Indiana Volleyball Loses in Straight Sets to No. 11 Purdue

Indiana has now lost five matches in a row and drops to 2-9 on the season with another shot at Purdue on Sunday.
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana head coach Steve Aird knows how the movie ends.

He has rebuilt a program before, and he knows there's a lot of growing pains along the way, which was the case Tuesday night in Wilkinson Hall as Indiana lost in straight sets to No. 11 Purdue.

The Hoosiers came out competitive from the jump, hanging with the Boilermakers, tied at 17 in the first set. But Purdue was able to make enough plays to stretch that out to a 20-17 lead, and it was too much to overcame as Indiana dropped the first set 25-20.

The first set was played with nine ties and four lead changes.

Things then went downhill from there. The Hoosiers weren't able to create any momentum and suffered numerous unforced errors that allowed Purdue to run away with sets two and three, winning 25-15, 25-14, respectively.

"I think that as we develop more of a chemistry with our team, we'll find more ways of when the other team punches, we'll punch back and just getting that resiliency," junior outside hitter Breana Edwards said. "That starts with training."

It was night in which Indiana's best players didn't have their best nights. 

Edwards and freshman outside hitter Tommi Stockham both struggled and each didn't have a positive shooting percentage.

"Tommi had a tough night but she's a fantastic player," Aird said. "I thought Bri's numbers were rough but she's a fantastic player. A lot of that credit goes to Purdue. They're a top ten team in the country."

Indiana's freshmen middle blockers had a little bit of a better night on Monday, though. Savannah Kjolhede and Leyla Blackwell were top two for Indiana in kills and blocks on the night.

Both of them showed flashes of dominance on offense and defense.

"Both of the middles have a real high end to them that over the years I think they're going to turn into really fantastic players," Aird said. "It's about consistency."

With the loss, Indiana drops to 2-9 on the season and is currently on a five-match losing streak.

The one good thing Aird was pleased with after the match was that the players were very upset with the outcome. To Aird, that's one of the first steps in becoming something special.

Indiana will have another shot at the Boilermakers on Sunday, Feb. 28, in West Lafayette at 4:30 p.m. ET.

But Tuesday night was just a reminder that it isn't necessarily about the wins this season. It's about the experience and the growth the Hoosiers' young squad needs right now to become a force in the future.

Aird's been through it before, and he's confident it works.

"I think resiliency and growth come when you believe in the vision and where it's heading," Aird said. "I know how the movie ends. We're gonna be awfully good in a few years. It's gonna be a lot of pain and heartache along the way. It's never easy to lose... You get back in the gym and you go to work."