WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — For the first time since 2013, the No. 14 Purdue volleyball team is headed to the NCAA Regionals after taking down No. 16 Marquette, 3-1 (22-25, 25-16, 25-17, 25-13), at Holloway Gymnasium Saturday night.
Dominating Marquette in the final three sets, Purdue closed out the night with a .341 hitting percentage while holding the Golden Eagles to just a .146 clip. Meanwhile at the net, the Boilermakers out blocked Marquette 14-5, which was led by a career-high seven block assists by sophomore Jael Johnson.
Caitlyn Newton led the team with a commanding 23.5 points in the match after 23 kills on 54 attempts. The performance marked the junior's most kills in a match since earning 24 at Kentucky (9/18/19). Furthermore, with Jena Otec's two aces against Marquette, the junior became the first Boilermaker since 1993 to notch 50 in a single season (last: Carey Burvis, 1993).
HOW IT HAPPENED
SET 1 (22-25) | Purdue opened with the first two points on a Newton kill and block from redshirt senior Shavona Cuttino and sophomore Grace Cleveland, but consecutive Purdue attack errors knotted the score at two. From there the teams traded points, tying the set seven times. Even at 10, a kill from Gwyn Jones sparked a 3-0 run for the Golden Eagles, forcing Purdue to at timeout. Regrouped, Purdue came within two at 14-12, but Marquette stalled the Boilermakers' momentum with another 3-0 run. With both teams hitting over .219 and delivering 15 kills, Purdue and Marquette kept it close. However, the Boilermakers could not make up for eight attack errors, giving the set to the Golden Eagles. Overall, the frame was highlighted by eight kills from Newton.
SET 2 (25-16) | Purdue and Marquette carried the tournament competitiveness over to the second frame, tying the score nine times. Knotted at 10, Purdue rattled off three consecutive points with kills from Newton and redshirt senior Blake Mohler and a Cleveland, pushing Marquette to a timeout. Back on the court, the Boilermakers kept their momentum going, extending to a 6-0 run. Outhitting Marquette, .289 to .031, the Boilermakers cruised to a 25-16 set victory. Mohler paced the successful Purdue offense with four kills on five attempts for a .600 hitting percentage. Ellis strengthened the effort with three errorless kills and a .750 hitting percentage.
SET 3 (25-17) | Fueled by a Cleveland kill, Purdue jumped out to a 6-3 lead before Marquette answered back with a 6-2 rally of its own. Knotted at 12, the teams went back-and-forth until a block by Ellis and Mohler sparked a 6-0 run for the Boilermakers. Leading 20-14, Purdue claimed five of the last eight points of the set to take the lead, 2-1. Overall, the Boilermakers outhit the Golden Eagles .464 to .156.
SET 4 (25-13) | Capitalizing on a trio of Marquette attack errors, Purdue pushed to a 9-5 edge. A kill from Newton sparked an 8-0 for the Boilermakers, pushing the advantage to 17-7. The run was highlighted by Otec's pair of aces. The Golden Eagles answered back with a 3-1 run, but Purdue would maintain control with a .429 hitting percentage, securing a 25-13 final set victory.
The No. 14 Boilermakers move on to their ninth Sweet 16 program appearance to face No.1 Baylor at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas on Friday.