March 19, 2019 | 42° F

Rutgers looks to turn around season with upset win over No. 15 Purdue

Photo by Rafal Stapinski |

Wednesday night will mark the fourth-to-last match for the Rutgers volleyball team as it heads into battle to face No. 15 Purdue. 

The Scarlet Knights (5-23, 0-16) faced the Boilermakers in West Lafayette, Indiana less than a month ago where Rutgers lost in straight-set scores.

Last time out, the Knights played an away match against No. 6 Nebraska and with 8,135 people in attendance they lost in straight sets by scores of 25-8, 25-11 and 25-13. Rutgers recorded a .092-team hitting percentage with 23 kills, but was unable to defeat Nebraska’s 42 kills from a .480 clip.

As sophomore setter Megan Sharkey was absent from the game against Nebraska, senior setter Talia Holze reclaimed her starting position to pass off 20 assists in the match. 

Freshman outside hitter Yana Kamshilina launched 8 kills from Holze’s assists while junior outside hitter Sahbria McLetchie logged 7 kills. 

Freshman opposite hitter Kamila Cieslik nabbed another service ace to keep her steady at No. 4 in the conference. Sophomore middle blocker Stasa Miljevic’s also recorded an ace in the match.

Purdue moved up six spots in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll from last week to sit No. 15 in the nation and are seven places higher in the NCAA RPI at No. 18. 

While Penn State has taken over the top spot in the country with a .351 hitting percentage, the Boilermakers’ .319 stands third. Purdue is also second in the Big Ten with 14.43 kills and 13.38 assists per set behind Minnesota. 

This week, the Boilermakers’ Sherridan Atkinson and Ashley Evans were named Big Ten player and setter of the week, respectively, for their performances in upsets over No. 5 Minnesota and No. 10 Wisconsin. 

Atkinson recorded a total of 31 kills, 13 digs and nine blocks with a .364 hitting percentage to win both conference matches. She currently ranks No. 10 in the conference for averaging 3.46 kills per set. 

Evans logged 102 assists, 18 digs and 10 kills over the two games to receive her second setter of the week award this season. She is among the top three setters in the conference averaging 11.55 assists a set.

Rutgers’ previous matchup against Purdue was lost in straight-set scores of 25-11, 25-21 and 25-16 with the Boilermakers hitting a .405 clip compared to the Knights’ .134. Highlighting that match was a 7-0 run in the second set powered by four attack errors from Purdue and kills from McLetchie, Cieslik and Miljevic. Leading Rutgers’ offense was the powerful duo of McLetchie and Cieslik, recording double-digit kills of 14 and 10, respectively.

For updates on the Rutgers volleyball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Alexandra Fabugais-Inaba

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