FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Purdue Fort Wayne women’s volleyball team is set to open the 2021 season on Friday, August 27 when the Mastodons host the Purdue Fort Wayne Invitational Presented by Sonesta Select in the Gates Sports Center.
Purdue Fort Wayne Invitational Game Day Information
When: Friday, August 27 – Saturday, August 28
Where: Fort Wayne, Ind. | Arnie Ball Court
Live Stats: Live Stats
Match Notes: Purdue Fort Wayne | SIUE | Evansville | Kent State
Attendance Policy: All fans are welcome, must be masked regardless of vaccination status in accordance with Purdue Fort Wayne guidelines
Tickets: Student tickets available on the Mastodon App, all others tickets available here: Friday | Saturday
Friday, August 27
11 a.m. – SIUE vs. Evansville – ESPN+
4:30 p.m. – Evansville vs. Kent State – ESPN+
7 p.m. – SIUE at Purdue Fort Wayne – ESPN+
Saturday, August 28
11 a.m. – Evansville at Purdue Fort Wayne – ESPN+
1:30 p.m. – Kent State vs. SIUE – ESPN+
7 p.m. – Kent State at Purdue Fort Wayne – ESPN+
Know Your Foes
• SIUE had a 10-4 season in the spring of 2021, earning a berth to the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. However, the Cougars did not compete in that tournament because they had to pause due to COVID-19 protocols. SIUE has three of their top five point-scorers back from the spring 2021 season in Sydney Hummert (2.77 kills per set), Savannah Christian (2.50 kills per set) and Annie Ellis (2.07 kills per set).
• Evansville had a 6-14, 5-13 season in the Missouri Valley Conference in the spring. The Purple Aces did not qualify for the MVC Tournament. Alondra Vazquez and Melanie Feliciano were the leaders on the team last season, averaging 4.43 and 3.89 kills per set, respectively. They are both back to lead Evansville this season.
• Kent State is coming off a 12-9 season in the Mid-American Conference last year after winning eight of their first nine matches. The Golden Flashes return their entire starting seven, including top outside hitter Savannah Matthews, setter Alex Haffner and libero Erin Gardner.
Before Friday’s match against SIUE, Purdue Fort Wayne Student Life will hold a tailgate outside of the Gates Sports Center beginning at 6 p.m. All fans are welcome to attend.
Katie Crowe was selected as the Horizon League Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year for the spring 2021 season. Crowe is the first Mastodon to be named Player of the Year since Emily Spencer was the Summit League Player of the Year in 2014. Crowe is also the first Mastodon of any sport to be named Horizon League Player of the Year. In her first year in the League, she was named Player of the Week four times, more than any other player. She became the fourth player in Horizon League history to win the Player of the Week honor four times in a season. Crowe was the league-leader in kills per set at 4.23 and points per set at 4.67. In addition to her offensive numbers, Crowe recorded 178 digs, which was 13th among all players in the League. This averaged to 3.18 digs per set. Crowe finished the regular season with 10 double-doubles in the 16-match slate.
Katie Crowe, Madison Gates, Sydney Boerst and Ramei Jackson picked up All-League honors in the Mastodons’ first season in the Horizon League. Crowe and Gates earned spots on the All-League First Team, Boerst was a Second Teamer and Jackson was named to the All-Freshman Team. Crowe was also the League Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year.
Purdue Fort Wayne’s .246 hitting percentage in the spring of 2021 was the highest season-long average in the rally scoring era. The previous best of .228 was set in 2016.
Is That Good?
Purdue Fort Wayne hit over .300 in six matches last season. The ‘Dons are 6-0 in those matches and 27-0 under head coach Steve Florio when they hit at least .300.
Make It A Double
Katie Crowe had 10 double-doubles in the spring 2021, with 45 total in her career. She has recorded back-to-back double-doubles against three opponents in the spring: Youngstown State, Cleveland State and Green Bay. Madison Gates had 10 double-doubles last season with 23 in her career.
Meet The Freshmen
The Mastodons have four freshmen on the roster: Jen Springer, Leigha Baldwin, Claire Pape and Nicole Jones. Springer recorded over 1,300 digs in high school at the libero spot. Baldwin and Pape, both middle blockers, were both All-Conference selections at Perrysburg and New Bremen High Schools, respectively. Jones, a setter, was a state champion in 2018 and placed third in 2019.
Diggin’ Up Everything
Rachael Crucis is third in program history in career digs per set at 4.65.
1. Tessa McGill (4.77, 2009-12)
2. Peachy Jankowski (4.67, 2004-07)
3. Rachael Crucis (4.65, 2019-present)
4. Olivia Hahn (3.93, 2013-16)
5. Katie Bruening (3.58, 1997-98)
Moving Up the Career Charts
Katie Crowe is 11th on the program’s career kills list and 13th on the digs list, with 1,185 and 1,196 in her four seasons.
7. Julie Huber (1,295, 1989-92)
8. Jessica Miller (1,254, 2005-08)
9. Maya Schlindwein (1,231, 2007-10)
10. Somer Johnson (1,210, 2013-16)
11. Katie Crowe (1,192, 2017-present)
9. Jen Milligan (1,354, 2010-13)
10. Nicole Rightnowar (1,348, 2015-18)
11. Sarah Leffers (1,290, 2000-03)
12. Julie Parrot (1,248, 1993-96)
13. Katie Crowe (1,205, 2017-present)
Dishing ’em Out
Madison Gates is also moving up the program’s career assists list. She ranks 12th with 1,305.
8. Jill Lyon (2,975, 1990-93)
9. Madison Spence (2,168, 2011-14)
10. Judy Yagodinski (1,573, 1983-87)
11. Shannon Reuter (1,476, 2006-09)
12. Madison Gates (1,319, 2018-present)
The Crowe’s Perch
In the second set of Purdue Fort Wayne’s 3-0 win over Youngstown State on February 2, 2021, Katie Crowe recorded her 1,000th kill of her career, joining an elite group of Mastodons in the club. She reached the 1,000th dig plateau last season, but with the addition of her 1,000th kill, she became the 10th Mastodon to become a member of both clubs.
Other 1,000-Kill, 1,000-Dig Club Members
Joni Smith (1107 kills, 1319 digs) 1985-88
Heather Teagarden (1669 kills, 1123 digs) 1992-95
Julie Parrot (1180 kills, 1607 digs) 1993-96
Laura Douglas (1904 kills, 1623 digs) 1997-00
Fabiana Souza (2305 kills, 1434 digs) 2002-05
Cynara Martins (1124 kills, 1455 digs) 2004-07
Rebekah Roehm (1506 kills, 1015 digs) 2006-09
Emily Spencer (2106 kills, 1403 digs) 2011-14
Nicole Rightnowar (1584 kills, 1348 digs) 2015-18
The Mastodons will head north to Michigan for the Discover Kalamazoo Classic. the ‘Dons will face off against Southeast Missouri, Big Ten foe Indiana and host Western Michigan.
~ Feel the Rumble ~