CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (Purdue Sports) — Powered by a match-leading performance from redshirt senior Sherridan Atkinson, No. 12 Purdue took a set off No. 4 Illinois, but the Illini recovered for a four-set victory at Huff Hall on Saturday night. Illinois claimed the Big Ten finale 25-18, 23-25, 25-22, 25-15.
The Boilermakers finish the 2018 regular season with a 23-8 overall record and a 12-8 mark in the Big Ten conference. Purdue will await its postseason fate until Sunday evening's NCAA Selection Show on ESPNU at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Atkinson led the Big Ten contest for a ninth consecutive time with 26 kills, adding 11 digs for her fifth career double-double. Sophomore Caitlyn Newton joined her as the only other Boilermaker to tally double-digit kills with 10.
As a team, the Boilermakers registered a .255 hitting percentage as redshirt freshman Hayley Bush handed out 45 assists to go along with nine digs, two kills on a .250 attack clip, and an assisted block.
Defensively, Purdue was led by freshman Marissa Hornung for the sixth consecutive match, this time with a team best 16 digs. Along the net, the Boilermakers were directed by redshirt junior Blake Mohler with three blocks, including a match-high two solo blocks.
The first set found the Illini up 7-3, but a kill from Atkinson sparked a 6-2 run for the Boilermakers tying the set at nine. From there the teams exchanged the next six points, knotting the score at 11 and again at 12, before consecutive kills from Jacqueline Quade paced Illinois to a three-point (15-12) lead. Five Purdue errors helped the Illini maintain their momentum and take the set 25-18.
Relentless, Purdue utilized a 3-0 run to take a 14-10 advantage in the second. Purdue extended its momentum with a 5-1 run highlighted by back-to-back kills from Atkinson and Newton. The senior and sophomore combined for 13 kills in the frame, keeping Purdue in control. The Boilermakers closed the set on Atkinson's 16th kill of the night.
With the match tied at one apiece, the teams opened the third set going point-for-point as they tied the stanza 11 times. Knotted at 22, Illinois claimed the last three points on a trio of Boilermaker miscues.
In the fourth set, Illinois controlled the action as the Illini opened with a 7-3 advantage. Fueled by a setter dump from Bush and a pair of Illini errors, the Boilermakers bounced back to come within two at 9-7 and again at 10-12, but Illinois answered back with a 7-1 run and eventually took the set 25-15.