volleyball

Three things to know before IU volleyball faces No. 20 Purdue



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IU celebrates a crucial point against Northwestern on Oct. 5 at Wilkinson Hall. Joy Burton Buy Photos

Following a 1-1 weekend, the IU volleyball team is back in action for its first Wednesday night game of the season as No. 20 Purdue visits Wilkinson Hall. Later this month, the two teams will face each other again in West Lafayette.

Ahead of Wednesday night’s in-state matchup, here are three things to know:

Purdue has dominated this rivalry as of late.

After IU’s Saturday night win over Northwestern, head coach Steve Aird made note of the recent lack of competition in the IU-Purdue volleyball rivalry and his desire to turn the tide.

In fact, Purdue has beaten IU in 13 consecutive matches. The last time the Hoosiers came out on top dates back to Oct. 16, 2012.

While the majority of the matches between the two schools have been decided in three sets, both of last season’s matchups were close ones. In Aird’s first season as head coach, IU took Purdue to five sets in each of its meetings a year ago.

Both teams sit in nearly identical conference positions.

Although it’s early in conference play, both teams enter Wednesday’s match looking for a win in order to jump-start their conference standings. The Hoosiers and Boilermakers are each 1-3 in the Big Ten, having won and lost to the same exact teams.

Like IU, Purdue opened conference play with road matches at Minnesota and Wisconsin. After beating Northwestern at home, Purdue lost in four sets Sunday to then-No. 18 Illinois, who IU lost to two nights prior.

Both teams enter Sunday with aspirations to pick up a much-needed second Big Ten victory. For Purdue, it’s one of the few opportunities in the conference to grab a win over an unranked opponent. And for IU, it’s a chance to make the most of its home court advantage and add a giant boost to its resume.

Will IU be without two key players?

The availability of two veteran players for IU on Wednesday night remains to be seen. Senior outside hitter Kendall Beerman and senior middle blocker Hayden Huybers both did not play in IU’s last match.

Beerman has been in and out of matches all year long as she continues to work her way back from a torn ACL she suffered last season. Huybers is dealing with an upper body injury that has kept her out of two straight matches.

Beerman brings a spark to IU’s offense with her arm strength and ability to put balls home. Huybers also has that ability, while providing solid defense at the net for the Hoosiers. In last season’s meetings against Purdue, Huybers notched 19 kills and nine blocks between the two matches.

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