PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Aug. 28, 2012) – After earning a 2-1 record at the Hurricane Invitational, hosted by Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., the Rutgers volleyball team will head to Bronx, N.Y. to take on the Fordham Rams. The match will take place Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 5 p.m. in Rose Hill Gym.
“I expect a battle,” said head coach CJ Werneke. “It’s always tough going to Rose Hill Gymnasium and they always give us a good fight there. One of our goals is to win away matches this year so it will be a good test for us. It will be a good match against a local rival.”
The Rams are 0-4 entering the match, losing all four matches at the Boston College Invitational on opening weekend. Fordham returned five starters from its 2011 season in which the team went 7-23 and the team is under the direction of ninth-year head coach Pete Volkert.
The Scarlet Knights hold a 7-4 record against the Rams, dating back to a three-set win by RU on Oct. 4, 1988 in Bronx, N.Y. The two teams have met as recently as last season, when Rutgers hosted Fordham in College Ave Gym on Oct. 4, 2011. The Scarlet Knights won the match in four sets, though it wasn’t an easy victory as the second set didn’t end until the score reached 32-30. Rutgers took the first six meetings with the Rams then lost the next four before picking up the victory last season. Rutgers is 1-2 all-time at Rose Hill Gym.
Rutgers started the season with back-to-back wins over Samford, which made the 2011 NCAA Tournament, and Wofford at the Hurricane Invitational. This marked the first time since 1998 that the Scarlet Knights won their opening two matches of the season when the squad beat Delaware and Massachusetts at the Phoenix Invitational.
Both victories went five sets and in the match against Wofford, the Scarlet Knights were down two sets to none and rallied for the victory. The last time the Scarlet Knights came back from a two-set deficit to win was against Seton Hall on Oct. 15, 2010. The Scarlet Knights fell to the the host Miami Hurricanes with sets of 15-25, 21-25 and 14-25 in their final match of the tournament.
Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.) and Sarah Schmid (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) were each named to the Hurricane Invitational All-Tournament Team. Lassa totaled a team-best 51 kills in three games and Schmid followed with 39 kills at the tournament. Schmid holds a team-best .341 hitting percentage. Lassa led all players in the Hurricane Invitational with an average of 4.25 kills per set.
Lassa was also named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll as she leads the conference with 51 kills and is tied for second with 4.25 kills per set. Senior setter Stephanie Zielinksi (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) tallied a BIG EAST-best 141 assists on opening weekend and is second in the conference averaging 10.85 per set. She surpassed the 3,000 assist mark for her career against Wofford and is currently fourth all-time at Rutgers with 3,054.
Following the match with Fordham, the Scarlet Knights will play at home for the first time this season as they host the Rutgers Invitational, set to begin on Aug. 31. Iona, New Hampshire and Rhode Island will visit College Ave Gym for the two-day tournament. RU is scheduled to play its first match of the tournament against Iona at 10 a.m. on Friday.
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