WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — For a second-straight year, No. 17 Purdue took No. 9 Penn State to four sets, but it was not enough as the Nittany Lions defeated the Boilermakers, 3-1 (28-26, 24-26, 22-25, 21-25) on Wednesday night.
Redshirt freshman Hayley Bush set the offense to 50 assists, while connecting with senior Sherridan Atkinson, freshman Grace Cleveland, sophomore Caitlyn Newton and redshirt junior Blake Mohler 53 times. Atkinson finished the match with 15 kills, seven digs and an ace, followed by Cleveland with 14 kills and two blocks. Newton added 13 putaways, while Mohler finished the night with 11 kills and a team-best .421 hitting clip.
Senior libero Brooke Peters led the defense with a match-high 29 digs and an ace. Sophomore Jena Otec chipped in 11 digs to tie her career-high performance set against Wyoming (September 2) last season. Freshman Marissa Hornung rounded out the Boilermakers in double-digit digs with 10.
It was a scrappy match on both sides of the net, with many rallies going minutes on end. The first set saw 15 ties and 10 lead changes between two of the nation's best programs. With the set knotted at 26, an Atkinson service ace capitalized on a Penn State attack error, awarding the frame to Purdue, 28-26.
The second set was also tightly contested until Penn State broke a 24-24 tie with a kill from Taylor Leath and a Purdue setting error.
Coming out of the break, Purdue delivered 16 kills to Penn State's 15, but eight Boilermaker miscues gave the Nittany Lions the set, 25-22.
Purdue threatened Penn State's lead in the fourth frame, tying the Nittany Lions at 11 and again 18, but three more Boilermaker errors paved the way for a Penn State victory. The visiting squad secured the final stanza, 25-21.
The Boilermakers are back in action on Saturday as they visit Iowa for a Saturday night contest. First serve is slated for 8 p.m. ET.