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Rutgers volleyball begins Big Ten play with Friday night matchup against No. 20 Penn State

The Rutgers volleyball team is heading into Big Ten play with an overall record of 8-3. – Photo by Ben Solomon /

Having wrapped up the non-conference portion of the schedule, the Rutgers women’s volleyball team will now transition into Big Ten play for the remainder of the season. The Scarlet Knights (8-3, 0-0) have 20 conference matchups ahead of them, starting this Friday at 7 p.m. with a game at home against No. 20 Penn State.

The Big Ten currently has six schools ranked in the top 25 of the country, including No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 3 Ohio State. Out of the Rutgers' 20 Big 10 matchups, 10 will come against ranked opponents.

Despite the challenge in front of them, the Knights have proven themselves to be capable of competing against the nation’s top programs, having already defeated a 2021 national qualifier in UMBC in come-from-behind fashion. Rutgers also tallied five sweeps while dropping just 13 sets.

In the Knights' latest tournament performance, the Knights split their two matches, defeating East Tennessee State while falling to the hosts, Clemson. Senior setter Inna Balyko continued to perform at a high level, recording her fourth double-double of the season against the Buccaneers (4-7, 0-0) while falling one dig shy of another against the Tigers (8-3, 0-0).

Similar to Balyko, senior right side hitter Beka Kojadinovic also notched a double-double against East Tennessee State while being one kill short of a fourth double-double against Clemson.

Looking at the Friday matchup for Rutgers, the Nittany Lions (7-3, 0-0) have recorded a sweep in each of their seven wins while being swept just once. Of their 3 losses, 1 includes a loss to No. 18 Georgia Tech. Statistically, Penn State leads the Knights in hitting percentage, kills per set, assists per set and blocks per set, but Rutgers holds the advantage in digs per set.

Following Friday, the Knights will go on a two-game road trip between Oct. 1 and Oct. 2 to the Midwest to take on Northwestern and No. 7 Purdue. Rutgers will then return home for a two-game homestand against Indiana and No. 12 Nebraska on Oct. 8 and Oct. 10, respectively.

Friday’s game will take place at the Rutgers Athletic Center with admission being free of charge to fans.

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

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