WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The No. 22 Purdue volleyball team pulled out a gutsy five-set win over Pittsburgh, fighting off several Panther rallies in the match. The Boilermakers won the match 25-13, 21-25, 25-18, 17-25, 15-11 to move to 5-2 on the season.
Sophomore Annie Drews led the way with 12 kills, while junior Val Nichol also reach double-digits with 10. Junior KiKi Jones added nine kills, while sophomore Sam Epenesa and redshirt senior Katie Griffin chipped in eight and seven respectively. Nichol narrowly missed the triple double, adding 19 assists and nine digs to tallies.
Defensively, redshirt senior libero Carly Cramer paced the team with 15 digs, followed by redshirt senior setter Rachel Davis and sophomore Amanda Neill, who managed 10 apiece. At the net, redshirt freshman Faye Adelaja put up 11 blocks, marking the first time a Purdue player has tallied 10 or more stuffs in a match since 2010 (Kristen Arthurs, 12 vs. Michigan, 10/23/10). Jones added six blocks as Purdue outdid the Panthers at the net, 17-14.
The Boilers scored three of the first four points of the decisive fifth set, but soon found themselves on the short end of a 6-4 score. Purdue rallied to take a 10-7 lead as Griffin, Nichol and Adelaja put away kills. A Pittsburgh service error and Griffin kill made it 12-8. Another serving miscue and a stuff by Adelaja and Drews put the Boilermakers on the hill at 14-10. Drews pounded down her final kill to end it at 15-11.
Then in the night game against USF, the Boilermaker volleyball team won its fifth straight match and clinched the USF Invitational title with a 3-0 sweep of the host USF Bulls. Purdue won the match 25-12, 25-21, 25-19 thanks to a strong blocking effort and an offensive attack that saw six different players post five or more kills.
Junior Val Nichol, sophomore Annie Drews and redshirt freshman Faye Adelaja led the Boilers with seven kills apiece. Sophomore Sam Epenesa and redshirt senior Katie Griffin added six putaways each and junior KiKi Jones rounded out the offense with five kills. Adelaja again paced the team at the net, putting up nine blocks as Purdue outblocked USF 12-5.
Defensively, senior libero Carly Cramer posted 13 digs to go with her match-high four aces. Nichol rounded out a double-double with 11 digs to go with 16 assists. Nichol, Jones and Drews were named to the all-tournament team for their efforts.
No. 22 Purdue (6-2) is back in action at 7 p.m. Friday when the team faces off with Syracuse to close Day 1 of the Active Ankle Challenge on Belin Court.
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