CORAL GABLES, Fla. (Aug. 24, 2012) – The Rutgers volleyball team opened its season with a victory against Samford in the opening match of the Hurricane Invitational. RU picked up the win in five sets over the Bulldogs, who made an appearance in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Samford is the alma mater of Rutgers head coach CJ Werneke.
The Scarlet Knights controlled the first two sets, winning both. However, Samford responded and took a close third set before earning the fourth as well.
Down by a score of 10-7 in the deciding set, the Scarlet Knights rallied and finished the match on an 8-1 run which included two-straight service aces by senior Kylie Orr (Kettering, Ohio) as Rutgers won the set 15-11. RU won by set scores of 25-23, 25-23, 26-28, 14-25, 15-11. The Scarlet Knights improved to 1-0, while Samford lost its opening match of the season.
Freshman Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.) led the all competitors with 20 kills. She tallied her first double-double as she recorded 13 digs as well. Classmate Sarah Schmid (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) amassed 14 kills and led the team with a.379 hitting percentage. Six freshmen and two newcomers who transferred saw action for Rutgers. Senior Stephanie Zielinski (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) totaled 55 assists.
On the defensive end, junior Tracy Wright (Fair Lawn, N.J.) notched 28 digs in her first match for RU. The win marks the first time the Scarlet Knights earned a victory in the opening match since Rutgers opened with a win over New Hampshire in 1999.
Rutgers is scheduled to continue play at 4:30 p.m. in Coral Gables, Fla., taking on Wofford. The match will be the first time the two teams have met.
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