Purdue Recap 2409

Victories over Northwestern and Rutgers gave Purdue a strong start to the season (Photo: Purdue)

Four teams, including defending champions Wisconsin, remain undefeated after the first week of action in the Big Ten women’s volleyball conference was completed on Sunday.

Besides the Badgers, Purdue, Penn State and Nebraska all got a pair of wins in the 14 matches held in the conference from Wednesday to Sunday and are off to a promising start to their campaigns.

  • Watch the Big Ten Volleyball matches live on VBTV.

Purdue have not only started conference play on the right foot, but also got to celebrate an important milestone as they earned the program’s 1000th win in a 3-1 (25-20, 25-23, 17-25, 25-11) road victory over Maryland on Friday. The Boilermakers continued in great form on Sunday, when they went on the road again and swept (25-19, 25-20, 25-21) Rutgers.

With 20 kills against Maryland and another 15 against Rutgers, reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year and sophomore outside hitter Eva Hudson led Purdue’s offense in the opening week of the season.

The winningest team in the Big Ten with 17 titles, Penn State also had a promising start to their campaign, getting sweeps over Rutgers (25-17, 25-15, 25-17) on Wednesday at home and Northwestern (25-18, 25-15, 25-21) on Sunday on the road.

Two new faces with the Nittany Lions this season after joining the program via transfer, senior outside hitter Jess Mruzik, who produced 41 points across both matches, and graduate student setter Mac Podraza, who tallied 81 assists, were among the team’s top players in the opening week of the season.

From the four undefeated teams, Nebraska had probably the toughest schedule in the opening week, but made good use of the homecourt advantage to navigate it extremely well, sweeping Ohio State (25-14, 25-16, 25-21) on Friday and taking Minnesota down also in three sets (25-23, 25-20, 25-22) on Sunday.

Junior right side Merritt Beason and freshman outside hitter Harper Murray were the Cornhuskers' main offensive weapons on the weekend, producing 25 and 24 points, respectively.

Defending champions Wisconsin had a trouble-free opening week, getting a three-set (25-18, 25-12, 25-13) road win over Northwestern on Friday and returning home to top Indiana also in straight sets (25-13, 25-23, 25-18) on Sunday.

The Badgers counted on 20 kills from senior right side Devyn Robinson across both matches, while sophomore middle blocker Carter Booth delivered 11 blocks.

“The key was preparation for this game and the way each of us knew what the server was going to bring as soon as they stepped behind the service line,” junior libero Julia Orzol said of the victory against Indiana. “The mentality just going forward and not getting stuck in the past, even if they managed to ace us, we recovered and the next ball was in the game and nothing happened.”

The next round of Big Ten matches starts on Wednesday, with two duels. Another 12 encounters will be held over the weekend and two of them will be streamed live for VBTV subscribers around the world – Iowa vs. Illinois, on Saturday, at 18:00 local time (23:00 UTC), and Michigan vs. Wisconsin, on Sunday, at 13:00 local time (18:00 UTC).

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