The No. 14 Purdue volleyball team served up another victory on Saturday in Holloway Gymnasium, defeating No. 16 Marquette Golden Eagles, 3-1, to advance to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
"Our players continue to play at a high level," head coach Dave Shondell said.
The Boilermakers (24-7) downed Marquette (28-6) in four sets, 22-25, 25-16, 25-17 and 25-13. Purdue will next face No. 1 Baylor (27-1) at noon Saturday in Waco, Texas in the NCAA Tournament.
Best Feeling EVER! 🙌🏐🚂 pic.twitter.com/TMs2vDicfl— Purdue Volleyball (@PurdueVB) December 8, 2019
Junior outside hitter Caitlyn Newton came out hot in the first set with eight kills on 14 swings. Newton came off a 13-kill performance against Wright State last night, which served as her 15th straight match with 10 or more kills.
Newton finished this match with 23, stretching the streak to 16.
Purdue trailed by as much as 5 to the Golden Eagles in the first set. Midway through the set, a kill and subsequent block from fifth-year middle blocker Blake Mohler gave the Boilermakers a bit of a momentum swing. Mohler had four kills in the set, but could not do enough to claim the first set, as Purdue lost, 25-22.
"Work my butt off and get things done," Mohler said about her mindset after losing the first set.
Mohler was playing not only to keep this season alive, but to prolong her own career as a Boilermaker.
The Boilermakers struggled with errors all night, finishing the match with 17 hitting errors and four service errors. This was following a clean six-error performance the night prior.
Purdue took the lead midway though the second set, only the second lead change of the match. Sophomore libero Marissa Hornung's consistent defensive performance, which featured many diving plays, was enough to slow down the Golden Eagle offense. A six-serve streak from sophomore outside hitter Grace Cleveland, reminiscent of a 15-serve streak she had weeks ago against Rutgers, extended the Boilermaker lead to 16-10.
Another four kills from Mohler, along with two from freshman outside hitter Emma Ellis, helped push the Boilers to victory, taking the second set 25-16.
Mohler finished with 10 kills and four blocks.
Purdue led for the first half of the third set, but an offensive surge lead by junior outside hitter Hope Werch and fifth-year outside hitter Allie Barber brought the Golden Eagles back to a 12-12 tie.
Barber, who was named 2018 Big East player of the year, came off of a 17-kill performance in the previous match, and finished with 15 against the Boilers.
"We knew that we had to focus on blocking a really big, physical left-side hitter, and we had been doing some of that in practice," Shondell said. "But that's the same in the Big Ten. We've got plenty of big, physical left-side hitters in our league."
A six-serve streak from sophomore defensive specialist Emma Terwilliger gave the Boilers a 20-15 lead. The Golden Eagle defense failed to stop Newton and Ellis late in the third set, falling 25-17 to the Boilermakers.
Ellis recorded eight kills and five blocks, the most blocks she has had all season.
"I just knew we had to keep swinging hard," Ellis said.
Purdue was firing on all cylinders in the fourth set, not allowing Marquette any chance of a comeback. The Boilers led by as much as 13 in the set, and ultimately won, 25-13.
"Being here five years, that's always something that we strived for, and we've fallen short of that the past few years," Mohler said. "So this group decided after December in Kentucky that that wasn't gonna happen again, and that we were going to the Sweet Sixteen."
• Friday's opponent, No. 1 Baylor, suffered its only loss of the season at No. 4 Texas, on Oct. 23. It has won 4 of the 5 last five sets, 3-0, including both in the NCAA Tournament.
• Purdue and Baylor have 2 common opponents this season – Wisconsin, which Baylor won, 3-0, and Marquette, another 3-0 sweep. Purdue lost at Wisconsin, 3-0, on Sept. 27 and beat Marquette on Saturday night, 3-1.
• Purdue is 1-1 against Baylor all-time. The Boilermakers won, 3-0, on Aug. 26, 2011, in West Lafayette and lost, 3-2, on Sept. 5, 2009, in Waco, Texas. in the 2001 victory, the Boilers won matches 25-14, 25-22 and 25-17.