No. 20 Purdue Outlasts No. 19 Kentucky in Five Sets
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The No. 20 Purdue Boilermakers rallied from down 13-12 in the fifth set to beat No. 19 Kentucky 3-2 (25-23, 19-25, 25-22, 12-25, 18-16) on Saturday night inside Holloway Gymnasium.
Megan Wilson led Kentucky with 16 kills on the night, one of five players for UK in double-figure scoring as Reagan Rutherford, Brooklyn DeLeye, Elise Goetzinger and Azhani Tealer all had 10+ terminations in the match. Purdue’s Chloe Chicoine had 24 kills to lead all players in the match Saturday, one of only two Boilermakers to reach double-figure scoring on the night.
Emma Grome ended the night with 56 assists, her highest output on the season. Eleanor Beavin logged 21 digs, two off of her career high.
Kentucky will play at No. 2 Louisville on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET from the KFC Yum! Center in downtown Louisville. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN and the ESPN app with Eric Frede and Katie George on the call from the Derby City.
Purdue took the 12-8 lead on two-straight blocks to give themselves a four-point cushion, its largest lead of the set to that point. Just 20 points in, Kentucky was struggling offensively with four kills and four hitting errors with Purdue killing the ball at a .455 clip and only one error to its name. UK called its timeout down four at 12-8 and immediately got a thunderous sideout from freshman Brooklyn DeLeye to close the gap back to three at 12-9. UK clawed level with Purdue at 14 all in the set and after UK reached 14 all, the Boilermakers won the next four points, all on rather extended rallies, to make things 18-14 and the Wildcats called their final timeout. Purdue arrived at set point leading 24-21, but two straight kills from the UK offense made things 24-23 and the Boilermakers decided to call their first timeout at 24-23 needing the next point to wrap up the set. Out of the break, Purdue got a first-ball sideout to claim the set, 25-23.
Kentucky trailed by three out of the gates in the third at 7-4, but slowly chipped away at the lead and a Reagan Rutherford solo stuff followed by a service ace from Brooklyn DeLeye gave Kentucky the 14-11 lead and Purdue requested its first timeout of the set down four. Emma Grome had a solo stuff at the net and DeLeye placed her team-leading seventh kill to the hard wood as Kentucky grew its lead to 20-16 and Purdue called its final timeout of the set trailing by four. Deleye bookended the timeout with her eighth kill of the match to give the Wildcats the 22-16 lead and the six-point edge was UK’s largest of the match to that point. Kentucky got to set point thanks to an out-of-system kill by Azhani Tealer and Megan Wilson’s fifth kill of the match ended the set with Kentucky evening the match, 1-1 thanks to a 25-19 second-set win.
Kentucky took a 5-2 lead to start the third set, but that lead quickly evaporated with a 5-0 service run sandwiched around a Kentucky timeout with two aces and three attack errors for the Wildcats as Purdue leveled up, 7-6. The lead for Purdue grew to three at 18-15 following a set of blocks for the Boilermakers on the right side and UK was pushed into its final timeout of the set down three points. Eleanor Beavin dug a rocket to keep a critical point alive that Goetzinger put away as UK tried to get back into the set, trailing 19-17. An attack error by Purdue drew Kentucky even at 21-21 and the home side called its first timeout to try and slow a 4-1 Wildcat run. Purdue won four of the final five points in the frame to take the 2-1 lead in the match with a 25-22 third-set for the Boilermakers.
Megan Wilson’s eighth kill of the night brought an early Kentucky run out of the gates to a four-point cushion and at 6-2 with UK winning three-straight points, Purdue opted to call an early timeout to stop play. Out of the timeout, the Boilermakers got the train back on the track with a pair of points and a block to make things 6-4 and back within a two-point window for the first time since it was 3-1 earlier in the set. Kentucky ran away with the fourth set, as the Boilermakers attempted to slow down the UK offense, hitting .526 in the set alone, at 18-9 with a timeout, but UK eventually proved tough and a Megan Wilson kill on the left side ended the set with UK taking the frame, 25-12 to set up the first five-set match of the season for Kentucky.
Kentucky fell behind early in the fifth set, trailing by a trio of points at 5-2 before UK ran off two in a row thanks to a blocking error by Purdue and a kill from Megan Wilson. Molly Tuozzo netted her first ace of the night to tie the set for the first time at 7-7 before the Boilermakers took an 8-7 lead at the changeover of the fifth. Kentucky got two points in a row on Elise Goetzinger’s serve to take its first lead at 9-8 before an extended rally gave Purdue the lead back at 10-9 and Kentucky took its first timeout of the set down by one. Azhani Tealer used a terrific offspeed shot to pull the Wildcats level at 11-11 and an overpass kill at the net by Tealer on the successive point gave UK the 12-11 lead and Purdue was pushed into its first timeout. After Kentucky took a 13-12 lead, Purdue won the next two points and arrived at match point, 14-13 with UK calling its final timeout. Purdue converted its fourth match point to win the fifth set on a kill from the left at 18-16.
Stat That Matters
Six. There were six lead changes in the fifth set.
Kentucky allowed Purdue to win back-to-back points after taking a 13-12 lead and coming within two points of the match as UK was forced into its second timeout and lost its ability to gain match point.
The key player Saturday night was Eleanor Beavin, who had 21 digs along with two assists.
Kentucky Volleyball in Rupp Arena
UK Athletics announced earlier this spring that Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center will serve as the primary home venue for the Kentucky gymnastics, volleyball and women’s basketball teams for the 2023-24 season while Memorial Coliseum undergoes an $82 million renovation.
For the latest on UK Volleyball, follow the Wildcats on Twitter and Instagram at @KentuckyVB.