Rutgers returns home for midweek matchup against Ohio State
The Rutgers volleyball team will be home for its first Big Ten midweek game against Ohio State on Wednesday night at the College Avenue Gym. The last time the Scarlet Knights (5-21, 0-14) played the Buckeyes (13-12, 6-8) was on Oct. 7 where Rutgers lost in straight-set scores.
This past weekend, the Knights lost to No. 1 Penn State in what was a very difficult match for Rutgers to score any points in by set scores of 25-9, 25-9 and 25-12. The Nittany Lions recorded a .567 attacking percentage, much greater than the Knights’ .056.
Sophomore middle blocker Jasmine Stackhouse led the Rutgers offense for the second consecutive match in kills with 6, followed by sophomore middle blocker Stasa Miljevic with 4 and a team-high errorless .667 hitting clip. Junior outside hitter Sahbria McLetchie logged 3 kills, while two blocks apiece came from the trio of McLetchie, Miljevic and Stackhouse.
Another trio of players notched two digs in freshman opposite hitter Kamila Cieslik, freshman Beka Kojadinovic and sophomore libero Karysa Swackenberg. Additionally, the only service ace for the Knights was made by sophomore setter Megan Sharkey in the second set to place Rutgers on the board first.
Ohio State had a great start to the season with rankings in the national polls for the first month, but have slowly fallen to ninth place in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes most recently defeated No. 8 Wisconsin on Friday in a five-set match to upset a top-ten nationally ranked team, putting Ohio State up to No. 31 on the latest NCAA RPI.
Ohio State’s freshman libero Hannah Gruensfelder is currently third in the Big Ten for digs with an average of 4.54 digs per set and was the only player on the team to be named a Big Ten Volleyball Player of the Week this season on Sept. 11. The Buckeyes’ Lauren Witte and Taylor Hughes are the only other players ranked in the conference with Witte sitting in seventh for averaging 1.13 blocks a set and No. 13 for a .330 attack percentage. Hughes is placed just above Sharkey at No. 11 with 10.25 assists per set while Sharkey averages 7.9.
Last time Ohio State and the Knights faced off against each other, Rutgers almost took the third set from the Buckeyes but ultimately lost by set scores of 25-15, 25-12 and 26-24. At the game, the Knights logged a team-high five service aces in Big Ten play, and Sharkey surpassed 1,000 career assists to total 1,006.
After the Buckeyes’ newfound national ranking, it will be interesting to see if Rutgers will be able to come as close as they did to winning a set like last time both teams played each other.
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