PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Sept. 10, 2012) – 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 at 5 p.m. Rutgers has won eight straight contests and has not suffered defeat since Aug. 25 at Miami. The squad currently holds the best record (10-1) in the BIG EAST and it is the best start for Rutgers since the team started 10-1 in 1996.
The Mountain Hawks are 1-3 entering the match. They opened the season with a win over Rider, before dropping matches to Delaware, Virginia and Western Kentucky. Offensively, Courtney McCutchan and Taylor Poole lead Lehigh with 31 kills each. Defensively, Rachel Charles has totaled 58 digs. The Patriot League team is under the direction of second-year head coach Bob Bertucci.
The Scarlet Knights hold a 10-3 record all-time against Lehigh. The teams met last season, when Rutgers swept the Mountain Hawks in straight sets, 25-20, 25-17 and 25-18. The Scarlet Knights have won three-straight over Lehigh, sweeping them in each contest. The last time Rutgers lost to the Mountain Hawks was on Nov. 2, 1993.
Rutgers is coming off of a tournament win at the Spartan Classic, sweeping UNC-Wilmington (Sept. 7), Stetson (Sept. 8) and host Norfolk State (Sept. 8). Rutgers tallied a .298 hitting percentage in the tournament and had a season-best .402 mark against Norfolk State. All six of the Scarlet Knights’ sweeps this season have come in the last seven matches.
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.
Senior setter Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) is third in the BIG EAST with 11.32 assists per set. Schmid is first in the league with a .459 hitting percentage.
The Scarlet Knights will travel to Philadelphia, Pa., for the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Penn Invitational, hosted by UPenn. Rutgers will face Radford on Sept. 14 and George Mason and UPenn on Sept. 15.
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