Rutgers drops 3 matches at Kangaroo Klassic
This past weekend, the Rutgers volleyball team extended its losing streak to five matches, struggling to overtake any of the three teams from the UMKC Kangaroo Klassic held in Kansas City, Missouri.
The Scarlet Knights had two matches on Friday, falling to Northern Iowa and later UMKC in straight-set victories for the opposing teams. In the first game, the Panthers ran with a 10-0 lead over Rutgers at the start to claim victory in all three sets by outhitting the Knights, .319 to .073. The second game against UMKC began with a 6-0 lead from Rutgers, which was quickly erased by the Kangaroos with a hitting percentage of .326, which is over double the .143 clip that the Knights recorded for the game.
Leading the Rutgers offensive front was junior outside hitter Sahbria McLetchie with a total of 19 kills, nine digs and a block. For the game against UMKC, freshman opposite hitter Kamila Cieslik hit a high of 11 kills, and freshman outside hitter Yana Kamshilina recorded seven kills behind McLetchie’s nine kills in the UNI match.
Unfortunately, the Knights did not have two starters, sophomore Jasmine Stackhouse and senior Meme Fletcher, against UNI due to injuries. Additionally, freshman Beka Kojadinovic was sidelined for both matches with an injury.
On the second day of the tournament, Rutgers continued to fight for a win as it lost to South Dakota in a four-set match (25-23, 13-25, 16-25, 14-25). In the first set, the lead was passed early on between the Knights and the Jackrabbits to tie up the score 20-20. Having recovered from her injury to sit out the UNI game, Stackhouse clinched a career-high seven kills to pick up the lead. Continuing the momentum was senior outside hitter Brooke Enners with six kills to pull Rutgers ahead 24-22 and a South Dakota service error allowed the Rutgers to take the first set before being defeated in the following three sets.
At the conclusion of the tournament, Cieslik was named to her third consecutive All-Tournament Team, recording 21 kills in addition to seven blocks, 18 digs and at least an ace per match to mark four total.
There are high hopes for the Knights to not relive their last dreadful season of 28 consecutive losses. It will take a lot for the Rutgers to bounce back in time for its Big Ten match-ups in two weeks, beginning with Iowa on Sept. 22 at the College Avenue Gym.
Before facing any of their Big Ten opponents, the Knights still have to compete at the Robert Morris Invitational next weekend in Moon Township, Pennsylvania where they will face Penn, Middle Tennessee State, and host Robert Morris.
For updates on the Rutgers volleyball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.