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Purdue Volleyball falls to Northwestern Wildcats 3-2

EVANSTON, Ill. — Sophomore Tiffany Fisher racked up a match-high 17 kills, while hitting .481 on the night, and redshirt sophomore Blair Bashen pulled up 33 digs, but Purdue wound up on the short end of another five set match Saturday night. Northwestern edged the Boilermaker volleyball team 25-18, 17-25, 25-23, 20-25, 15-6 to drop Purdue to 9-8 overall and 1-5 in Big Ten play.

3664541Fisher led the offense with 17 putaways, while senior Carrie Gurnell and freshman Ariel Turner added 13 apiece. Redshirt junior Lisa Pierce tacked on nine kills in the effort. Defensively, Bashen led the way with 33 saves, while freshman Carly Cramer and sophomore Emily Ehlers each added nine. Junior Jaclyn Hart pulled up eight and added three solo blocks to the team’s tally. Junior Kristen Arthurs paced Purdue at the net with four stuffs.

Northwestern started the fifth and deciding set with six straight points. A pair of Wildcat hitting errors put Purdue on the board. The Boilermakers used a pair of blocks, including a solo effort by Hart, to help close the gap to three at 8-5. From there, however, Northwestern rattled off seven of the next eight to take the match. Arthurs provided the lone Boilermaker kill in the final stretch of the 15-6 loss.

The Wildcats led Set 1 from start to finish, save ties at four and five. Trailing 3-0, Purdue clawed back to the first tie with help from three Fisher putaways. After the second knot up, Northwestern pushed its margin to five at 11-6 after a string of Boilermaker miscues. A kill by Turner and a block by Turner and freshman Anna Drewry cut the deficit to two at 11-9, but the Wildcats responded with eight of the next 10 points to go up 19-11. Purdue would get no closer than six the rest of the way, despite thwarting two NU set point chances after falling behind 24-16. A Boilermaker hitting error capped the 25-18 win for the Wildcats. Fisher had seven of Purdue’s 13 kills in the stanza.

Purdue bounced back in Set 2, however, taking an early 8-3 lead in the stanza, prompting a Northwestern timeout. The Boilermakers capitalized on a trio of Wildcat hitting errors and a pair of blocks by redshirt junior Lisa Pierce and Arthurs en route to a 14-6 advantage. Northwestern narrowed the gap to four at 18-14, but Purdue finished the set with seven of the next 10 points. Two kills each by Pierce and Gurnell brought the Boilermakers to set point at 24-17. Fisher pounded down the final point in the 25-17 win.
The teams split the first 12 points of the third set, before Northwestern went ahead 7-6. After losing the lead, Purdue rattled off seven straight points to go up 13-7. Gurnell tallied two kills and a block in the stretch, while Northwestern contributed three errors. The Wildcats used a 7-2 run to cut pull within one at 15-14, but Purdue used a block and a kill by Fisher and an ace by freshman Courtney Gosewisch to push the margin back to three at 18-15. Northwestern countered with four straight to take a 19-18 lead. The Boilermakers fought back with four of the next six points to regain the advantage at 22-21 on a block by Drewry and Pierce. The Wildcats snagged the set away with four of the next five points in the 25-23 win.

Northwestern led 9-6 in Set four, but Purdue scored six of the next eight to push into the lead at 12-11 on a Gurnell putdown. The teams tied at 12, 13, 14 and 15, before the Wildcats recaptured the advantage at 16-15 on a Boilermaker hitting error. Purdue responded with four straight points, including two kills each by Gurnell and Pierce, to go up 19-16. Northwestern made it 20-18, but the Boilermakers posted three of the next four points, including two Gurnell kills, to get their first shot at the set at 24-19. NU thwarted the first effort, but a Turner putaway extended the match with a 25-20 Purdue win. Gurnell posted seven kills in the stanza, while Pierce and Turner each added five.

The Boilermakers return to action at 7 p.m. Friday when they take on the Wisconsin Badgers in West Lafayette.

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 September 2020