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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 3

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 3 77 BY KYLE CHARTERS B y the second weekend of November, Purdue was rolling. The Boilermakers swept No. 10 Wisconsin a day after beating No. 4 Minnesota, becoming the first Purdue team to beat top-10 opponents on back-to-back nights in program history. But Purdue peaked about three weeks too early, as the Boilermakers were .500 the rest of the way, including a second-round NCAA Tournament loss at Utah. And so a season that included tremendous highs — Purdue was 23-10, including wins over top-10 Creighton, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan State — ended on a low. The veteran-laden Boilermakers had sought a trip back to the second week of the tournament for the first time since 2013, its last Elite Eight, but lost 3-1 on the No. 13 Utes' home court. "I haven't had many teams I've liked as much as this team," said Dave Shondell, a couple weeks after finishing his 15th season as Purdue's head coach, "just because they made a lot of sacrifices, made a lot of changes to be- come better at just being more unselfish, more team-ori- ented; they worked harder and opened arms up to each other more than we have the last few years. It'll be one I remember for a long time, which is why it hurt so much to lose." The loss concludes a chapter in Purdue volleyball his- tory, as well, as the Boilermakers graduate three pieces critical to the last four years, including one of the best to play in West Lafayette. Left-side hitter Danielle Cutti- no departs after an impressive career highlighted by her first-team All-America honor following the season, only Highs And Lows Purdue reclaims identity in 2017, but can't escape NCAA second round Photos by Charles Joschke

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