COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Purdue used strong serving, an efficient offense and tough net defense to post a 3-0 sweep of Central Arkansas in the NCAA tournament first round Friday. The Boilermakers (21-11) won the match 25-15, 25-17, 25-13 to advance to the second round for the fourth consecutive season and ninth in the past 11 years.
Six different players posted four or more kills in the match led by sophomore Sam Epenesa's tally of eight. Sophomore Annie Drews added seven, while junior KiKi Jones and senior Catherine Rebarchak chipped in with six apiece. Junior Val Nichol tallied five putaways, while redshirt-freshman Faye Adelaja added four. As a team, the Boilers hit at a .312 clip, including a team-best .462 effort by Drews.
Defensively, senior Carly Cramer led the way with 10 digs, followed by senior Hilliary Fox, who added nine digs and a match-high three aces. Sophomore Amanda Neill added six digs and two aces. At the net, Jones was credited with eight stuffs, while Rebarchak added five and Nichol was a part of four.
The Boilermakers bested the Sugar Bears in all statistical categories including hitting percentage (.312 to .010), blocks (10-6) and aces (7-1).
The Boilers hit .348 and held the Sugar Bears to a .000 effort, thanks to four blocks, while Drews contributed five kills with no errors in a 25-15 Set 1 win. Fox got things started with two aces in the first three points as the Boilers jumped out to a six-point edge at 8-2 which also featured a pair of blocks by Jones. The Sugar Bears cut the margin to four at 11-7, but Drews turned in a pair of kills to push the Purdue edge to six again at 14-8. The Boilermakers used a 6-0 run, including an ace by Cramer, to take their largest lead of the stanza at 20-9. Central Arkansas scored six of the next eight to make it 22-15, but Purdue closed out the stanza with a kill by Drews and a putaway and solo stuff by Nichol.
Purdue carried the momentum into Set 2, hitting .320 to UCA's .000 effort in a 25-17 win. The Boilermakers scored the first five points of the set, including a pair of Epenesa putaways and a stuff by Rebarchak and Jones. Central Arkansas called a timeout and scored five of the next seven points to narrow the gap to two at 7-5. The Boilermakers countered with a 9-4 run, capitalizing on six Sugar Bear hitting errors to go ahead 16-9. Down 17-10, UCA mounted a comeback, eventually pulling within four at 20-16. A pair of kills by Rebarchak, one from Nichol and a pair of hitting errors capped a 25-17 Purdue win.
The Boilermakers rolled to a 25-13 Set 3 win to take the match. Four Purdue blocks along with kills by six different players carried the Boilers to the win. Epenesa, Jones and Rebarchak had three kills apiece in the stanza. All four stuffs came during the first 10 points of the set as Purdue took a 9-1 lead. An ace by Fox also highlighted the opening run. Back-to-back aces by Neill held the Boilers to a 14-3 edge. The Sugar Bears used a 6-3 run to cut the Purdue lead to eight at 17-9. Kills from Drews, Epenesa and Adelaja forced a UCA timeout at 20-9. Rebarchak added two kills and Epenesa added a third to give the Boilers their first shot at the set at 24-11. A Central Arkansas kill and a Boiler miscue kept the stanza going, but a Sugar Bear hitting error clinched the sweep at 25-13.