WThe 18th-ranked Minnesota volleyball team (7-7, 0-2) lost to Purdue (9-4, 2-0) in four games by scores of 30-25, 25-30, 31-29, 30-24 on Saturday, Sept. 27 at the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility in West Lafayette, Ind. The loss gives Minnesota its first 0-2 Big Ten start since 1993.
Minnesota got off to a quick start in game one jumping out to an 11-5 lead. The Golden Gophers led by no less then four points for most of the first game and held a 21-16 lead in the middle of the game. However, Purdue answered with an 8-0 run to grab the lead at 24-21. Minnesota finally stopped the run with a Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) kill to cut the lead to 24-22. The Boilermakers answered by scoring the next two points to go up 26-22. Minnesota cut the lead down to three on a couple of occasions and before being down 28-25, but Purdue answered with the final two points to take game one 30-25. Busse recorded 10 kills in the game, but the Boilermakers outhit the Golden Gophers .283 to .239 to pace them to the game one victory.
For a second straight game the Golden Gophers jumped out to an early lead. Minnesota led 6-3, before Purdue cut the lead to 9-8. The Golden Gophers answered with a 5-0 run to go up 14-8. The Boilermakers scored four of the next six points to cut the score to 16-12. Minnesota answered with seven of the next 10 points to take a 23-15 lead. After Purdue called a timeout, it came back with three straight points to cut the lead to 23-18. The Golden Gophers scored three of the next four points on two kills and a solo block by Busse to go up 26-19. Purdue trimmed the lead down to 27-23, but Minnesota answered with the next two points to go up 29-23. After Purdue cut the lead to 29-25, freshman Meredith Nelson (St. Croix, Falls, Wis.) finished the game with a kill to give the Golden Gophers a 30-25 game two victory, which tied the match at 1-1. Minnesota hit .447 to Purdue's .189 in game two. The Golden Gophers were led by Trisha Bratford (Reseda, Calif.) who had eight kills in nine attempts, while Kelly Bowman (Maple Grove, Minn.) tallied 19 assists in the game.
In game three Minnesota jumped to an early 5-4 lead. The Golden Gophers went on a 6-0 run to open the lead up to 11-4. Purdue answered with four straight points to cut the lead to 11-8. The Golden Gophers came right back with six of the next eight points to go up 17-10. Purdue cut the lead to 17-13 with three straight points, but Minnesota answered with three of the next four points to go up 20- 14. Purdue scored four of the next six points to trim the lead to 22- 18. From that point Minnesota scored three of the next four paced by two Busse kills to go up 25-19. Purdue answered back with three of the next four points to trim the lead to 26-22. Minnesota scored the next two points to make it 28-22. However, the Boilermakers ripped off the next seven points to go up 29-28. Minnesota fought off game point when Purdue had a service error to tie the score at 29, but the Boilermakers scored the next two points to win game three 31-29 to take a 2-1 lead in the match. Busse led the attack with seven kills, but Purdue outhit Minnesota .351 to .256 on the way to winning game three.
Purdue jumped out to an early 9-6 lead in the fourth game. Minnesota rallied to tie it up at 10. The Boilermakers answered by scoring five of the next seven points to go up 15-12. The Golden Gophers cut the lead to 18-16, but Purdue scored the next two points to go up 20-16. Minnesota cut it to 22-20, but Purdue scored three of the next four points to go up 25-21. The Golden Gophers cut it to 25-23, but the Boilermakers finished off the match by scoring five of the last six points to claim game four 30-24.
Busse led the way for Minnesota with 24 kills, nine digs and four blocks. In her first collegiate start at setter Bowman had a season- high 64 assists, a season-high for Minnesota, along with 10 digs. Bratford tallied 17 kills, seven digs and five blocks. Erin Martin (Ames, Iowa) and Jessica Byrnes (Minnetonka, Minn.) had 15 and 10 kills respectively for the match.
Minnesota outhit Purdue .267 to .261 in the match, but was outblocked 14.5 to 11.0. The Boilermakers also had nine service aces to five for Minnesota.
Leah Wischmeier led four Boilermakers in double-figure kills with 19 on the night. Kim Cappa had 14 kills. Melanie Ukovich and Kim McConaha had 11 kills each. Setter Renata Dargan had seven kills, 49 assists, five service aces and six digs.
Minnesota will return to Minneapolis for its Big Ten home opener on Friday, Oct. 3 against Northwestern at 7 p.m. The Golden Gophers will also take on Illinois on Saturday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.