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Thursday, April 18
The Indiana Daily Student

sports volleyball

2 ranked teams on tap as volleyball looks to get back on track in conference play

The IU volleyball team is putting last weekend behind it to try to take two steps forward against in-state rival Purdue on Friday, and Illinois on Saturday.

The Hoosiers will head north to West Lafayette, where they hope to defeat the rival Boilermakers. The Hoosiers lost at home earlier this season against No. 18 Purdue, but they are excited for another chance to add a win to the record.

“I think we’re really excited, and more than anything we want to win there,” said sophomore outside hitter Taylor Wittmer. “We’re motivated to come out and get a win. You want to kill your rival. We know that we worked so hard and that all of our hard work can pay off, and we need to dominate.”

The Hoosiers are expecting an energetic and lively audience in West Lafayette and have prepared themselves all this week for the intense environment. Senior middle blocker Erica Short said the team practiced with Purdue’s fight song playing to prepare them for the loud fans and crowded stands.

Last weekend was a disappointment when the Hoosiers were defeated by Michigan State after maintaining momentum built from a four-game win streak, a team Wittmer said the Hoosiers knew they were better than.

Senior captain and defensive specialist Juli Pierce added the Hoosiers lost focus after stringing together some impressive results.

“We didn’t have the fight that we had in the past few matches, and I think that it’s rare for us,” Pierce said. “We’ve been fighting so long lately, and we got so unfocused and couldn’t get anything started.”

The players said they had no excuse for their loss to the Spartans after playing hard two weeks ago at No. 1 Penn State.

“We didn’t play together, and we couldn’t get it all together for consecutive points,” Wittmer said. “We expected more out of ourselves.”

The Hoosiers stand 6-8 in the Big Ten, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel – one that could lead to the NCAA Tournament.

“I really don’t consider wins and losses,” Short said. “I take it one game at a time. In the back of my head, I know that we have to win at least nine games to get to the tournament, so I take one match at a time.”

The Hoosiers have played Purdue once before and knows exactly what they’re up against. They fought hard the first time to force the match into five sets, and they plan to do the same this time, with one difference: They want to win.

“I’m confident now that we’re playing Purdue,” Pierce said. “(Last time) we lost in five (sets), and it really could’ve gone either way, and this time it’s going to go our way.”

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