WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — Juniors Azariah Stahl and Danielle Cuttino had standout performances but it was not enough to lift the No. 14 Boilermakers over No. 2 Minnesota on Sunday. The duo added 17 kills apiece and Purdue hit .323 in the match, but the Gophers won 25-18, 25-18, 25-23.
The Boilermakers outblocked Minnesota 5-2 and outdug the Gophers 34-31, but UM hit at a .457 clip to claim the victory.
Stahl put down 17 kills on a season-best .517 hitting effort (with just two errors in 29 swings), while also adding five digs, two blocks and an ace. For her part, Cuttino put down 17 kills while hitting at a .382 clip and adding two blocks. Middle blockers Blake Mohler and Faye Adelaja added six and five kills respectively.
Defensively, libero Natalie Haben pulled up nine digs, followed by setter Ashley Evans’ eight. Sophomore Brooke Peters and Stahl added five digs apiece. Stahl and Peters each served up an ace.
The Boilermakers scored two of the first three points in Set 1 on kills by Mohler and Cuttino, but Minnesota managed five straight to go up 6-2 and force a Purdue timeout. Down 16-10, the Boilermakers scored five of the next eight, including two Stahl kills and a Peters ace, to narrow the gap to four at 19-15. Minnesota used a 5-1 run to go up 24-16. A kill by Mohler and a Gopher error kept the stanza going, before a kill ended it at 25-18. Stahl put down six kills and Cuttino added five as the Boilermakers hit .406 in the set, but were outdone by a .531 Minnesota effort.
After falling behind 5-3 early in Set 2, the Boilermakers rallied to take a 7-6 lead, but could not hold on, falling 25-18. Stahl put down two kills and Cuttino added one in the 4-1 rally which put Purdue on top. A stuff by Cuttino and Adelaja made it 10-9 Boilermakers, but the Gophers turned the tables with a 9-2 run to take an 18-12 lead. Kills by four different players narrowed the gap to four at 20-16, but Minnesota closed out the set with five of the final seven points. Stahl downed seven kills and Cuttino chipped in five as Purdue hit .303, only to be usurped by Minnesota’s .500 hitting percentage.
Set 3, which featured 10 tie scores and four lead changes, saw the Boilermakers lead as late at 23-22, but fall 25-23. Down 5-2 early, Purdue got a kill and a block each from Mohler and Stahl to knot the score at 5. The score stayed close until Minnesota went ahead 17-14, forcing a Boilermaker timeout. Purdue scored six of the next eight points out of the break to push ahead 20-19. Cuttino managed three kills and a solo stuff, while Mohler also was credited with a solo block in the rally. Down 21-20, Minnesota got help from two Boilermaker miscues to go up 22-21. A Gopher service error and kill by Stahl put Purdue back up 23-22 and forced a UM timeout. Two ball handling errors and a kill gave Minnesota the win.
The No. 14 Boilermakers (11-4, 1-3 B1G) return to action at 8 p.m. ET Friday when they take on Iowa in Iowa City.