Rutgers fails to pick up win on road, dropping midweek match to Michigan
Unable to capture a set win over Michigan, the Rutgers volleyball team fell to the Wolverines for the second time this season at Ann Arbor, Michigan on Wednesday night. The Scarlet Knights (5-20, 0-13) have now accumulated 14 consecutive losses, including 13 Big Ten matches against 11 different programs.
They continue to sit at the bottom of the conference standings without a Big Ten win.
Michigan’s .303 attack percentage greatly surpassed Rutgers’ .095 as the Knights lost in straight-set scores of 25-15, 25-19 and 25-14.
Michigan kept a strong handle on the first set, as Rutgers was held back from scoring no more than 3 consecutive points. The Wolverines closed out the set with a 6-0 spurt and did not lose focus from the first set to the next.
The Knights tried to come back in the second set of the match like they did their first time facing Michigan this season. The set was highlighted by a timeout from the Knights that allowed for a 10-1 run to put Rutgers up ahead of Michigan, 15-11. But the Wolverines did not give in and pulled out a 7-1 stint before securing the set with a 4-0 streak to steal the Knights’ chance of another set win.
Just like the first set, Rutgers was not able to score more than 3 consecutive points during the third set. A timeout for the Knights towards the end of the match yet again couldn’t stop Michigan from throwing down a 7-0 run to close out the night.
None of the players for Rutgers hit double-digit kills, but leading its offense this time around was sophomore middle blocker Jasmine Stackhouse with seven kills on a .267 clip. She was followed closely behind by a trio of Knights with six kills, including junior outside hitter Sahbria McLetchie, freshman outside hitter Yana Kamshilina and sophomore middle blocker Stasa Miljevic. In addition to kills, McLetchie recorded four digs and a block alongside Miljevic’s two blocks.
Leading the assists department this season has been sophomore setter Megan Sharkey as she notched 28 assists during this match. Sophomore libero Karysa Swackenberg has also been taking over the dig department for several matches this season, as she logged 13 digs for Rutgers.
Next up for the Knights will be a slate of tough matches as all the Big Ten teams that they will face have been nationally ranked in the top 35 of the NCAA RPI and have been in the latest AVCA coaches poll, except for Ohio State.
For the first of those tough matchups, Rutgers will travel to University Park, Pennsylvania over the weekend to face off against No. 1 Penn State on Saturday. The Nittany Lions (21-1, 11-1) have been the top-ranked team in the nation for several weeks now, so the Knights will be fighting for every point that they can get.
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