BYU women's volleyball players huddle after a play against Purdue. (BYU Photo)

Cougars knocked out in 5-set heartbreaker to Purdue in Sweet 16

BYU women’s volleyball suffered a heartbreaking loss in a five-set thriller against the Purdue Boilermakers in the Sweet Sixteen Thursday.

The Cougars and Boilermakers each had their moments in a match that went the distance with the fifth set being decided by a score of 18-16.

Purdue started off the match hitting .379 to BYU’s -.179 clip in set one. The Boilermakers also recorded 12 digs, six blocks and a service ace in their 25-12 first-set victory.

BYU turned the tide in the second set, hitting .303 with 14 kills, four service aces, 18 digs and two blocks. The Cougars dominated the second set, winning 25-16. BYU won a closely-contested third set to take a two-set lead thanks to a .406 hitting percentage with 14 kills, three service aces, nine digs and four blocks.

The Cougars’ struggles returned in the fourth set as the Boilermakers found their groove, tallying 17 kills on a .389 clip, with 19 digs and two blocks in the 25-13 win.

In the winner-take-all fifth set, the Cougars held the lead most of the way but couldn’t seem to get the needed separation to put Purdue away. After BYU reached its first match point with a 14-10 lead, two straight Boilermaker aces and a BYU attack error squared the match at 14. The Cougars dropped four of the next six points to fall to Purdue, 18-16, and the Boilermakers advanced to the Elite Eight for the second straight year.

BYU finishes the season with a 30-2 record and West Coast Conference title, but falls short of a run to the Final Four.

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