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A Volleyball Top 15 Match-up Preview: #3 Nebraska vs #12 Purdue

Jordan Opp

#3 Nebraska (16-1, B1G 8-0) vs #12 Purdue (15-3, B1G 6-2)
When: Wednesday, October 19 2022, 7 pm (CT)
Where: West Lafayette, IN
Video: BTN
Radio: Husker Radio Network

#3 Nebraska (16-1, B1G 8-0)

#1 Nicklin Hames 5’10’’ SR Setter
#2 Kenzie Knuckles 5’8’’ SR DS/L
#4 Anni Evans 5’9’’ JR Setter
#5 Bekka Allick 6’4’’ FR MB
#7 Maisie Boesiger 5’6’’ FR DS/L
#8 Lexi Rodriguez 5’5’’ SO DS/L
#9 Kennedi Orr 6’0’’ SO Setter
#10 Madi Kubik 6’3’’ SR OH
#13 Whitney Lauenstein 6’2’’ SO OH
#14 Ally Batenhorst 6’5’’ SO OH
#22 Lindsay Krause 6’4’’ SO OH
#23 Kaitlyn Hord 6’4’’ SR MB
#33 Hayden Kubik 6’2’’ FR OH
#44 Maggie Mendelson 6’5’’ FR MB

#12 Purdue (15-3, B1G 6-2)

Key Win: 3-1 vs Utah
3-0 vs #9 Minnesota
Key Loss: 0-3 vs #2 Louisville
1-3 vs #7 Wisconsin
0-3 vs Maryland

Purdue graduated everyone who was a contributor, and I mean everyone. The players that remain from last season were role players rather than consistent point scorers. They have highs and lows this season largely because they are led heavily by a freshman and a supporting group that is not used to carrying the load.

They are led in attempts and kills per set by freshman outside hitter Eva Hudson. Hudson is set two to three times more than any other player. She averages 4.68 kills per set. The only player that is set half as much as her is Raven Colvin a 6’1’’ sophomore middle blocker. So, Hudson is getting the ball, you can just plan on it.

Purdue added Hannah Clayton to the roster in the off season. she is a 6’2’’ middle blocker transfer from Iowa. She averages 1.71 kills per set and . 86 blocks per set. Clayton and Colvin in the middle provide some offense and solid defense. Colvin averages an impressive 1.27 blocks per set. 1.27 blocks per set puts Colvin in the top 40 of the NCAA for blocks per set. In comparison, Kaitlyn Hord is #3 in the country with 1.61 blocks per set.

The takeaway? Colvin will block balls tonight but Hord will block more!

When Purdue can get more production from their role players they are a much better team. Maddy Chin, Emma Ellis and Madeline Koch sometimes have high kill nights in the second outside position and other times they don’t. That is why all three of the move through that position like a revolving door.

Coach Shondell quickly rotates this second outside hitter position so we are likely to see all three of the outside hitters mentioned above. If one of the outside hitters gets hot, she will stay in that role and we will see Nebraska make blocking and defensive adjustments.

The takeaway? If Chin, Ellis or Koch start earning kills, watch the Nebraska block adjust and then that outside hitter will be blocked a few times and maybe even subbed out soon thereafter.

Purdue is fresh off an alarming loss to Maryland in three sets. Nobody on Purdue’s squad could produce kills against the Terrapins block which is ranked #1 in the country in blocks per set with 3.34. Nebraska is ranked #5 with 2.84 as a team per set.

Purdue could also not pass well against Maryland. Maryland serves a lot of aces, almost two per set which is 13th in the NCAA. All these stats make Maryland sound like a national powerhouse. You recall Nebraska dropped the third set to them on the road at the start of October. Maryland is playing hungry for wins with some talented players but if I am a Purdue fan I am still very concerned with our three set loss to them.

Nebraska’s scouting report focuses on taking away shots from freshman outside hitter Hudson. She is set 70-80% of the time so reducing her shots with give defenders behind the block the ability to dig and force Hudson to hit her second or third choice of shot, that forces errors.

Huskers will attack with their serves. Purdue’s libero, Maddie Schermerhorn, produces a lot of errors at .28 serve receive errors per set. A serve receive error is an ace by the server. If she produces that many errors, she very likely produces many poor passes which leaves the setter with only one option. Purdue’s poor passing is one more reason they are setting Hudson on the outside SO much.

Nebraska will look strong tonight in the top 15 match-up. Their serving and blocking will force the Boilermakers to make errors on serve receive and attacking. Enjoy this one on BTN. GBR!