The last time the Terps and Boilermakers faced off, Purdue won in four sets. The same result happened tonight. Purdue won the first set, the Terps won the second and the Boilermakers rallied to win the third and fourth sets. With the victory the Boilermakers move to 16-4 (5-4) in the Big Ten and the Terps drop to 12-9 and (3-6) in the Big Ten.
Offensive balance was the key for the Boilermakers throughout the match. Redshirt senior Sherridan Atkinson led the attack with 16 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Caitlyn Newton complemented Atkinson nicely finishing with 15 kills, as well as redshirt junior middle blocker Blake Mohler who finished with 11. In addition to their balance, the Boilermakers were also efficient offensively, finishing with a .308 hitting percentage.
While the Boilermakers were clicking offensively, the Terps struggled to generate consistent offense, finishing hitting at a .140 clip. After struggling in the first set hitting .083, the Terps were able to build some more success as the match progressed. The outside hitter duo of sophomore Erika Pritchard and senior Liz Twilley each finished with 17 kills, matching Twilley’s highest total of the season. Sophomore setter Nicole Alford finished with 44 assist, her highest total in a four-set match this season.
The Terps showed their resiliency once again despite the loss, battling back in both the second and third sets. After trailing 18-14 in the second set, the Terps went on a 9-5 run to retake the lead 23-22 and win the set 25-23 soon after. In the third set the Terps trailed 11-6, but immediately rebounded to retake the lead 16-14 despite losing the set. Throughout numerous matches this season, the Terps have battled back from large deficits.
In addition to their balanced offense, the Boilermakers also had success serving. The Boilermakers finished with seven aces, compared to the Terps four. Freshman defensive specialist Marissa Hornung finished with five aces, a career high, finding the gaps in the Terps defense. Hornung and the Boilermakers servers did a good job of moving the Terps defense out of system with precise service placement.
The Terps do not have to wait long to bounce back, facing off against Indiana and former head coach Steve Aird in Bloomington on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.