WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Alabama volleyball dropped its weekend finale Saturday at the Mortar Board Premier, falling in straight sets to No. 25 Purdue by scores of 21-25, 12-25 and 14-25.
Alabama (2-1) fought to a close finish in the opening frame, losing to 25th-ranked Purdue (3-0) by just four points but the Boilermakers posted double-digit wins in the remaining two sets to complete the sweep. After hitting .310 in the opening set, the Tide struggled offensively to end the match with a .010 clip. Freshman Christine Jarman led the team with a season-high eight digs, while Abolanle Onipede, Leah Lawrence and Hayley McSparin combined for 12 of the team's 19 kills.
With Purdue holding an early 6-3 lead in set one, back-to-back kills by Alabama and a service ace by Kaylee Thomas quickly tied things up at 6-6. A 7-3 run by the Boilermakers gave the home team a 13-9 edge at the halfway mark and the Tide took its first timeout following a kill by Purdue in the next rally to make it 14-9. The Boilermakers kept the Tide at arm's length, pulling ahead by six points before Alabama took its final timeout down 22-16. Purdue reached set point, 24-19, but consecutive kills by Lawrence forced the Boilermakers to take a timeout with its lead cut down to three points. Purdue finished it on the next ball however, winning 25-21.
Purdue got off to a strong start in set two, pulling ahead 6-1 as Alabama was forced to regroup with an early timeout. After a point by the Boilermakers, the Tide cut the deficit with four-straight points to draw within two, down 7-5. Purdue jumped back ahead by five however, leading 13-8 at the halfway mark as Alabama took its final timeout. The home team continued to pull away, eventually building a double-digit lead down the stretch and winning set two, 25-12.
Alabama led 4-3 early in set three but a 7-0 run by Purdue flipped the game back in the home team's favor with the Tide taking a timeout down 10-4. Three more unanswered points by the Boilermakers after the break forced the Tide to quickly burn its final timeout, now down 13-4. An ace gave Purdue a double-digit lead, 19-9, and the Boilermakers held on to win set three, 25-14, and complete the sweep.
Next weekend, Alabama heads south to Mobile, Ala., for the Jaguar Invitational, hosted by South Alabama. The Tide opens the weekend against the Jaguars on Friday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. CT before facing Southern Miss and McNeese State on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 10 a.m. CT and 4:30 p.m. CT, respectively.