The No. 6 Nebraska volleyball team is gearing up for its final two road matches of the season this weekend. The Huskers will face No. 12 Purdue on Friday and then pay a visit to the Indiana Hoosiers the following night.
Nebraska enters the weekend with a 20-6 record and an 11-5 mark in the Big Ten. It has a four-game winning streak and has won five of its last six games. The loss came on Oct. 27 to then-No. 6 Illinois.
The Huskers’ Friday foe, the Purdue Boilermakers, are going through a gauntlet of top-10 opponents. The Boilermakers dropped their last two matches to No. 8 Wisconsin and No. 3 Minnesota on the road to fall to 21-6 (10-6 Big Ten) this season. Before the back-to-back losses, Purdue had won its last seven matches.
Junior middle blocker Blake Mohler has been a force on both offense and defense for Purdue this season. She leads the team with a hitting percentage of .355 — which ranks seventh in the Big Ten — and is averaging 2.37 kills per set. On the defensive side, Mohler also leads the Boilermakers with 118 blocks.
Senior outside hitter Sherridan Atkinson is Purdue’s main offensive weapon. Her 4.15 kills per set leads the team and ranks fourth in the Big Ten. If she’s not scoring on the attack, she is from the service line. Atkinson has 30 service aces, the second most of the Boilermakers.
Overall, Purdue has the fourth-best defense in the Big Ten, allowing opponents to hit just .180 against them. It also ranks in the top-five in the conference in kills and assists allowed.
The Boilermakers’ hitters also do a good job avoiding the block, getting blocked 1.71 per set, which is the second-best mark in the conference. Nebraska’s middle blockers freshman Callie Schwarzenbach and sophomore Lauren Stivrins rank first and eighth in the conference, respectively, and this match could be won or lost at the net.
After a showdown with Purdue on Friday night, Nebraska will make the two-hour trip south to Bloomington, Indiana to take on the Hoosiers on Saturday.
Indiana has lost its last three matches, all of which were to ranked teams. The Hoosiers sit at 15-12 (6-10 Big Ten).
The Hoosiers are led offensively by junior outside hitter Kendall Beerman. She leads Indiana with 3.36 kills per set and has played in every match for the Hoosiers this season, but has only started in 14 of them.
Junior middle blocker Deyshia Lofton is Indiana’s most efficient hitter. She is hitting .342 this season with 2.35 kills per set. Lofton also has the most blocks on the team and is averaging 1.12 blocks per set.
Both matches are set to start at 6 p.m. CST and will air on BTN Plus.