More than 2,500 fans witnessed Indiana volleyball fight for five sets against No. 9 Purdue on Friday in Bloomington. Despite Indiana giving its best effort, the Hoosiers fell 3-2 to the Boilermakers in the annual rivalry matchup. On Sunday, Indiana bounced back to defeat Michigan State and split the weekend 1-1.
The attendance at Friday’s intrastate matchup — officially counted at 2,512 — was the highest ever at Wilkinson Hall. Indiana dedicated the match to the 50th anniversary of Title IX and gifted the first 500 fans with a free Indiana volleyball T-shirt.
Indiana began the night on a 4-1 run in the first set, with sophomore outside hitter Kenzie Daffinee at the service. Daffinee delivered a service ace during the run alongside junior middle blocker Savannah Kjolhede’s two kills. Daffinee came off the bench and brought a spark of energy for the Hoosiers early in the first set.
“Kenzie is a girl that we can always count on with her serve," senior defensive specialist Paula Cerame said at the post-game presser. “She has improved tons since last year, so whenever she comes on the court, we know what she is going to bring.”
Indiana would win the first game by going on a 3-point run to close the set 26-24. The Boilermakers responded in the second set with a close win, 25-22, to tie it up.
Daffinee returned to the service line for the top of the third set and guided Indiana to a 4-0 start. With a service ace by sophomore outside hitter Camryn Haworth, Indiana’s lead extended to 10-5. Indiana dominated the rest of the third set as it secured a 25-15 win.
Purdue responded with a 10-0 run in the fourth set and tied the score at 2-2 with a 25-15 set win.
With the match now tied 2-2, both teams were looking to take the final set and win the game. Before the decisive fifth set began, however, Indiana would take the minutes to reset.
“We came back towards our locker room, and we said it's 0-0," said Cerame. “We have to refocus and rekindle our energy.”
With an attack error by freshman Candela Alonso-Corcelles and a kill by Purdue freshman outside hitter Eva Hudson, the Hoosiers trailed 13-8 in the fifth set — played to only 15 points. Indiana was unable to respond, and Purdue would go on to win the set 15-10 and the match 3-2.
“I was really proud of the kids’ effort," head coach Steve Aird said. “I thought we played hard. We did a lot of really good things and just came up a little bit short.”
In May 2022, the Indiana Daily Student published an investigation regarding Indiana volleyball head coach Steve Aird. The investigation’s allegations stem from interviews with six women who used to play for Aird — four of which at Indiana. They alleged the IU program under Aird is built around punishment and dismissiveness of mental abuse.
Indiana returned to Wilkinson Hall less than 48 hours later to face Michigan State. The Hoosiers would collect their third conference win in a five-set battle.
Before the match, a moment was taken to recognize Cerame for collecting 1,000 career digs. She stood beside her parents in the center of the court as the crowd cheered her on. Over the course of the match against the Spartans, Cerame would add another 26 digs to her total.
It was a big night for many other Hoosiers in the win, including redshirt junior outside hitter Ashley Zulaf who achieved a career-high seven kills accompanied by three assists, three blocks and two digs.
Additionally, sophomore outside hitter Mady Saris reached 21 kills against Michigan State and sophomore outside hitter Camryn Haworth collected a double-double with 46 assists and 12 digs.
“A good win for the program,” Aird said. “Any win is a good win, certainly a third Big 10 win of the season”.
Indiana will head on the road to face Michigan at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 in Ann Arbor for its next match.