Knights continue tough season with straight set loss to No. 15 Purdue
The Rutgers volleyball team fell to No. 15 Purdue on Wednesday night in straight set scores of 25-19, 25-11 and 25-18. The Scarlet Knights (5-23, 0-17) have only three matches left in the season with upcoming games against No. 1 Penn State, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Rutgers has felt the power of the Big Ten with 17 consecutive conference losses, but have seen major improvements by winning sets against Michigan and Indiana.
The first set saw a 7-1 run from Purdue at the start to take the early lead before the Knights rattled off their own 7-1 stint, which included junior outside hitter Sahbria McLetchie’s service ace and 2 kills from freshman outside hitter Yana Kamshilina. With the score tied 8-8, the Boilermakers got the ball rolling, allowing Rutgers to only score 1 or 2 points at a time.
Purdue’s momentum continued to build in the second set as the Knights were unable to score more than 3 points in a row. Kamshilina was able to squeeze in a service ace while freshman opposite hitter Kamila Cieslik notched 3 kills throughout the set.
Rutgers tried to take the lead in the third set by leading off with a 3-0 spurt, but Purdue countered with a massive 12-0 run. The Knights chased Purdue for the lead by playing 3-0 and 4-0 stints, but could not catch up to the early lead that the Boilermakers created at the start of the final set.
Kamshilina led Rutgers’ offense again for the second consecutive time recording 9 kills and an ace on a .438-attack clip. Cieslik was second to Kamshilina with 7 kills and an ace of her own. Sophomore libero Karysa Swackenberg and senior setter Talia Holze logged 13 and seven digs, respectively, to prevent Purdue from scoring any more points against the Knights.
Holze and Swackenberg switched positions in the assist department as Holze took control again for her second time in a starting position with 21 assists, while Swackenberg was able to get in three. With sophomore setter Megan Sharkey absent for the past two games, Holze has played a crucial part in setting up Rutgers’ attacks during the matches. More specifically, Holze’s assists coupled with Kamshilina’s kills have proven to be an effective duo to put the Knights on the board.
Next up, Rutgers will go up against No. 1 Penn State for the second time this month on Saturday night at the College Avenue Gym. The Knights will have their Senior Night at the match where senior players on the team will get their last chance to play for Rutgers on their home court before heading off to away games at Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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