The Rutgers women's volleyball team continued its strong start to the season with a dominant performance at the UConn Challenge, sweeping the three-game slate this past weekend.
Kicking off the tournament with a win over Central Connecticut State on Friday night, the Scarlet Knights (5-1, 0-0) then picked apart both Lafayette and the hosts, UConn, by scores of 3-1 and 3-0, respectively, the following day.
Fifth-year senior right side hitter Beka Kojadinovic led the way with an average of 3.5 kills per set, 19 digs and six blocks, all over the course of the weekend, en route to winning the UConn Challenge MVP award.
Kojadinovic, along with senior middle-back Shealyn McNamara and senior setter Inna Balyko, were all selected to the All-Tournament Team in light of their stellar performances. While McNamara averaged 1.6 blocks and 2.00 kills per set, Balkyo averaged 11.22 assists per set.
"Last weekend, we played our best match of the weekend in the first match and then kind of went down a bit as we went to the next two matches,” said head volleyball coach Caitlin Schweihofer. “I charged the team with trying to work to do the opposite this weekend, to start strong and finish even stronger. I thought that was really evident tonight.”
Rutgers’ 5-1 is its best record to open a season since 2012. Other notable milestones reached this weekend included Kojadinovic moving into sole possession of second all-time in career aces in the rally era. Currently at 86 aces, she needs nine more aces to become the all-time rally-era leader and 33 more to reach the top 10 of all time.
Next weekend, the Knights will finish up the last of their non-conference play as they head back home to host the Rutgers 9/11 Memorial Tournament. The Knights will face NJIT first at 11 a.m. on Friday before a nationally televised game at 6:30 p.m. on the Big Ten Network against NC State.
Rutgers then closes out the tournament with a game against Brown at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. All three games will be played at the Rutgers Athletic Center with free admission for all fans.
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