PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Sept. 8, 2012) – The Rutgers volleyball team completed the Spartan Classic in Norfolk, Va., with a sweep of host Norfolk State Saturday night. The Scarlet Knights beat each team in three sets and recorded their sixth sweep of the season, all coming in the past seven games. The squad is now 10-1, its best start since the 1996 season when Rutgers also started with that record. The team has not lost since Aug. 25 at Miami and has won eight straight matches.
“I think to get three wins under our belt is great and in the fashion we did it winning in 3-0 sweeps,” said head coach CJ Werneke. “Each match in the tournament, we got a little better, a little bit crisper and got a higher level of execution and quality of play. I was really pleased with how we finished the tournament today.”
The Scarlet Knights won by set scores of 25-20, 25-14 and 25-14. RU had its best hitting percentage of the season at .402 and held Norfolk State (2-8) to .106 in that category.
Rutgers never trailed in the opening set with the help of five kills from freshman Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.). In the second, the Scarlet Knights started with an 8-2 run. Lassa again led the set with six kills. The final stanza was much of the same, with a 7-2 run midway through and Rutgers held on for the victory.
Senior Alex Jones (Chesapeake, Va.) was named Tournament MVP. She had 28 kills in the tournament, including five in the final match against the Spartans. Freshman Sarah Schmid (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) was also named to the All-Tournament Team, compiling 32 kills in the three contests.
“There is no doubt Alex (Jones) was playing at a high level this weekend,” said Werneke. “She was very efficient hitting for us and really dominated at times. It was great to get her back home in front of her friends and family.”
Senior setter Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) tallied her sixth double-double of the season and her second of the tournament. She had 34 assists and a match-high 11 digs. She has notched 30 or more kills in nine of the 11 games this season. Lassa totaled a match-best 15 kills and surpassed the 100 kills mark for her career, now sitting at 106. She also set a career-high in hitting percentage, putting together a mark of .440.
Next, the Scarlet Knights will travel to Bethlehem, Pa., to take on the Lehigh Mountain Hawks at Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 11. Rutgers is 10-3 all-time against the Mountain Hawks.
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