Gophers prep for ranked Purdue

Megan Ryan

The No. 10 Gophers volleyball team will face another ranked Big Ten opponent Saturday at the Sports Pavilion.

No. 17 Purdue is 14-6 overall and 5-4 in conference play. Despite their ranking, the Boilermakers have suffered some upsets recently.

They fell in three sets to unranked Iowa on Oct. 6, and they lost in four sets to unranked Indiana on Tuesday.

But the Gophers try not to consider their opponents before working on themselves, head coach Hugh McCutcheon said.

“I’ll try to take five minutes to savor tonight, and then we’ll get back to work on Purdue,” McCutcheon said. “Although I thought we were good in some phases of the game, we need to be better in other phases.”

While the rankings may predict a Gophers win, recent history does not. Minnesota lost in four sets at Purdue in the teams’ only meeting last season.

Several Boilermakers players have earned Big Ten weekly awards this season. Most recently, senior outside hitter Ariel Turner won the Defensive Player of the Week award Monday. She also garnered the Player of the Week award Oct. 1.

Redshirt junior defensive specialist Carly Cramer was also a Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 24. The same week, outside hitter Annie Drews earned the Freshman of the Week title.

But freshman libero Lindsey Lawmaster said she isn’t intimidated by Purdue’s lineup.

“For any team, regardless if they’re ranked or not, I just kind of tell myself, ‘Muscle up,’” Lawmaster said. “I think any hitter can have a great hitting night, and they can slam a ball. So I’ve just got to put my helmet on.”

Freshman outside hitter Daly Santana said Purdue isn’t anything different than what the Gophers have already seen.

“Every team right now in the Big Ten has pretty good players,” Santana said. “So we just have to get prepared for them.”