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Rutgers volleyball drops weekend matches against Illinois, Maryland

Thirty-one digs from fifth-year right side hitter Beka Kojadinovic was not enough as the Rutgers volleyball team lost its weekend matchups against Illinois and Maryland.  – Photo by Matan Dubnikov

The Rutgers women’s volleyball team played its final two games held at the Rutgers Athletic Center this season, dropping its matchups to Illinois and Maryland.

With the two losses, the Scarlet Knights’ (8-15, 0-12) losing streak is up to 13 games for the season, their longest skid since 2018.

Rutgers started well on Friday night against the Fighting Illini (16-7, 8-4), staying neck-and-neck in the first set and fighting off a set point en route to a 27-25 win. Though Illinois took the following two sets, the Knights were able to bounce right back in the fourth frame, picking up a 25-22 win to send the game to a decisive fifth set.

The Illini ultimately prevailed in the final frame defeating Rutgers 15-12. The loss marked the Knights’ second five-set loss in conference play and third five-set loss overall. 

Sunday afternoon’s game was a different story as the Terrapins (18-6, 6-6) went on to sweep Rutgers for the second time this season. The final two sets of the game were decided by at least 10 each.

Individually, the Knights’ weekend leaders included fifth-year senior right side hitter Kamila Cieslik with 23 kills, senior setter Inna Balyko with 62 assists and fifth-year right side hitter Beka Kojadinovic with 31 digs.

All three players also collected double-doubles in the Illinois game with Balyko one dig shy against Maryland of a second double-double on the weekend.

As a team, Rutgers hit 0.145 on the weekend with 87 total kills and 44 total errors.

The Knights will stay put on campus this upcoming week, though changing venues to the College Avenue Gym, where it will take on Michigan State on Friday night and Purdue on Sunday. The Knights have four home games left this season, including the two to be played next weekend.

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

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