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Rutgers volleyball faces Wisconsin in weekend series

Rutgers women's volleyball is set to face No. 1 Wisconsin this weekend after splitting its last meet with Indiana. – Photo by Rutgers Volleyball / Twitter

The Rutgers women's volleyball team continues its season this Friday and Saturday with a series of away games against Wisconsin. After starting their season off with back-to-back losses against Northwestern, the Scarlet Knights (1-3, 1-3) split their series against Indiana and look to continue their winning ways this weekend. 

The past few weeks have marked the debut of five young players, including junior middle blocker Shealyn McNamara, who contributed 9 of Rutgers' 14 blocks in its first game against the Hoosiers (1-3, 1-3).

Joining her was freshman libero/defensive specialist Madyson Chitty, who reached double-digits in digs on Friday with 13, and freshman middle blocker Tina Grkovic, who recorded nine kills and reached a season-high hitting percentage on Saturday.

The Knights round out their core with experience in senior right-side hitters Beka Kojadinovic and Kamila Cieslik, who combined for 22 kills on Friday. In addition, junior setter Inna Balyko enters the games this weekend having made Rutgers history. Last Friday, she garnered 35 total assists, enough to crack the 2,000 assist mark, and became only the seventh Knight to ever do so. 

Along with individual achievements, Rutgers set a team record last week as well. The Knights' .314 hitting percentage on Saturday set a new Rutgers record in Big Ten play, beating their previous high of .284 set against Iowa in 2018.

The Knights face their most difficult opponent yet in the No. 1 Badgers (4-0, 4-0), who achieved this mark by earning 40 first-place votes out of the 62 votes cast nationwide. After winning the Big Ten in 2019 and reaching the NCAA championship, Wisconsin has yet to lose a game so far this season.

The Badgers are led by Dana Rettke, who led all Wisconsin players last Friday against Illinois in kills with 14. Backing her was the Badgers' Danielle Hart, who had nine kills and no errors, hitting at a .750 percentage. Wisconsin's Lauren Barnes was also named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after her performance last week, in which she recorded 31 total digs.

Although Rutgers has lost its last 10 contests with the Badgers, it had also lost 12 straight to Indiana before its Friday victory.

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

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