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Rutgers volleyball hosts weekend matchups against Michigan State, Purdue

The Rutgers volleyball team is set to play its final games at the College Avenue Gymnasium this weekend. – Photo by Matan Dubnikov

The Rutgers women’s volleyball team will open up play at the College Avenue Gymnasium for the first time this season, welcoming Michigan State on Friday night and Purdue on Sunday afternoon.

The Scarlet Knights (8-15, 0-12) had played their first eight home games at the Jersey Mike’s Arena, formerly known as the Rutgers Athletic Center, on Livingston campus, hosting their final game at the venue this past Sunday. 

Rutgers enters the weekend winless since Sept. 17, with its latest losses coming against Illinois and Maryland. The Knights came close to breaking the losing streak on Friday, taking the Fighting Illini (16-7, 8-4) to five sets, but ultimately falling in the final frame. 

The Spartans (9-12, 2-10) come into New Brunswick on a losing streak as well, having fallen short in their last three games. The Boilermakers (16-5, 8-4), on the other hand, won both of their weekend matchups, including a four-set win over No. 3 Wisconsin. Rutgers has already met Purdue once this season, losing to the Boilermakers in three sets on Oct. 2. 

Following Purdue’s weekend success, Hayley Bush was named Co-Big Ten Setter of the Week while Raven Colvin was named both Big Ten Freshman of the Week and Defensive Player of the Week. Colvin is currently eighth in the conference in hitting percentage at 0.371, while Bush is seventh in the conference in assists per set with 10.12. 

Michigan State also features key players of its own, including Sarah Franklin, who is averaging 3.99 kills per set, good for second in the Big Ten, and Naya Gros, who is averaging the fifth most blocks per set in the conference with 1.31. 

The Knights have continued to be led by its veterans, including fifth-year senior right side hitter Beka Kojadinovic with 2.83 kills per set, senior setter Inna Balyko with 8.53 assists per set and senior middle back Shealyn McNamara with 1.16 blocks per set, all of whom lead the team in those respective categories. 

Friday night’s matchup will begin at 7 p.m. while Sunday afternoon’s matchup will begin at 1 p.m. Admission is free for fans and coverage will be televised on the Big Ten Network+.

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

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