EAST LANSING, Mich. (Purdue Sports) — The No. 16 Purdue volleyball team continues to show its resilience, securing a five-set thriller against Michigan State (14-15, 5-14 Big Ten) Friday night. After falling behind two sets to one, the Boilermakers (22-7, 14-6 Big Ten) stormed back to beat the Spartans, 19-25, 25-21, 17-25, 25-20, 15-11 at Jenison Field House.
The match gives Purdue 14 conference wins this season, its best performance since the Boilermakers' 16 league wins in 2011.
Purdue's victorious efforts were guided by junior Caitlyn Newton and sophomore Grace Cleveland as the finished with 18 and 17 kill, respectively. Sophomore Jael Johnson followed with eight kills.
As a team, the Boilermakers were out hit (.197-.244), out dug (53-54) and out blocked (11-12), but a dominate serving effort made the difference. Purdue posted five service aces with only six errors, while Michigan State finished the night with two aces and 14 service errors.
HOW IT HAPPENED
SET 1 (25-19) | Capitalizing on three Purdue attack errors, Michigan State jumped out to a 6-2 edge and never looked back. Outhitting the Boilermakers .406 to .152, the Spartans pushed their advantage to as many as nine. With MSU leading 24-16, a kill from sophomore Jael Johnson sparked a 3-0 Boilermaker run, but the Spartans stalled Purdue with a kill from Meredith Norris. Overall, Newton led all student-athletes with six kills in the set.
SET 2 (25-21) | Utilizing a 5-2 opening run, the Boilermakers jumped out to a 10-7 lead, forcing the Spartans to a timeout. Purdue maintained its edge with a 5-2 run, highlighted by kills from Newton and Cleveland and an ace from junior Jena Otec. Winning the race to 20, the Boilermakers held off a 4-0 Spartan run, collecting the set on a pair of Cleveland kills and a MSU service error. Cleveland had six kills in the frame, while the Boilermakers delivered four assisted blocks to Michigan State's two.
SET 3 (25-17) | The teams went point-for-point, tying the set eight times. Purdue could not overcome a .061 hitting %, giving the set to the Spartans 25-17.
SET 4 (25-20) | The Boilermakers pushed to a 6-3 opening lead and utilized small rallies to maintain its advantage. Neither team hit particularly well in the frame – Purdue hit .129 (10-6-31) compared to just .024 for the Spartans (11-10-41). The Boilermakers also held a slight 4-3 edge in blocks.
SET 5 (15-11) | Purdue used a 5-0 run to take a 6-1 lead in the fifth. Once again kills from Cleveland and Newton fueled the Boilermakers' advantage, pushing Purdue to an 8-4 advantage. From there, the conference foes traded points, until MSU sparked for a 3-1 run to come within one at 11-10. Purdue stalled the Spartans with a pair of Cleveland kills, forcing MSU to a timeout. Back on the court, Purdue secured its win with a kill from Cleveland and an ace from Newton.
The Boilermakers will learn their postseason fate on Sunday, Dec. 1. Purdue invites fans, friends and family to join them in a watch party at the Spurgeon Club in Mackey Arena.