Following two consecutive impressive performances in tournaments, the Rutgers women’s volleyball team returns to Piscataway to host the Rutgers 9/11 Memorial Tournament. The Scarlet Knights (5-1, 0-0) begin the homestand with a Friday morning game against NJIT at 11 a.m. before a 6:30 p.m. game against North Carolina State the same day. Rutgers then concludes the tournament on Saturday at 5 p.m. with a matchup against Brown.
Through their first six games, the Knights have shown both resilience and dominance, boasting both come-from-behind and clinical wins. In fact, Rutgers has dropped just six sets thus far, their best start to the season since 2012.
Moreover, Rutgers is getting it done both on the attack and defensively, leading its opponents in kills per set, 13.5 to 10.9, as well as digs per set, 15.9 to 14.8. Most importantly, the Knights are also playing mistake-free volleyball, committing just 98 errors to their opponents’ 126 and hitting .248 while the opposition has hit .134.
It’s been a team effort from Rutgers to get to this point as the Knights have had five different players hit above .250 so far and three players hitting above .300. It’s also helped to have 10 letter winners from last season’s roster return to the team this fall.
Fifth-year senior right side hitter Beka Kojadinovic is leading both on and off the court, having earned MVP honors after her performance in the UConn Challenge. Fifth-year senior middle back Shealyn McNamara and senior setter Inna Balyko were also selected to the All-Tournament Team after their efforts in the three games.
Looking at Rutgers’ weekend opponents, the Highlanders (1-4, 0-0), the Wolfpack (2-4, 0-0), and the Bears (3-1, 0-0) have had a combined record of 6-9, with Brown being the only side above the .500 mark. The Bears are also the only team to have a higher hitting percentage than the Knights at 0.259 on the season.
With the conclusion of this tournament, Rutgers will travel to Clemson, South Carolina for its final three non-conference games against East Tennessee State and Clemson on Sept. 17. The Knights will next return home to Piscataway on Sept. 24 against Penn State for the first of 20 Big Ten matchups.
Admission to all games during the weekend will be free of admission. Rutgers’ game against North Carolina State will also be nationally televised on the Big Ten Network.
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