Rutgers sets for Indiana to battle Hoosiers, Boilermakers looking for 1st conference win
Having endured enough losses since joining the Big Ten, the Rutgers volleyball team is hungry for its first win of the conference season. The Scarlet Knights’ best shot at upsetting a Big Ten opponent will be on the road when they face Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
Both teams sit last in the Big Ten standings and have yet to win a conference match. Rutgers will also play No. 17 Purdue the following day in West Lafayette, Indiana.
The Knights accomplished their greatest feat last weekend, playing against Michigan (3-1) and No. 10 Michigan State (3-0) by winning their first set at home in the conference season since 2015. In the game against Michigan, Rutgers posted Big Ten highs with 41 kills, 46 digs and 38 assists. While playing Michigan State, the Knights came off of their last game to post a .194 attack percentage, another Big Ten high this season.
Leading Rutgers to its great performance against Michigan was sophomore middle blocker Stasa Miljevic and junior outside hitter Sahbria McLetchie with ten kills each. Miljevic and McLetchie also served as a dynamic duo at the game against Michigan State, recording eight kills apiece.
Other standouts from the Michigan game were sophomore libero Karysa Swackenberg’s 15 digs and sophomore setter Megan Sharkey’s Big Ten career high of 36 assists. Sharkey continues her pursuit toward the Knights’ all-time leaderboard in assists, falling just 14 away from No. 10 Jennifer DelGais’s 1,082.
Like Rutgers, Indiana has not won a single conference match this season and has only done slightly better with four sets won in the past eight matches. Indiana’s highest individually ranked player in the Big Ten is Victoria Brisack, placing her fifth for assists, with an average of 11.22 per set.
Despite this, the Knights might be able to pull ahead with freshman opposite hitter Kamila Cieslik’s fourth-place ranking in the Big Ten for service aces, averaging 0.43 a set.
Purdue has been doing fairly well this season but has most recently suffered two consecutive losses, which is a first for the team this season. In the most recent AVCA coaches poll, Purdue is ranked 17th and stands 14th in the NCAA RPI, in addition to a hitting percentage of .327 that puts it fourth in the country.
That percentage reflects the Boilermakers' number one ranking in the Big Ten for kills with an average of 14.49 per set. Danielle Cuttino leads the team inkill average with 4.23 per set, which places her second among all players in the Big Ten.
Rutgers will travel for the second time this season to go head to head with Indiana on Friday followed by No. 17 Purdue on Saturday.
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