Apr. 16—OMAHA, Neb. — Purdue ended High Point University’s stay in the NCAA volleyball tournament Thursday.
Led by Caitlyn Newton’s 18 kills, the seventh-seeded Boilermakers swept the Panthers 26-24, 25-18, 25-19 in a second-round match at CHI Health Center arena. The defeat was the first of the season for HPU and snapped a 17-game winning streak that is the second-longest in school history.
Purdue improved to 15-6 after going 14-6 in the powerful Big Ten. Five of the Boilermakers’ losses were to nationally ranked Wisconsin (twice), Minnesota (twice) and Penn State (once). The other was to Illinois in the final match of the regular season.
The highlight for the Panthers was reaching set point in the first at 24-18. Purdue then ran off eight straight points to win. Three attack errors, a kill and a block enabled the Boilermakers to cut the deficit to one; and Grace Cleveland then provided the tying, go-ahead and winning points with three straight kills.
HPU never led or managed to tie in the second and third sets.
In the second, Purdue jumped out to a 5-1 lead and dominated the rest of the way. In the third, HPU stayed close early and trailed by one as late as 10-9. Purdue then pulled away, going up 19-12 on a run capped by two Newton service aces.
HPU advanced out of the first round with a five-set victory over Central Florida in five sets on Wednesday that was the first NCAA win in program history. Purdue received a first-round bye.
“I thought we battled hard all match,” HPU head coach Ryan Meek said. “I don’t know what would have happened but I don’t feel like we put our best foot forward. I feel like the effort was there, but I just felt like we weren’t as detail-oriented and didn’t execute as well as we wanted to on some things.
“Part of that is Purdue is really good and pushed us to make some adjustments we didn’t want to make and part of that is we didn’t have much prep time. We spent most of our time getting ready for UCF and last night was a late night for the coaching staff trying to figure out Purdue. Honestly, we just didn’t have an answer for Caitlyn Newton. That was kind of the end-all-be-all right there.”
The Panthers managed just 30 kills with a hitting percentage of .126 this time. Annie Sullivan led the Panthers with nine spikes. Kaley Rammelsburg had seven, Maggie Salley five, and Madison Smith and Garbrielle Idlebird four each.
Mackenzi Thornburg dished 16 assists while Maria Miggins had 13, and Abby Bottomley bumped 18 digs.
Purdue held a 47-30 advantage in kills but was held to a .212 hitting percentage, its lowest in a win this season. The Boilermakers led 44-42 in digs and 8-6 in blocks.
Cleveland added 10 kills for Purdue. Hayyley Bush had 40 of the Boilermakers’ 45 assists and Jenna Otec scooped 17 digs.