September 21, 2018 | ° F

RU changes lineup, still loses to UConn

Photo by Noah Whittenburg |

Senior libero Tracy Wright recorded a season-high 21 digs during Rutgers’ straight-set loss Friday to Connecticut.

The frustration on the faces of the members of the Rutgers volleyball team following their loss to Connecticut sums up the team’s disappointing season.

The Huskies swept the Scarlet Knights in straight sets Friday at the College Ave. Gym.

Not even the thunderous support from the Rutgers’ (4-24, 0-14) fan base could will the Knights to their first victory in nearly two months.

“They had their way with us offensively,” said assistant coach Lindsey Lee. “Our defense and blocking didn’t do a good enough job of slowing down what they wanted to do offensively and likewise we had trouble siding out at times.”

The Knights began the third set with an early 14-11 lead before the Huskies tied the score at 19. Connecticut (12-17, 3-11) then went on a 6-1 run to secure the win, 25-20.

Collapsing in pressure situations has been nothing new for the Knights.

“Our execution late in games has been a real big issue for us,” Lee said “It’s a tell of a young team to be honest, but again no excuses and at some point you have to figure it out.”

Rutgers fell into an early 7-1 deficit in the second set thanks to a relentless Connecticut attack, but fought back to even the score at 11.  

Following several attacking errors from the Knights, the Huskies went on a 10-3 run, including a point in the middle of the set where both teams battled intensely back and forth. Rutgers dropped the point, serving as a final blow to the Knights chances in the second set.

UConn would comfortably win 25-19.

The Knights started the first set full of energy, but their play was too loose and error-filled.

Tied at 10, the Huskies began to pull away with some timely service aces and poor offensive execution from Rutgers.

A service error from the Knights closed out the opening set loss as they dropped it, 25-19.

Rutgers practiced all week on exploiting Connecticut’s weakness against tips, but the Knights seemed uncomfortable executing the game plan.

Following a strong offensive performance Nov. 10 against South Florida, three Knights with double-digit kills. Only sophomore outside hitter Alex Lassa this week finished in double-digits with a team-high 11 kills.

“We just didn’t execute the game plan and take care of the details,” Lassa said. “[UConn] was just consistent. They didn’t give us a lot of points and they made it very hard for us to score.”

Head coach CJ Werneke also tweaked the starting lineup, replacing sophomore libero Ali Schroeter with senior Tracy Wright and giving freshman outside hitter Micaela Anderson her ninth start.

Wright finished with a season-high 21 digs, but the Huskies had the Knights on their back foot for most of the match, proving the changes made little difference.

“I think we do really well in practice, but were not carrying it over into the games,” Wright said. “We need to make adjustments sooner … stay aggressive and carry over what we do in practice.”

For updates on the Rutgers volleyball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

By Sean Stewart

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