Oct. 9, 2010

Courtesy of Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A packed house of 2,474 were on hand in Holloway Gymansium to see history in the making Friday night as the Purdue volleyball team defeated No. 4 Penn State 3-2. The come-from-behind 21-25, 18-25, 25-16, 25-18, 15-11 victory was Purdue's first ever against a team ranked in the Top 5 (in 39 tries) and the first over Penn State since 1987 (43 matches).

The feat is even more poignant considering none of the current Boilermaker players were even born the last time Purdue knocked off the Nittany Lions (Dec. 4, 1987). Senior setter Jaclyn Hart, the oldest Boilermaker player, was born on Nov. 10, 1988.

The match, which was streamed live on BigTenNetwork.com, will be rebroadcast on the Big Ten Network at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12.

Redshirt freshmen Catherine Rebarchak and Katie Griffin led the way with 13 kills apiece, while junior Tiffany Fisher added 12. Sophomore Ariel Turner chipped in nine kills to go with a career-high 19 digs and two aces, while Hart added seven kills and eight digs. Purdue outhit PSU .218 to .155 and outblocked the Nittany Lions 13-10.

Defensively, libero Carly Cramer pulled up a match-high 22 digs, followed by Turner (19) and redshirt junior Blair Bashen (15). Junior Emily Ehlers added nine digs and Hart tallied eight. At the net, senior Kristen Arthurs led the way with eight blocks. Rebarchak followed with five, including a solo effort, while Hart and Fisher chipped in four stuffs apiece.

Purdue opened the fifth and final set with six of the first nine points. Two kills by Fisher and a block by Fisher and Hart helped the Boilermakers to the 6-3 margin. Penn State answered with four straight points to go ahead 7-6 and prompt a Purdue timeout. The Boilermakers scored three straight out of the break with a Turner putaway, a joust won by Hart and a block by Hart and Arthurs. The 9-7 Purdue advantage forced a Nittany Lion timeout. PSU scored the first point out of the break, but Purdue scored the next four, pushing ahead 13-8. Kills by Hart and Griffin, a solo stuff by Rebarchak and a PSU hitting miscue accounted for the points. Penn State would not go quietly, using a pair of Blair Brown kills to cut the margin to 13-10. A Rebarchak putaway put Purdue on the hill. Another Brown putaway kept the match going, but her final hitting attempt sailed long clinching Purdue the 15-11 victory and the historic win.

Purdue answered each of the Nittany Lion points over the first 12 serves in Set 1, leading to a 6-6 tie. A PSU hitting miscue gave the Boilermakers their first lead. A block by Arthurs and Rebarchak and another Penn State error gave Purdue a 9-6 advantage. The Nittany Lions cut the margin to one three times, but the Boilermakers pushed ahead by three again at 13-10 after a putaway by Turner and a joust won at the net by Hart. PSU scored nine of the next 11 points, however, to take a 19-15 lead and force Purdue to use both of its timeouts. Down by four at 22-18, the Boilermakers capitalized on a pair of Penn State miscues to cut the deficit in half and force a Nittany Lion timeout. Another kill by Hart made it a two-point game again at 23-21, but a hitting error and a putaway by Deja McClendon claimed Penn State the 25-21 win. Rebarchak tallied five kills in the set to pace Purdue.

Penn State led set two from start to finish, but the Boilermakers never quit fighting back. Griffin provided an offensive spark with six kills, many which came in the second half of the stanza. PSU took a 10-4 lead to start the set and boosted its advantage to seven at 16-9. Purdue narrowed the gap with a 3-0 run featuring a Fisher kill and two from Griffin. The Nittany Lions went up by seven at 20-13, but a Griffin putaway coupled with a Penn State hitting error made it 20-15. Trailing 23-16, the Boilermakers paired a block by Turner and Arthurs with a Cramer set into the corner to make it 23-18 and prompt a PSU timeout. A kill and an ace, however, gave the Nittany Lions the 25-18 win.

The Boilermakers jumped out to a 4-2 lead to start Set 3. A pair of Rebarchak kill and a block and overpass kill by Fisher accounted for the Purdue points. The Nittany Lions eventually tied the score at six and seven, but the Boilermakers pushed ahead, scoring eight of the next 11 points to make it 15-10 and force a PSU timeout. Turner, Arthurs and Rebarchak tallied kills in the rally, while Rebarchak and Arthurs teamed up on a block. Penn State pulled within four at 16-12, but would get no closer as Purdue wrapped up the set on a 9-4 run. A pair of blocks involving Arthurs, an ace by Fisher and kills by Griffin, Arthurs and Turner helped the Boilermakers to the 25-16 win. Purdue hit .323 in the set, while holding Penn State to a .056 effort. The Boilermakers also outblocked PSU 5-1 in the set, which feature two or more kills by five different Boilermaker players.

Six different players contributed offensively as Purdue outhit Penn State .294 to .128 in set four en route to a 25-18 victory. Turner served up two aces in the stanza, which forced the match to a decisive fifth set. Purdue led 3-1 in the early going after a Turner kill, a PSU error and a block by Rebarchak and Fisher. Penn State battled back and took a 7-5 lead, but the Boilermakers knotted things up at seven and eight, before putting together a 3-0 run to turn a 9-8 deficit into an 11-9 advantage. A ball handling error, a block by Arthurs and Rebarchak and a kill by Turner accounted for the rally. Purdue pushed the margin to five at 17-12 after back-to-back aces by Turner and a kill by Griffin. PSU rallied with three straight points prompting a Purdue timeout. The Boilermakers responded to the pause with a 7-2 run, surging ahead 24-17. Penn State halted the rally temporarily, but a hitting error sewed up the 25-18 win for Purdue.