Who: Penn State (16-3, 4-2 B1G, #7 AVCA) vs. Purdue (16-2, 6-0 B1G, #14 AVCA)
Where Holloway Gymnasium – West Lafayette, Ind.
When: Friday, Oct. 17: 8 p.m. vs. Penn State
TV: Big Ten Network (Mike Wolf and Audrey Flaugh)
Facts and Fiction
- Fact: Penn State has won 50 of the 56 matches played to date in the series — this despite Purdue having won five of the first six matches in the series, which started on Nov. 7, 1981. Penn State won 42 consecutive matches until the infamous “Lost Weekend” in October, 2010, when Purdue downed Penn State 3-2 (25-21, 25-18, 16-25, 18-25, 11-15) — the first time Purdue had defeated Penn State since 1987 — and Indiana followed up the next evening with a 3-1 victory over the Nittany Lions(19-25, 25-27, 25-18, 24-26). That was another streak-breaker, as the Hoosiers, after 40 consecutive losses to Penn State, won for the first ever in a series that started in 1982. took.
- Fact: If Purdue wins tonight, it will put them at 17-2 for the season, which would tie the 1985 season for second-best start in program history (in 1982, Purdue started 19-0).
- “Some weeks you may feel confident going in and you’d like to think you’re going to win your matches at home, but we didn’t take care of the ball in the match with Illinois and you move on,” said head coach Russ Rose. “You don’t look back. You can’t worry. I’m a big believer in ‘One lost can’t beat you twice.’ You identify to the people this is what we need to get better at…and you try and get better.” Russ Rose in an interview with Anita Nham, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer, on 10-16-14.
- “I want to find a lineup that’s smooth,” Rose said. “I think we play choppy at times. Times we look OK and other times we look out of sync. I’m still trying to find a lineup that gives the best chance to lay our highest level over a longer period of time. . . .” Russ Rose in an interview with Patrick Kowalski, Daily Collegian Staff Writer, on October 17, 2014.
- “[We need to work on] just being better teammates. I think Coach talked about it a lot that we’re great players, but we haven’t really been able to come together as a team very often, so focusing on the team aspect instead of trying to do it individually,” said Megan Courtney. “[It’s also] just little things at practice. Trying to finish drills that don’t necessary mean much in practice because it carries over to games. It was clear against Illinois that we didn’t finish up the first game like we should of, which could have swung the momentum for the game, but we just need to be able to start fast and end fast and be able to close, so that’s what we’ve been working on.” Megan Courtney in an interview with Anita Nham, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer, on 10-16-14.
- “It’s been a tough situation when the expectations are as high as they are and the preseason, we’re ranked No. 1 in the country based on winning last year’s national championship,” said Rose. “I think it’s a real task for some people to not believe the press clippings, but what they do when the other teams are really good. That’s the part of the equation. The Big Ten is an incredibly tough conference and everybody is beating everybody. Purdue is the only team hasn’t suffered a loss yet this season. We have seven more weeks of Big Ten play, so that’s a lot of matches.” Russ Rose in an interview with Anita Nham, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer, on 10-16-14.
- “We scored a lot of points [in the first game], we blocked better. We had some areas where I thought we were going to do some things and surprisingly enough, [Illinois] battled a little better than we did,” head coach Russ Rose said. “In the beginning of the year, I had Illinois as the team to win the conference.” Russ Rose in an interview with Samantha DelRosso, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer, on 10-12-14 following Penn State’s loss to Illinois.
- “Her energy is always good. She is a confident, young person. She hit really well [and] took some good swings,” Rose said. “Considering it was a big match with a lot of people and a lot of importance, she really represented herself well.” Russ Rose talking about 6-3 Fr. MH Haleigh Washington in an interview with Samantha DelRosso, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer, on 10-12-14, following Penn State’s loss to Illinois.
Below is our “Stat Joust” comparing team and individual rankings for Penn State and its upcoming opponents: Purdue and Indiana. A few things jump out: Penn State and Purdue are, statistically, very good teams. Of course, Purdue has had a fairly soft schedule to date, but still, they clearly have some talent. Will they end the season at the top of the B1G? Who knows — but we wouldn’t bet against them on Friday night versus Penn State (of course, we wouldn’t bet for them, either, as we don’t bet.)
Another thing that jumps out is how close Indiana and Penn State are in team blocking and team service aces (OK, not so close on team service aces, but Indiana ranks second in the B1G.)