WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — Purdue claimed two of the Big Ten's four weekly honors following its 2-0 weekend in which the Boilermakers took down No. 5 Minnesota and No. 10 Wisconsin. Sherridan Atkinson claimed her first career Big Ten accolade as she was named the conference's player of the week while Ashley Evans earned her second Big Ten Setter of the Week award of the season.
The duo led Purdue to historical efforts as for the first time in program history, Purdue defeated top-10 opponents on back-to-back days, both of which were in front of sell-out crowds at Holloway Gymnasium. The victory over Minnesota snapped an 11-match winning streak while the win against Wisconsin was the Badgers' first three-set loss of the season. Purdue now has 55 ranked wins under head coach Dave Shondell and of those wins, 40 were upsets. Of Purdue's 32 wins over ranked opponents in West Lafayette, Indiana, since 2003 when Shondell took over, the Boilermakers were the lesser-ranked team in 24 of them.
Sherridan Atkinson led Purdue hitters with 31 kills on the weekend and averaged 4.43 kills per set while also registering a .364 hitting percentage. The right side was a factor defensively as well, totaling nine blocks and 13 digs to average 1.29 blocks per set and 1.86 digs per set. She has torched opposing defenses in her last seven matches with hitting percentages north of .400 in five of them with at least 10 kills or more. She's hitting .418 in that stretch, averaging 3.85 kills per set with 104 total kills.
Ashley Evans set the offense to a .317 hitting percentage and averaged 14.57 assists per set with 102 assists total on the weekend. Including herself, four Boilermakers hit .300 or better over the course of the two matches with at least 20 swings. She set her middles to a .354 hitting percentage with 45 kills while her pin hitters registered a .299 hitting percentage with 69 kills. Evans caught defenses off-guard for 10 kills on 20 swings with just four errors to earn a .300 hitting percentage. Her double-double against Wisconsin is her ninth of the season and she nearly registered a triple-double against Minnesota as she finished with 58 assists, eight kills and eight digs.
The honorees led an offense that picked apart two of the best defensive units in the Big Ten entering the weekend. Wisconsin and Minnesota were ranked two and three in the league, holding opponents to hitting percentages of .163 and .180 respectively this season. The Badgers averaged 2.71 blocks per set to rank third while the Gophers blocked 2.62 balls per set to own the league's fourth best average. Minnesota also began Friday night's match with the conference's top digs per set average of 16.51.