No. 24 Purdue volleyball edges Illinois in five sets

Photo Courtesy: Purdue Sports
Photo Courtesy: Purdue Sports

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (Purdue Sports) — The No. 24 Boilermakers got payback for the opening match of the Big Ten season, repaying No. 22 Illinois with a five-set win Saturday. Purdue won the match 14-25, 25-22, 19-25, 25-16, 15-11 to even the season series with the Illini.

Junior Danielle Cuttino paced the Boilermakers with 16 kills and six digs. Redshirt senior Faye Adelaja added 12 kills and seven blocks while hitting at a .429 clip. Redshirt sophomore Sherridan Atkinson and redshirt freshman Blake Mohler chipped in nine kills apiece.

Defensively, Adelaja led Purdue at the net, while redshirt junior Ashley Evans, junior Azariah Stahl , Mohler and Atkinson added three stuffs apiece. In the back court, Stahl led the way with a career-high 21 digs, while freshman Natalie Haben (12), Evans (12) and sophomore Brooke Peters (10) also added double digit saves. Evans rounded out a double-double with 46 assists.

In the decisive fifth set, the Boilermakers hit at a .320 clip and got a balanced attack with three kills apiece from Adelaja, Cuttino and Atkinson. Purdue also got aces from Mohler and Haben in the final stanza. The Boilermakers scored three of the first four points including Haben’s ace. The teams tied at three, four and five, before Purdue scored three straight on two Atkinson putaways and Mohler’s ace serve. A kill by Stahl after an Illinois timeout made it 9-5. The Illini cut the margin to one at 10-9. Purdue called timeout and put together a 4-1 run, including two Adelaja kills to go ahead 14-10. A kill by Mohler sealed the win at 15-11.

The Illini led Set 1 from start to finish as Boilermaker miscues piled up in a 25-14 win. Purdue hit -.207 with 11 hitting errors and four service errors. An ace by Evans and three kills by Cuttino highlighted the set for the Boilermakers.

Purdue bounced back with a 25-22 Set 2 victory, complete with a comeback from a 16-12 deficit. After a 4-4 tie, Illinois scored three straight and eventually went up by four at 13-9. Kills by Cuttino and Stahl cut the margin to two at 14-12, but Illinois answered with a pair of its own. An Illini service error and a stuff by Atkinson and Adelaja kicked off an 8-3 Boilermaker run, which turned the 16-12 deficit into a 20-19 lead. Two kills and a solo stuff by Cuttino capped the rally. An Atkinson kill made it 22-20 and forced Illinois to use its final timeout. Up 23-22, Purdue got a putaway from Stahl and a block by Atkinson and Adelaja to cap the 25-22 win. The Boilermakers piled up six blocks in the set, while Adelaja downed four kills.

Illinois led Set 3 from the start en route to a 25-19 win. Purdue tied the score 10 times, the last at 15-15 on an ace by Peters, but the Illinois scored 10 of the final 14 to take the 2-1 lead in the match.

Set 4 saw the Boilermakers come back from an early 8-5 deficit to sail to a 25-16 win and extend the match to a fifth set. Purdue hit .296 as seven players, including defensive specialist Carissa Damler, put down kills, while Illinois hit just .088. Down 8-5, the Boilermakers got help from an Illini service error, which kicked off a 5-2 run, including a pair of Adelaja putaways, which knotted the score at 10. Down 12-10, Purdue rattled off 12 of the next 14 points to surge ahead 22-14. A block by Mohler and Atkinson made it 15-12 and another stuff, this one by Adelaja and Stahl gave Purdue the 22-14 edge. Peters also served an ace in the rally. Kills by Adelaja and Cuttino set up Purdue’s first shot at set point. An Illini miscue two plays later made it 25-16 to even the match.

The Boilermakers (13-8, 3-7 B1G) return to action at 7 p.m. ET Friday when they play host to Michigan.