PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Sept. 3, 2012) – After winning the Rutgers Invitational with an undefeated 3-0 record, the Scarlet Knights host Lafayette in College Ave. Gym on Tuesday, Sept. 4, for their fourth-straight home game. The first serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. Rutgers is 6-1 for the first time since 1997.
The Leopards are 5-0 entering the match and coming off of an undefeated showing at their home Lafayette College Tournament with wins over Delaware State, Farleigh Dickinson and St. Peter’s. Lafayette is led on offense by junior Karissa Ciliento, who has compiled 52 kills at 2.36 per set. Defensively, sophomore Michelle Woodworth has accumulated 104 digs. The team is under the direction of 11th-year head coach Terri Dadio Campbell and finished in a tie for sixth place in the Patriot League last season.
The Scarlet Knights hold a 1-1 all-time record against the Leopards. Both meetings have been at the Rutgers Invitational. The teams first met on Sept. 19, 1992, resulting in a five-set loss for Rutgers. They matched up most recently on Sept. 23, 1995 and Rutgers swept the Leopards.
The Scarlet Knights are coming off of an impressive performance in their first home stand of the season, winning the Rutgers Invitational with a 3-0 record. The team started by sweeping Iona and New Hampshire on Aug. 31 before knocking off Rhode Island in four sets to close out the tournament on Sept. 1. It was the team’s first three-set wins of the season. Overall, the Scarlet Knights led all Rutgers Invitational teams in hitting percentage (.286), assists per set (15.70), kills per set (16.20) and digs per set (18.60). Rutgers recorded a season high in hitting percentage (.316) and assists (70) in the win over Rhode Island on Sept. 1.
Senior setter Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) was named tournament MVP after recording a career-high 65 assists in four sets with Rhode Island (Sept. 1). She tallied a tournament-best 13.70 assists per set in the three matches. Classmates Kylie Orr (Kettering, Ohio) and Alex Jones (Chesapeake, Va.) were also named to the Rutgers Invitational All-Tournament Team. Orr notched a career-best 21 kills against Rhode Island and topped the tournament field with 46 kills and 5.11 kills per set. Her previous career high was 17 kills, which came against South Dakota State on Aug. 28, 2009. Jones totaled 13 kills in the match on a .455 hitting percentage and compiled a tournament-leading 1.10 blocks per set.
Zielinski earned her fourth BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll spot on Sept. 3. She posted two double-doubles on the week and had 40 or more assists in three of the four games. Zielinski led all participants at the Rutgers Invitational with 137 assists. The setter also leads the conference with 321 assists and an 11.46 average per set. Freshman Sarah Schmid (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) is third in the league with a .434 hitting percentage, while playing in twice as many sets as the leaders. Classmate Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.) is in second place in the league with 4.25 kills per set.
The Scarlet Knights will travel to Norfolk, Va., for the Spartan Classic, hosted by Norfolk State. Rutgers will start the tournament with UNC-Wilmington on Sept. 7 at 4 p.m. The squad will play Stetson (10 a.m.) and Norfolk State (6 p.m.) on Sept. 8.
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