The final road series of the season began with a thrilling match between the No. 9 Ohio State Buckeyes and the No. 10 Purdue Boilermakers Friday afternoon.
The top-seeded match up ended with a 3-1 victory in favor of the Boilermakers.
Never a doubt. pic.twitter.com/oIIPDEIhpL— Purdue Volleyball (@PurdueVB) March 26, 2021
The Buckeyes (15-2) entered the match as one of the hottest teams in the nation, but the Boilermakers (12-5) held themselves to a similar standard.
The two teams exchanged points for the majority of each set, making any type of headway difficult for the opposite court to find.
A slow start had both squads hitting at a sub .200 clip to open the match.
The early jitters prohibited the Boilermakers from closing out the opening set. A number of controversial calls that went unchallenged gave Ohio State the momentum. After a 5-0 scoring run late in the set, the Buckeyes secured a 1-0 lead.
Freshman hitter Emily Londot led the Buckeyes in kills and recorded a double-double in her performance. She finished with a .237 average off 23 kills and 17 digs.
The Buckeye's success provided a perfect gut-check moment for Purdue that would prompt comebacks in the second and third set. The Boilers used a challenge in the third set to overturn a hitting error. The Boilers would go onto win the set 25-22 to take a 2-1 lead over Ohio State.
But their efforts were met with powerful opposition. Junior hitter Vanja Bukilic racked up her kills with ease. Standing at 6-foot-6, her swings reached their targets for an excellent .306 hitting percentage.
While the Buckeyes were riding on young and talented players, the Boilermakers knew how to use their experienced veterans.
Junior outside hitter Grace Cleveland led the Boilermakers in kills with 18 and was able to continue her recent success at the net. Cleveland finished with six blocks and 11 digs, securing a double-double.
Senior hitter Caitlyn Newton also recorded a double-double with 13 kills and 11 digs.
The final set began as a rout. The Boilers opened with a 9-point lead before more controversial officiating calls allowed the Buckeyes to crawl back and tie the set at 18. The Boilermakers quickly regrouped and were able to close out the road victory 25-22 thanks to the blocking defense.
Purdue finished the match with 13 blocks, with nine recorded by freshman middle blocker Taylor Trammell.
Purdue retakes the court tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. The match will be broadcast on ESPNU.