The eighth-ranked Gophers volleyball team's four-set loss to No. 9 Purdue on Sunday afternoon at Maturi Pavilion ended its six-match winning streak and kept it from joining Wisconsin and Nebraska in first place.

The Gophers also will fall behind at least Purdue in next week's college coaches' rankings now that the Boilermakers have a six-match winning streak of their own. That streak includes two victories over No. 4 Wisconsin within two weeks and Sunday's 25-12, 14-25, 25-16, 25-22 victory over the Gophers.

But now's not the time to worry about such things with four games remaining. Included is Sunday at home against Wisconsin and another at 15th-ranked Penn State.

Six teams within two games of each other are bunched at the Big Ten's top.

"There's still so much left," Gophers coach Hugh McCutcheon said after Sunday's loss that he deemed a little too inconsistent. "There's so many big matches that it just seems really premature and reckless to be talking about rankings. There are a lot of teams that are close.

"I just hope our team is worried about tonight. Certainly, I believe that is the case. But it's hard when there's so much chatter around them."

The Gophers hadn't lost since a three-set sweep at home by Penn State on Oct. 22. They're now 16-4 since they started the season 1-3 with losses to Baylor, Texas and Florida.

They lost Sunday on Alumni Day that honored 20 former Gopher players from five decades during a break between sets.

McCutcheon praised senior star Stephanie Samedy's 23-kill game. That's her 10th 20-plus kill game this season. Her 1,897 career kills pass Chris Schaefer (1986-89) and move her into fourth all-time.

Until Sunday, the Gophers had won their last three matches against Top 10 ranked opponents, beating No. 6 Ohio State twice and No. 6 Nebraska once.

Purdue arrived with a five-game winning streak of its own after it beat No. 2-ranked Wisconsin twice in two weeks. Most recent was Friday's victory at Madison on its way to Minneapolis.

The Gophers lost after Purdue coach Dave Shondell's successful fourth-set challenge claimed Caitlyn Newton's fierce kill attempt touched Gopher blocker Ellie Husemann's fingertips before it sailed long out of bounds.

A call that would have given the Gophers a 23-20 lead was overturned. Purdue then scored the match's final four points instead.

"It is a game of inches," McCutcheon said. "I thought we were in there battling it out in the fourth, which is good. It just didn't go our way. That's the nature of sports sometimes. It was a shame we couldn't recover from that turn of the call. We couldn't get our side-out rhythm back."

The Gophers lost Sunday after an opening two sets that couldn't have been more different from each other. Purdue won the first 25-12, the Gophers won the second 25-14 on an afternoon when they trailed in kills, blocks, hitting percentage, assists and service aces.

Purdue now hasn't lost since Oct. 23 at Nebraska. Shondell attributed this six-game streak to a seasoned team improved at blocking, among other areas, as its players have grown older.

"Maturity and dedication," Shondell said in a Big Ten Network postgame interview. "I'm just here writing the lineup down. They're coaching themselves, and I mean that … I said at Wisconsin, 'Hey, we can win this thing.' "

Purdue still must play Michigan, Indiana and Nebraska at home and at Northwestern in these final four games that McCutcheon considers still so much.

"Purdue is a good team playing well," McCutcheon said. "We weren't under any illusion that it was going to be a walk in the park, that's for sure."