FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Purdue Fort Wayne women’s volleyball’s hot streak continued on Monday night (Feb. 15), as the Mastodons cruised past Robert Morris 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-16). Monday served as the women’s volleyball Pink Out match in Purdue Fort Wayne’s Pink Week.
It may have been snowy and blustery outside, but inside the Gates Sports Center the Mastodons were heating up, as they hit .333 as a team against the Colonials. The ‘Dons have now hit over .300 in four of their last five matches and now own a five-match winning streak.
Purdue Fort Wayne never trailed Robert Morris in the 77-minute match.
Madison Gates played a key role in the Mastodons’ efficient offense in the first of two meetings with RMU, as she dished out 45 assists. This passed her previous career-high of 37 set just last week. Gates recorded a double-double with 14 digs to pair with her assists. Katie Crowe also had a double-double with 18 kills and 10 digs.
Gates was able to find success for everyone on the court, as three Mastodons reached double-digit kills. Crowe led the way with her 18, while Sydney Boerst and Madelyn Wurster followed with 12 and 10, respectively. Sidney Schiller had six kills while Ramei Jackson had five on nine attacks (.556).
Purdue Fort Wayne got heavy lifting done in the first set from Crowe and Wurster, as they had seven and five kills, respectively. An early 6-2 lead set the pace and a 6-1 run midway through put the ‘Dons up six. The lead grew to as large as eight when Wurster got a kill to go up 20-12. Crowe finished the set off with one of her seven kills. Defensively, Purdue Fort Wayne seemed to dig out every attack from RMU, allowing just seven kills while recording 30 digs. Rachael Crucis had 11 in the first set alone. She went on to record a game-high 16.
Set two, similarly to set one, swung in favor of the Mastodons early with a 9-3 lead. From that point forward, the two teams traded points in singles and pairs, which tilted in favor of Purdue Fort Wayne. Crowe got seven kills in the second set as well, but on a much more efficient 7-1-11. Boerst was also much more dominant as she went 6-1-10. As a team, the ‘Dons hit .444 in the second frame.
The third set got out of hand early, as Purdue Fort Wayne opened the frame up 12-1. Gates capped off the opening run with an ace. RMU closed the gap a bit, to as small as eight, but it was too little too late. The Mastodons got others in on the action after their starters had stretched the lead. Molly Mirabelli got her first kill as a collegian, while Maggie Castleman had time for a pair. Alexandra Traciak got a pair of aces in the conclusory set. The Colonials were stifled again, as they only had six kills in set three.
Six Mastodons hit .300 or better: Castleman (2-0-2), Mirabelli (1-0-1), Jackson (5-0-9), Boerst (12-2-22), Gates (1-0-3), Wurster (10-3-23).
The Mastodons’ defense remained stout throughout the match, as the ‘Dons recorded 64 digs, which is the most digs in a three-set match for Purdue Fort Wayne since they had 68 against South Dakota on October 28, 2018. The ‘Dons held RMU to .020 hitting in the first set and .067 in the third. Four players reached double-digits in digs: Crucis (16), Gates (14), Sidney Schiller (14) and Crowe (10).
Purdue Fort Wayne improves to 5-2, 5-2 Horizon League, which is the best among teams who have played seven matches. Wright State and UIC currently sit at 6-0 and will remain that way until next week. Robert Morris falls to 0-5, 0-5. These two teams will meet again tomorrow on the Arnie Ball Court with a 4 p.m. first serve.