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Rutgers volleyball drops weekend matches against Northwestern, Purdue

Senior setter Inna Balyko and fifth-year senior middle back Shealyn McNamara contributed a combined 15 total blocks in the Knights' weekend matches.  – Photo by Olivia Thiel

The Rutgers women’s volleyball team continued its recent rough patch as it dropped its fourth and fifth consecutive losses this weekend, being swept by both Northwestern and No. 4 Purdue last Friday and Saturday, respectively. 

The Scarlet Knights (8-7, 0-4) were out to their best start to a season since 2012, winning 7 of their first 9 matchups, before hitting a roadblock. With the two sweeps this weekend, Rutgers has now not won a set since Sept. 17, when they defeated Eastern Tennessee State. 

Despite being swept by the Wildcats (6-9, 1-3), the Knights played three close sets, with the deficit being no greater than 6 points in any of the three sets. In the final two sets of Friday night’s game, the final score was decided by just 2 points 

Friday night’s game was also historical, as fifth-year right side hitter Beka Kojadinovic became Rutgers’ rally-era leader in aces with 95 career aces now after both weekend matches. 

Saturday night’s game proved to be tougher for the Knights as the Boilermakers (11-2, 3-1) scored the game’s first 10 points and never looked back. Purdue went on to win the first set 25-6.

Statistically, Kojadinovic finished the weekend with 11 kills, while senior setter Inna Balyko collected 39 assists. Fifth-year senior middle back Shealyn McNamara led the team in blocks with nine, and sophomore libero Madyson Chitty led the team in digs with 16. 

Rutgers will return home next weekend, as it prepares for a two-game homestand in hopes of notching its first Big Ten win of the 2021 season and breaking the five-game losing streak.

Matchups will be against Indiana and Nebraska, on Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m., respectively. Both games will be played at the Rutgers Athletic Center on Livingston campus, free of admission for fans and will be televised on Big Ten Network+.

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

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