No. 24 Purdue volleyball falls to Northwestern

Photo Courtesy: Purdue Sports
Photo Courtesy: Purdue Sports

EVANSTON, Ill. (Purdue Sports) — The No. 24 Boilermakers fought to the end, but ended up on the short end of a 3-1 score against Northwestern on Friday night. The Wildcats won the match 25-19, 18-25, 25-19, 28-26.

Junior Danielle Cuttino pounded down a career and match-high 23 kills on a .367 hitting percentage, while redshirt sophomore Sherridan Atkinson added 12 kills and .350. Redshirt senior Faye Adelaja put down six kills, while junior Azariah Stahl added five.

Defensively, freshman Natalie Haben managed a match-high 16 digs followed by Stahl (13) and redshirt sophomore Carissa Damler (10). Redshirt junior Ashley Evans added nine and sophomore Brooke Peters chipped in eight. At the net, redshirt freshman Blake Mohler put up five blocks, including three solo efforts, while Atkinson added three.

Purdue posted 48 kills to Northwestern’s 46 and outdug the Wildcats 59 to 45, but were outhit .185 to .167 and outblocked 10-8.

Northwestern outhit Purdue .381 to .214 in a 25-19 Set 1 win. The Boilermakers scored three of the first four points in the set, including an ace by Peters, and later led 5-4, but soon found themselves facing a 12-7 deficit. After a timeout, Purdue cut the margin to one at 13-12 on another Peters ace and two kills by Cuttino. A 7-0 Northwestern run made it 20-12. The Boilermakers narrowed the gap to five at 23-18 on an overpass kill by Adelaja, but could not finish the comeback. Cuttino and Atkinson had four kills apiece in the set.

The Boilermakers led Set 2 from start to finish en route to a 25-18 win. Purdue jumped out to an early 4-1 lead with two kills by Cuttino and an ace by Stahl. After a tie at 5-5, the Boilermakers scored six of the next eight, including two kills by Cuttino, an ace by Mohler and a block by Adelaja. Northwestern was within three at 18-15, but a kill from Adelaja and Wildcat net violation put Purdue on top 20-15. The Boilermakers closed out the set at 25-18 with a 4-0 run, including a stuff and a kill by Atkinson. Purdue outhit Northwestern .474 to .176.

The teams split the first 14 points of Set 3, but Northwestern pushed ahead to a 19-12 lead and never looked back in a 25-19 win. Back to back kills by Stahl and two blocks by Mohler cut the margin to four at 21-17, but it was not enough as the Wildcats scored four of the final six points. Cuttino put down five kills in the set and the Boilermakers posted four blocks.

Purdue trailed 23-17 in Set 4 and fought all the way back to have a set point chance of their own at 25-24, but fell 28-26 in the final stanza. The Boilermakers started the set with six of the first eight points, including three kills by Cuttino and an ace by Haben. Northwestern used a 9-2 run to go ahead 11-9 and eventually went on to an 18-13 lead before going up 23-17. Down 24-20, the Boilermakers got two kills from Cuttino, a stuff by Mohler and help from two Wildcat miscues to have a shot at the set at 25-24. A pair of NU kills made it 26-25 and gave the Wildcats another match point chance. A block by Mohler and Evans knotted it at 26, but a service error and a Northwestern kill ended the night. Cuttino pounded down eight kills in the stanza, but it was not enough.

The Boilermakers (12-8, 2-7 B1G) return to action at 8 p.m. ET Saturday when they take on No. 22 Illinois in Champaign.