Friday night in Moby Arena Hawai'i's women's volleyball team proved once again why they are undefeated.
After winning a four-game match against Colorado on Thursday, the Rainbow Wahine finished off Purdue (17-15) in three games to improve their record to 30-0 and move on to the third round of the NCAA tournament.
"I'm so happy for the team," said Hawai'i head coach Dave Shoji. "We're happy to be moving on. We got off to a rocky start but, as usual, they came back."
Despite the hometown CSU Rams being upset by Purdue on Thursday, 1,210 volleyball fans came to watch the Purdue-Hawai'i match, many wearing the green and white of Hawaii.
Though he wasn't happy with the outcome of the match, Purdue head coach Dave Shondell said he was thankful for the chance to play a good team.
"It was just a great opportunity for us to play a team like Hawai'i," Shondell said. "If we had played the way we did last night (against CSU) we could have won."
In the first game, Purdue showed flashes of making another upset of a ranked opponent, stringing out their lead to 21-15. But Hawai'i added a surge of their own, coming back to win the game 33-31.
"We've come back from further," said junior outside hitter Susie Boogaard, who had 13 kills and 10 digs on the night. "This is just do or die and I think everyone wants it."
Purdue players said Boogaard caused some problems for their blocking game.
"She really did a nice job out there," said senior middle blocker Kim McConaha, who had a team best 14 kills. "She played strong. She saw the block real well."
Game two saw the Boilermakers stay close for the first 3 points, but fall behind by as many as 6 points. Playing catch-up proved too difficult and Purdue could only come within three points the rest of the game, despite a six-kill game from McConaha.
The third game was kept close with nine tied scores, the final coming at 18-18 on a kill by Purdue's freshman outside hitter Samantha Mader. Freshman defensive specialist Kelly Ong came in to serve for the Wahine and dominated the end of the game, running off 11 serves including two service aces to leave the score at 29-19. The performance proved Ong's worth to the team that had left her off the traveling roster a few times this season.
"We brought Kelly because she does have a good serve," Shoji said. "She has a good weapon and I thought it was a good time to use her."
Ong said it went a lot faster in her head.
"I just went in there and took a deep breath," Ong said. "It seemed like three serves instead of 11."
Now in the Sweet Sixteen, Hawai'i will face Wisconsin on Tuesday in the first round of regional play in Green Bay, Wisc.