PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Aug. 29, 2012) – Rutgers volleyball continued its five-set victory trend with a win over Fordham in Bronx, N.Y., Wednesday. The two teams alternated wins before Rutgers pulled out a close deciding set, 16-14. This is the first time since 2009 that each of the Scarlet Knights’ first three wins of the season was picked up in five games. The Scarlet Knights are now 8-4 all-time against the Rams.
RU (3-1) came out on top with sets of 23-25, 25-13, 22-25, 25-17 and 16-14. The 12-point margin of victory in the second set was the largest for Rutgers this season. Fordham dropped to 0-5 on the season, while the Scarlet Knights moved to 1-1 in away matches and 3-0 in five set contests.
“Sometimes, when things are a little off you’ve got to grind out and win and that’s what we did today,” said head coach CJ Werneke. “We just found a way. It’s a real testament to our kids to just continue to fight. It gives them a lot of confidence in five set matches.”
The Rams led the entire first set, but the Scarlet Knights rallied from a 24-19 deficit to make it 24-23 before Fordham closed it out. RU wasn’t fazed and came out on a roll in set two, taking the first six points of the game and never looked back.
Set three played out much like the opener and Rutgers couldn’t catch the Rams. In the fourth set, the Scarlet Knights responded again, jumping out to a 4-1 lead right from the start and tied the match. Rutgers started out with a 4-1 lead in the deciding set, but Fordham managed to close the gap and tie the game at 14 before kills by junior Brittany Bozzini (Saratoga, Calif.) and freshman Rachel Andreassian (Fredericksburg, Texas) sealed the deal.
Freshman Sarah Schmid (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) led the offensive charge for the Scarlet Knights tallying a new career-best 18 kills on 23 attempts with just one error. Her .739 hitting percentage on the evening is the highest among Rutgers players with 10 or more kills since senior Alex Jones (Chesapeake, Va.) totaled a .786 percentage, converting on 11 of 14 attempts against Villanova on Oct. 28, 2011. Jones followed Schmid with 17 kills in the match.
Senior setter Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) notched her second double-double of the season with 43 assists and 10 digs. It is the third time in four games she has totaled more than 40 assists. Junior Tracy Wright (Fair Lawn, N.J.) recorded a team-high 12 digs defensively.
Next, 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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