NCAA women's volleyball: Purdue topples No. 5 Minnesota for Gophers' first loss in six weeks
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - No. 21 Purdue's (19-7, 9-6 B1G) fourth sell-out crowd of the season witnessed a four-set upset of No. 5 Minnesota (23-4, 12-3 B1G) as the Boilermakers stunned the Golden Gophers 25-23, 21-25, 28-26, 25-14 at Holloway Gymnasium. The victory snaps an 11-game winning streak by the Golden Gophers and is Purdue's second victory of the season over a ranked opponent.
"When last season was over and I looked at what we had coming back and I knew we had some recruits coming in that could help us in some small ways, I felt like this was a top-10 team," said head coach Dave Shondell. "Looking Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and some other teams, I felt like there was no reason we shouldn't be right in those matches with those teams - and we have been, we just haven't won many of them. Tonight we got one that I think will send a message that we're for real."
Ashley Evans was masterful as the redshirt senior set the offense to a .317 hitting percentage and found four hitters for double-digit kills. She finished the match with 58 assists, eight kills, eight digs and a block. Sherridan Atkinson led the Boilermakers with 20.5 points fueled by 17 kills, a .293 hitting percentage an ace and four blocks to go along with eight digs. Danielle Cuttino was dominant offensively and defensively as she registered 15 kills, a .324 hitting percentage and six blocks. Azariah Stahl was just a kill and a dig shy of a double-double and denied Minnesota twice at the net.
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Blake Mohler and Caitlyn Newton were the x-factors for Purdue as Mohler registered 14 kills on 24 swings with just two errors to hit .500 with two blocks while Newton found the floor 12 times on 27 swings to hit .296 with a block. Purdue out-hit the nations fifth-ranked team .317 to .234, registering 20-plus kills in the first, third and fourth sets. The Boilermakers were set the tone with their offense coming out of intermission as they hit .333 with 22 kills in the third set and .425 with 21 kills in the fourth.
Brooke Peters would not be beaten in the first set as she tallied 10 digs to lead a defense that held the Gophers to a .143 hitting percentage in the opening stanza. The first-year libero finished with a career-best 24 digs on the night marking her second straight match with 20 digs or more. Jena Otec joined Peters as the only other Boilermaker to ace the Gophers and added eight digs to her line as well.
An exciting weekend in Holloway Gymnasium continues Saturday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. ET as the Boilermakers are set to take on No. 10 Wisconsin in their only meeting of the 2017 season.