This past week, junior setter Inna Balyko earned another accolade for the Rutgers women’s volleyball team this season. She, along with Purdue setter Hayley Bush, was named Big Ten Co-Setter of the Week by the conference office on Monday.
Balyko was an integral part in the Scarlet Knights' (4-14, 4-14) back-to-back wins this week, when the team beat Maryland 3-1 both last Wednesday away and at home last Saturday. In the pair of victories, she averaged 12.25 assists, which helped Rutgers capture its first Big Ten sweep since it joined the conference in 2014.
Last Wednesday, Balyko gathered 40 assists. In addition, she notched 13 digs, giving her a fourth double-double on the season, adding four blocks and three kills. Her excellent play helped the Knights win in four tight sets, and gave Rutgers a program-record for most Big Ten wins in a season. Last Wednesday’s win was also the first time the Knights had won in College Park since 1980.
Saturday was no different, as Balyko not only topped her 40-assist mark on Wednesday but set a new career-high with 58. Her assist total also set a new record for most assists by a Knight in a Big Ten contest, as well as being the seventh most assists scored by any player in the rally-scoring era. The Russia native also collected 10 digs to give her the fifth double-double of the season for her and the second in a row against the Terrapins (4-14, 4-14), scoring two aces as well.
After being named Big Ten Freshman of the Week back in September of 2018, Balyko has continued to contribute ever since. This past game pushed Balyko over the 2,500 assist mark, just a few short weeks after she reached 2,000. She currently sits at 2,514 career assists.
This is her second Big Ten Setter of the Week award this season, with her previous one coming on Feb. 1 of this year. That week, Balyko had contributed to Rutgers’ victory against Indiana, gathering 9.75 assists per set. That was the first time the program had ever won against the Hoosiers (3-15, 3-15). Including this win, Balyko has won the Setter of the Week award a total of three times.
Balyko and the Knights will look to end their season off on the same positive note, as they play their season finale on the road next week against Michigan State.
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