(Courtesy Saint Louis Athletics)
Saint Louis volleyball advanced its win streak to eight matches with a 3-2 (25-20, 13-25, 26-24, 21-25, 15-13) win over No. 11 Purdue Friday in the opening match of the Active Ankle Challenge. It is the first time the Billikens have toppled a ranked foe since defeating No. 10 Cal in 2009. The current eight-match win streak is tied for the second-longest streak in SLU history (the 2008 squad won 21 straight from Sept. 26 to Dec. 4).
With the win, Saint Louis rises to 9-3 on the year.
In the opening set, the trio of Taylor Paulson, Lauren Leverenz and Megan Gilbert set the tone with three kills apiece. Danielle Rygelski tallied two service aces as well. The Billikens recorded five blocks in the set to hold Purdue to a .171 attack percentage. Saint Louis captured the set 25-20.
The Boilermakers battled back to win set two 25-13.
In the third, SLU fell into an early 0-5 hole, but Rygelski served the Bills on a seven-point run to gain the lead. Purdue led as late as 23-21, but Saint Louis scored six of the final seven points to win 26-24. Freshman Nenye Okoro led all hitters with nine kills in the set, followed by Rygelski with six. Rygelski also notched two aces in the set.
Both teams fought in the fourth, but a late six-point run from the Boilermakers gave them a 25-21 win.
In the deciding set, Purdue jumped out to a 10-4 lead. However, freshman Josie Gandall entered the match to serve and led SLU on a five-point run to bring the score to 10-9. Purdue scored the next point to take a two-point lead.
Both teams had a side out to bring the tally to 12-10 in favor of the Boilermakers. Saint Louis then had a two-point mini-run to tie the game at 12. Purdue called a timeout and scored the next point to take a 13-12 lead. However, SLU won the next three points, capped off by Rygelski’s fifth ace of the match to give SLU the five-set win.
Okoro and Rygelski paced the Billiken offense. Rygelski notched 17 kills (.255 attack percentage), 10 digs and five aces to score 22 points for SLU, while Okoro had 16 kills (.343 attack percentage), 12 digs and five blocks for 19.5 points. Meredith Boe had 49 assists, falling one shy of her fifth 50-assist match of the season.