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Rutgers volleyball travels this weekend to face No. 9 Minnesota, No. 11 Nebraska

Senior setter Inna Balyko averages 8.57 assists per set for the Knights. – Photo by Matan Dubnikov

Down to its final four games of the season, the Rutgers women’s volleyball team will travel to Minneapolis to take on No. 9 Minnesota on Friday night before heading to Lincoln the following day to face No. 11 Nebraska on Saturday night.

The Scarlet Knights (8-19, 0-16) have not won a match in more than two months, with their last win coming on Sept. 17 against Eastern Tennessee State.

Since then, Rutgers has lost 17 consecutive games, 16 of which have been conference matchups. The Knights are the only team in the Big Ten not to record a conference win.

Friday’s matchup against the Gophers (17-7, 12-4) will mark the first time that Rutgers has played Minnesota since November 2019, while Saturday’s game against the Cornhuskers (19-6, 13-3) is the Knights’ first meeting against Nebraska since Oct. 10.

The Gophers are coming off of a loss that snapped a six-game win streak, which included wins over the Cornhuskers, No. 10 Ohio State and No. 24 Illinois. Nebraska comes into Saturday having swept last weekend’s slate against Maryland. Saturday night will also serve as senior night for the Cornhuskers.

Both sides are at the top of the conference in various statistical categories including digs per set, in which Minnesota is second in the Big Ten, averaging 16.81, as well as opponent hitting percentage, in which Nebraska has held opponents to a conference-leading 0.150 average.

The Gophers' Stephanie Samedy also leads the Big Ten in kills per set with 4.74 while the Cornhuskers' Nicklin Hames is fifth in the conference in assists per set with 10.56.

Rutgers’ attack has been led by fifth-year right side hitter Beka Kojadinovic, who is averaging 2.79 kills per set, and senior setter Inna Balyko, who is averaging 8.57 assists per set. Sophomore libero Madyson Chitty has led the team on the defensive side, averaging 3.43 digs per set, along with senior middle back Shealyn McNamara, who is averaging 1.17 blocks per set.

Friday night’s game will start at 8:30 p.m. while Saturday night’s game will start at 8 p.m., both of which will be televised on Big Ten Network+. Saturday will be the final time the Knights play on the road this season, as they return to campus next weekend for the final two games of the season.

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

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