Rutgers falls in straight sets to Ohio State in midweek match
Struggling for consistent play, the Rutgers volleyball team failed to defeat Ohio State (14-12, 7-8) at the College Avenue Gym on Wednesday night. The Scarlet Knights (5-22, 0-15) started off strong on their home court, but could not handle the Buckeyes's momentum throughout the remainder of the match.
Ohio State's .272 attack percentage was more than double Rutgers’s .125, as the Buckeyes took the game in straight-set scores of 25-21, 25-12 and 25-17. The match was highlighted by a 4-0 spurt in the first set and back-to-back service aces from sophomore setter Megan Sharkey in the third set.
In the first set, the Knights stayed side-by-side with Ohio State at 8-8, before the Buckeyes rattled off a 5-1 spurt later in the set for a 16-10 lead. Feeling the threat on its home court, Rutgers attacked with its own 5-1 and 4-0 runs to close the gap to 20-19. Nonetheless, Ohio State closed with a 4-0 stint just as the Knights were able to tie the score 21-21.
With an early 7-1 spurt from the Buckeyes in the second set, Ohio State took control and didn’t let Rutgers score more than 2 consecutive points. Another 5-0 run forced a timeout for the Knights, which resulted in a kill by freshman outside hitter Yana Kamshilina. But just like the first set, the Buckeyes put up a 4-0 stint to close out the second set.
The third set saw a similar run as the second set, when Ohio State unleashed a 9-1 run at the start of the set. Rutgers reciprocated the call with a 4-1 stint of its own off of Sharkey’s aces, but the Knights were not able to maintain the late chase after the Buckeyes.
Junior outside hitter Sahbria McLetchie led Rutgers’s offense with 6 kills, five digs and a block. Close behind were sophomore middle blockers Stasa Miljevic and Jasmine Stackhouse with 5 kills apiece, while Miljevic also notched three blocks. Stackhouse hit a team-high .444 attack clip, followed by Miljevic’s .385. Multiple players contributed to the Knights’s dig department, including freshman opposite hitter Kamila Cieslik’s eight digs and freshman Beka Kojadinovic and sophomore libero Karysa Swackenberg’s seven digs each.
With five matches left in the Big Ten season for Rutgers, it is unlikely that the Knights will defeat any of their opponents, since all of the upcoming matches contain teams ranked in the top 25 of the latest NCAA RPI and AVCA coaches’ poll. Rutgers will look toward achieving the smaller goals and fighting for every point throughout every match.
The Knights will have its next chance at battle on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m., as they go on the road to face off against No. 6 Nebraska.
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