Indiana Daily Student

IU volleyball faces defensive problems in loss to Purdue

<p>The Hoosiers circle up before their Feb. 13 match against Wisconsin. IU volleyball played Purdue at 5 p.m. Tuesday.</p>

The Hoosiers circle up before their Feb. 13 match against Wisconsin. IU volleyball played Purdue at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

IU volleyball fell in three sets to Purdue on Tuesday night, extending its losing streak to five and putting its season record at 2-9. 

The Hoosiers and Boilermakers looked fairly evenly matched in the first set, with the Boilermakers winning 25-20. The set had multiple long rallies displaying the Hoosiers’ back-row defensive skill. They performed well in receiving and passing, but the team had difficulty serving consistently.

IU also lacked strong blocks, only posting one in the first set compared to Purdue’s six. Many of Purdue’s blocks came against freshman outside hitter Tommi Stockham, who recorded two of IU’s eight kills in the first set.

“The biggest thing is going back to fundamentals,” junior outside hitter Breana Edwards said. “It looks great in practice. It’s looked great in games before. We’ve just got to get back in the mindset of those one-on-one battles.”

IU lost the second set 25-17 after being down 20-10. The Hoosiers were able to narrow the score thanks to unforced errors by the Boilermakers and a crucial block by Edwards and freshman middle blocker Savannah Kjolhede to keep their momentum going. 

Stockham continued to struggle in the second set, but kills from freshman middle blocker Leyla Blackwell, Edwards and Kjolhede brought the Hoosiers to 18 total kills by the end of the set. Blackwell hit .500 on the night with six kills.

IU notched eight kills in the third and final set, where it lost 25-14. Its season average is 10.78 kills per set.

The third set saw two kills by Blackwell in the first three points scored by IU, as well as blocks from Kjolhede and Edwards to tie twice before either team reached 10 points. However, the Hoosiers lost momentum soon after scoring 8 points and couldn’t come back.

“A lot of people want to make up reasons that things don’t go your way,” Aird said. “They were better than us. I didn’t do a great job of getting our group ready.”

Purdue outside hitters senior Caitlyn Newton and junior Grace Cleveland posed problems for IU with 11 and 12 kills, respectively. The Boilermakers hit .256 on the night while the Hoosiers hit .089.

“I knew what I was getting into,” Aird said. “I’m excited about the challenge of continuing to develop the group and hopefully put a little more pressure on them than we did tonight when we play them again.”

IU plays Purdue again at 4:30 p.m. Sunday in West Lafayette, Indiana.

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