WEST LAFAYETTE (Purdue Sports) — Despite holding No. 5 Wisconsin to a season low .218 hitting clip and being the first team to out block the Badgers, No. 16 Purdue (13-2, 2-2 Big Ten) was handed its first three-set loss (23-25, 19-25, 24-26) of the season on Saturday night. The Boilermakers nearly forced a fourth set, holding a 21-17 edge in the final stanza.
Wisconsin (10-2, 3-1 Big Ten), who returned four starters, plus its libero from its 2017 squad, hit a season-low .218, while tallying 42 assists and 40 digs. The Badgers also scored 57.0 points in the match, to just 51.0 by the Boilermakers.
Redshirt senior Sherridan Atkinson (11) and redshirt juniors Blake Mohler (6) and Shavona (6) Cuttino fueled the offense combining for 23 of Purdue’s 37 kills.
Adding to Purdue’s offense sparks was Hornung, who recorded a career-high five services ace to lead the match.
Defensively the Boilermakers edged Wisconsin 9-6 in blocks, the only team to do so this season. Cleveland out-blocked one of the Big Ten’s top blockers Dana Rettke, four stops to two, while registering nine kills and two digs. Cuttino and Mohler added three blocks while Atkinson chipped in two.
Altogether, Purdue finished the match with 37 kills, 36 assists, 35 digs and only committed 17 miscues to Wisconsin’s 21.
The Badgers wasted no time in setting the tempo for the match, jumping out to a 21-11 lead in the first set. With Wisconsin at set point, Purdue rallied for a 7-1 run, cutting the Badger’s advantage to single digits at 24-20. Freshman Marissa Hornung kept the run alive with a pair of service aces, brining Purdue within one, but a Boilermaker attacking error gave the set to the Badgers, 25-23.
Wisconsin continue its control to claim 25-19 second set, but Purdue regained its offensive moment in the third set. With the teams locked 9-9, the Boilermakers rattled off a 4-1 run to take the lead. Purdue utilized a trio of kills from freshman Grace Cleveland and sophomore Caitlyn Newton, pushing to a 21-17 lead, but Wisconsin rallied for a late 9-3 push to secure the sweep 26-24.
Purdue returns to action with a pair of road matches against Michigan and Michigan State next weekend.