Rutgers drops 2 more Big Ten matches, drops to 0-12 in conference
Last week, the Rutgers volleyball team was no match for Northwestern or Minnesota as both their first midweek match in Illinois and home match over the weekend resulted in straight set losses. With only eight matches left in the season, it’s very unclear if the Scarlet Knights (5-19, 0-12) will be able to secure a conference win before the season is over.
On Wednesday, Rutgers traveled to Evanston, Illinois to face off against Northwestern where the team lost in set scores of 25-16, 25-16 and 25-14. The Knights were able to out-block the Wildcats 7-5, but couldn’t stop Northwestern’s .440 attack percentage from Rutgers’ .143. Additionally, the Knights logged a season-low four service errors and five reception errors to mark a Rutgers’ low in six matches, tying their third-best performance in conference games this season.
Leading the Knights’ offense was freshman outside hitter Yana Kamshilina with a career-high 11 kills on a .364 hitting percentage in addition to collecting seven digs and two blocks. Following behind Kamshilina was freshman opposite hitter Kamila Cieslik with nine kills, two digs and two blocks. Unfortunately, Northwestern prevented Cieslik from continuing her six-game streak of at least one service ace per match.
No. 5 Minnesota dominated Rutgers on Saturday at the College Avenue Gymnasium to win in set scores of 25-9, 25-11 and 25-14. This season, the Golden Gophers have not been ranked lower than No. 6 in the nation and hit a .398 clip over the Knights’ .036.
The first set saw Rutgers secure a 36-touch rally where the ball crossed the net 14 times. A dig from sophomore libero Karysa Swackenberg and a pass from sophomore setter Megan Sharkey allowed for sophomore middle blocker Stasa Miljevic to complete the rally. However, the Knights would have had to collect a lot more points to be able to beat Minnesota.
Junior outside hitter Sahbria McLetchie and Cieslik led Rutgers with seven kills each. Miljevic recorded a team-high .286 attack percentage to contribute five kills, which is the 13th match out of 24 where Miljevic has logged at least five kills. Also helping to save the Knights from Minnesota’s offense was Swackenberg as she matched her Big Ten career high of 16 digs.
Leading assists for Rutgers was sophomore setter Megan Sharkey, recording a total of 46 assists in the past two matches. Sharkey collected 24 against Northwestern and 22 while facing Minnesota.
Up next for the Knights will be their second midweek game of the conference season against Michigan at Ann Arbor, Michigan. Following Michigan, Rutgers will head to University Park, Pennsyvlania to face No. 1 Penn State, the highest ranked team in the nation.
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