PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Aug. 24, 2012) – In its second match of the day at the Hurricane Invitational, the Rutgers volleyball team picked its second win, beating Wofford in five sets in the first ever meeting between the schools. The Scarlet Knights (2-0) won their first two matches of the season for the first time since 1998 when RU beat Delaware and Massachusetts at the Phoenix Invitational.
“It feels good to be 2-0,” said head coach CJ Werneke. “We were a little nervous about having a big win this morning and coming out flat and we came out flat. We figured it out and then we got a little momentum. Then, in game five we went back and forth and the kids found a way. We were able to withstand some adversity and respond to it.”
Rutgers came out on top with sets of 24-26, 23-25, 25-17, 25-23 and 15-12. RU tallied a .240 hitting percentage compared to the Wofford mark of .227 in the contest. The last time the Scarlet Knights came back from a two-set deficit to win was against Seton Hall on Oct. 15, 2010.
After trailing most of the first set, the Scarlet Knights tied it up late at 24-24, but the Terriers closed out the opening game. RU notched more kills than Wofford, as was the case in every set of the night, but hit at a lower percentage.
The Scarlet Knights came out rolling in the second set and held a five point lead at 15-10, but again the Terriers (0-2) finished strong in another tight game, picking up the win. Rutgers came out in the third in what proved to be the team’s best set of the night. RU tallied 15 kills on an evening-best .361 hitting percentage. The Scarlet Knights never trailed and won decisively by eight points. Despite losing a three-point lead in the fourth set, Rutgers rebounded late and grabbed the won the game.
The deciding set was another close one, staying within two points until the very end. Rutgers continued its trend from the win earlier in the day over Samford and finished strong. Down 11-10, RU went on a 6-1 run to close out the match with a 15-12 win with the help of two kills from freshman Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.), one from classmate Sarah Schmid (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and one from senior Alex Jones (Chesapeake, Va.).
Lassa again led the offensive charge, tallying a game-high and new career-high 23 kills in 61 attempts. She totaled 43 kills between the two victories on opening day. Schmid had another high-percentage game, recording 16 kills on a match-best .433 mark (players with five or more kills).
Senior setter Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) amassed 62 assists, one shy of her career-best, and 14 digs for her first double-double of the season. Jones earned six blocks on the evening, while junior libero Tracy Wright (Fair Lawn, N.J.) totaled 27 digs, good for 55 between the two games. Five freshmen and two transfers saw the court in the second game for Rutgers.
The Scarlet Knights will be back in action on Saturday in Coral Gables, Fla., with the first serve against host Miami scheduled for 1 p.m.
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