PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Sept. 7, 2012) – Rutgers volleyball recorded its sixth-straight victory dating back to Aug. 29, downing UNC-Wilmington in straight sets in its opening match of the Spartan Classic, hosted by Norfolk State, in Norfolk, Va. The Scarlet Knights improved to 8-1 on the season, the best start for the program since 1996 when the team started with the same record. It was the fourth sweep for Rutgers in 2012, all coming in the past five matches.
“We played a pretty good team today in UNC-Wilmington,” said head coach CJ Werneke. “We were able to execute a game plan that took them out of the things they wanted to do and took their strengths away. As we did that, we were able to neutralize some of their key players and just be able to dominate the match. To their credit, UNC-Wilmington never game up.”
RU won with set scores of 25-18, 25-15 and 26-24. The Scarlet Knights held the Seahawks (5-4) to a hitting percentage of .123 while compiling their own mark of .278. Rutgers improved to 3-0 in neutral site matches.
Senior Alex Jones (Chesapeake, Va.) accumulated six kills in the first set as Rutgers never trailed. In the second stanza, the Scarlet Knights got off to a 5-0 start and didn’t look back. RU led most of the final set and despite a late surge by the Seahawks, the team closed out the match
The Scarlet Knights were strong offensively with four players tallying double-digit kills. Jones topped all players with 14 kills as she hit .393 on the evening. She is one kill shy of 700 for her career. Classmate Kylie Orr (Kettering, Ohio) notched 10 kills, her sixth-consecutive match with a double-digit total in that category. Freshmen Sarah Schmid (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.) each had 10 kills as well.
Defensively, junior Tracy Wright (Fair Lawn, N.J.) recorded a match-high 24 digs. Senior setter Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) amassed 40 assists, the sixth time this season she has totaled 40 or more in a match. She was one dig shy of posting a double-double.
The squad will play Stetson (10 a.m.) and Norfolk State (6 p.m.) tomorrow, Sept. 8, to close out the Spartan Classic.
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