The No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers (10-3 Big Ten, 20-3 overall) had a shot at revenge and a chance to reassert themselves on top of the Big Ten standings against the No. 9 Purdue Boilermakers (11-4, 19-5) on Friday night.
Instead, Purdue stunned Wisconsin with a 3-1 (20-25, 25-19, 22-25, 21-25) win, dropping the Badgers to a three-way tie for first place in a performance where the Boilermakers again simply outclassed the Badgers.
Not the outcome we wanted, but the one we got— Wisconsin Volleyball (@BadgerVB) November 13, 2021
Nonetheless, the season isn’t over! pic.twitter.com/hHScXOiTgq
“We got outworked and that’s not something that happens too often for these guys,” head coach Kelly Sheffield said afterwards.
Purdue strutted out to a 7-12 lead in the first set before libero Lauren Barnes had two consecutive aces and UW cut the lead to 11-13. But the Boilermakers were rolling offensively and extended the lead to 15-20 while hitting .423. On the other hand, Wisconsin was held to a season low .128, in part because again the Boilermakers had 14 blocks against the Badgers.
Purdue won the first set and Wisconsin responded well in the second set — going off to a 16-10 lead. The Boilermakers cut into the lead to make it 16-13, but the Badgers held off the challenge to win the second set. Purdue had a ton of errors in that frame, and hit only .059. Wisconsin did not do much better hitting just .100.
A big part of that was a slow night for Dana Rettke and Julia Orzoł again. The Boilermakers again did a good job of slowing down the four-time All-American middle blocker who hit just six kills compared to five errors. Julia Orzoł had her moments, including doing well on serving and in receiving, but also had eight kills while hitting .083.
We have a new record-holder! @dana_rettke now holds the school record for career blocks with 683!— Wisconsin Volleyball (@BadgerVB) November 13, 2021
We're so proud! pic.twitter.com/DVdv5wMvUo
The third set was back-and-forth to start but Purdue started to pull away after two big blocks that put the score at 8-13 and UW called timeout. Purdue extended that lead to 8-15 before Jade Demps got a kill to start a 5-0 run for Wisconsin. But the UW challenge lost steam, and Purdue won 22-25 the set after a service error by Demps.
Purdue polished off the fourth set as the Field House crowd was stunned to silence. It was Wisconsin’s first home loss since 2018, ending a streak of 30-straight home wins. Outside hitter Caitlyn Newton led the way with 19 kills for Purdue and made her presence felt all over the court. Meanwhile their middles found success attacking UW. Taylor Trammel had six kills while hitting .600 and Jael Johnson had nine and .350.
Wisconsin will look to bounce back on Sunday against Northwestern before it faces a huge game against No. 11 Minnesota next Sunday in Minnesota. That will be much more important with the teams tied in the standings.