No. 10 Purdue volleyball drops Big Ten opener to Illinois

Photo Courtesy: Purdue Sports
Photo Courtesy: Purdue Sports

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — The Boilermakers rallied to win Set 4 and force a decisive fifth stanza, but could not finish the comeback, falling 3-2 to Illinois on Wednesday. The Illini won the match 21-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-27, 15-11.

Four Boilermakers posted double-digit kill tallies, led by redshirt senior Faye Adelaja and junior Danielle Cuttino, who turned in 14 apiece. Junior Azariah Stahl (13) and redshirt sophomore Sherridan Atkinson (10) followed. Adelaja hit at a team-best .591 clip, committing just one error in 22 swings. Redshirt junior Ashley Evans added seven kills and redshirt freshman Blake Mohler chipped in six to go with a team-leading six blocks. Atkinston and Stahl put up four blocks apiece.

Defensively, freshman Natalie Haben pulled up a match-high 15 digs. Stahl rounded out her third double-double of the season with 14 digs and sophomore Brooke Peters added 10.

Purdue put down 64 kills to 61 for the Illini and managed 53 digs to Illinois’ 45, but UI won the rest of the statistical categories, including blocks, 14-11.

The Boilermakers fell behind 3-1 early in the fifth set, but rallied with four of the next five to go ahead 5-4 on a kill by Stahl. Illinois turned the tables with a 6-2 run to vault ahead 10-7. Cuttino downed three kills over the next four points to narrow the gap to one at 10-9. Kills by Cuttino and Stahl kept it close at 12-11, but the Illini used an ace and two blocks to close out the win. Cuttino was 4-for-5 in the set.

The No. 10 Boilermakers (10-2, 0-1 B1G) return to action at 7 p.m. Saturday when they face Indiana at Mackey Arena.

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