For another look at this weekend’s top matches to watch, click or tap here.
Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned rematch? Wisconsin and Purdue will face off for the second time this season after the Boilermakers upset the Badgers in four sets on Oct. 31. It was Wisconsin’s second loss of the season. This game has more implications though than just the Badgers getting redemption. Wisconsin currently sits on top of the Big Ten standings at 12-2 with just one less loss than Nebraska and Minnesota. So, another loss would give up their solo first place spot here. Purdue is fourth, but they are also sitting right on the verge of the top 10 and are fighting for a favorable position in the eyes of the NCAA volleyball committee. Selections for the tournament are just a few weeks away on Nov. 28, so this will be an important battle for them. Two wins over Wisconsin, a team that the committee ranked in the top three, would be really impressive for Purdue.
In their four-set win over the Badgers in October, the Boilermakers outblocked Wisconsin 16 to 7 and put up four aces in the win. Those two stat lines were most likely extremely vital. Caitlyn Newton and Grace Cleveland led offensively with 17 and 15 kills respectively, but Raven Colvin secured a career-setting performance, with 11 total stuffs. Among them were 10 block assists, which not only are a career-best, but the third-most by a Boilermaker in a four-set match in Purdue history.
Wisconsin has long been known as a powerful blocking team, especially with Dana Rettke at the net for the past few years. But they were outblocked in the loss and Purdue currently ranks second in the nation with 2.89 blocks per set. So one of the best blocking teams in the NCAA, despite their four losses in the Big Ten.
You can expect Wisconsin to come out strong. The loss to Purdue was an off-day for the Badgers. They struggled offensively and their typical aggressive service pressure was pretty much non-existent. If they play even remotely close to their normal performances, this will be a tough team for Purdue to handle. They are the No. 4 team in the nation for a reason, and when all of their components are on, it is a pretty scary sight for their opponents.
Either way, a great matchup with some big-time implications.