Top 25 poll prior to playing Michigan State (15-10, 3-9). The last time these teams fought this season, on Oct. 6, freshman blocker Grace Cleveland and sophomore hitter Caitlyn Newton put down double-digit kills each to lead Purdue in a 3-1 victory.
This time was no different. Purdue took the first set 25-18, but gave up the second 25-19 to Michigan State. The Boilers were then able to seal the deal in sets 3 and 4, with 25-18 and 25-19 respectively. Overall, Purdue outpaced its opponent in hitting percentage and blocks per set, but struggled with overcoming deficits at the start of each set.
"I think we're too relaxed," said redshirt junior Blake Mohler. "It's something that we got to work on, especially if we're going to make it to the NCAA Tournament."
While both Cleveland and Newton had strong showings in this matchup, the efforts of redshirt senior hitter Sherridan Atkinson and Mohler prevailed in the end. Atkinson put down 18 kills with a .417 percentage, and Mohler contributed eight kills at a .400 percentage.
"After we got through the second set, (Atkinson) started taking over in sets 3 and 4,” said head coach Dave Shondell. "(Mohler) got to a slow start ... but then she got locked in."
Defensive attributions from senior libero Brooke Peters and freshman defensive specialist Marissa Hornung supported the backline, with 16 digs and 12 digs respectively. Shondell also credited freshman defensive specialist Julianna Reisinger for her performance on the court.
The Boilermakers will face rival Indiana University in a highly anticipated matchup this Saturday evening in Holloway Gymnasium for Boilermaker Blackout.