Oct. 17, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
The Indiana University volleyball team improved to 13-7 overall and 5-4 in the Big Ten with a 3-1 win over Purdue Wednesday night to bring the Monon Spike back to Bloomington. It marked Hoosier volleyball's debut on the Big Ten Network.
"I am so happy to be where we are right now, not for me, but for these players," said Head Coach Sherry Dunbar. "To be able to see all their hard work through the summer pay off, it's just great. Especially for these seniors, beating Purdue is a big deal to them and winning the (Monon) Spike, it's great. Having it here for a year is awesome and something we talked about and what it meant to our program."
Sophomore Kelsey Hall delivered a match-high 17 kills on the night, tying her career high. Senior Lauren Ditteon and Freshman Ashley Benson also contributed double-digit kill totals, recording 15 and 14 put-aways, respectively. Senior Juli Pierce, who was recognized before the match for notching her 1,000th career dig, posted her second consecutive 20-dig performance Wednesday night.
Things did not look good early for the Hoosiers as Purdue held what looked like an insurmountable 26-19 lead. However, IU took five of the next seven points before the Boilermakers took a timeout at 28-24. While there was a break in action, the momentum did not wary, and Indiana grabbed the next five points for a 29-28 advantage following a solo block by Benson. After a Purdue kill knotted the score at 29-29, a pair of Boilermaker errors handed IU the 31-29 come-from-behind victory in game one.
"To have an in-state rival that is a true rival, it's great," said Dunbar. "It's a recruiting rival, it's a university rival, and definitely a sports rivalry in every sport. So we just talked about pride and representing the Cream and Crimson. I could tell they (her players) were ready to play, they just had that attitude about them."
Game two was not as successful for the Hoosiers, hitting a negative efficiency. The 30-21 game-two loss proved to be just a bump in the road though.
That bump seemed to grow in game three when Purdue jumped out to a 9-5 edge.. Once again, the Hoosiers fought back, however, taking a lead that they would not relinquish at the television timeout, 15-14. Freshman Morgan Miller was inserted into the lineup and was the key cog in Indiana's turnaround. She served tough and dug several balls. Junior Jessica Langert was also called upon to serve in games three and four, making a big difference by serving hard and deep into the Purdue backcourt. Game three was dominated by Hall and her nine terminations on 13 swings with just one error (.615). Pierce was also impressive in the third game, digging nine balls in the 30-25 triumph.
"Morgan (Miller) has had some good practices lately, so I went with her," said Dunbar. "She served some aggressive balls and played aggressive defense. I am happy for her to play like this and see how all her hard work is paying off. Jess (Langert) also came in and served some good balls for us. To have more people contribute, it just shows that we have some depth on this team."
The Cream and Crimson continued to feed off the energy of the crowd in game four, hitting a match-high .260 in the match-clinching fourth game. Both squads put together several lengthy runs as the lead switched hands four times and the score was tied a dozen times. Junior Erica Short was struggling for most of the match, but came through in the clutch down the stretch in game four. With the score tied at 24-24, the Orrville, Ohio native connected on a big kill down the line to give the Hoosiers the lead for good. In fitting fashion, the star of the night, Kelsey Hall, finished off the Boilermakers with a kill for the 30-26 victory.
"We talked a lot about intense defense and how that would fuel our energy in our offense," said Dunbar. "Especially in games three and four, I thought our defense made the difference in the match."
The Hoosiers will hop on a plane early Thursday evening en route to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Friday night's match with the Michigan Wolverines will begin at 7 p.m. ET.