PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Sept. 11, 2012) – For the fourth straight time, the Rutgers volleyball team downed Lehigh, beating the Mountain Hawks in five sets on Tuesday in Bethlehem, Pa. The Scarlet Knights improved to 4-0 in five set matches this season and have now won nine contests in a row. Rutgers is now 11-1 on the season, the best start in program history.
“We haven’t been focused on (the start),” said head coach CJ Werneke. “We’ve been focusing on the task at hand. We’re going to enjoy the accomplishments that we get for having a great start. We’re a team capable of winning in a variety of ways. It shows a lot about our resiliency.”
The Scarlet Knights improved to 11-3 all-time against the Mountain Hawks (1-4) with set scores of 18-25, 25-23, 23-25, 26-24 and 15-11. Rutgers has not lost since Aug. 25 at Miami.
Led by freshman Sarah Schmid’s (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) 15 kills on a .500 hitting percentage and career-best five blocks, the Scarlet Knights were able to come back from a 2-1 deficit to beat Lehigh.
The Mountain Hawks never trailed in the first set to go up early on Rutgers. Down 17-15 in the second stanza, the Scarlet Knights went on a 5-0 run with freshman Ronnie Komisarek (San Mateo, Calif.) at the serve on four of the points. The run was led with a kill by Schmid and sophomore Rachel Andreassian (Fredericksburg, Texas) as well as three attack errors by Lehigh. Rutgers would hold on to take the game.
Despite a 15-11 Rutgers lead midway through the third set, Lehigh went on a 7-0 run that the Scarlet Knights couldn’t overcome. In a must-win situation in the fourth game, Rutgers responded. Down 21-17, RU took advantage of five late errors by the Mountain Hawks and three kills by senior Kylie Orr (Kettering, Ohio) to take a close set.
The deciding set was won by the Scarlet Knights, as they grabbed a 6-5 lead and didn’t look back.
Freshman Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.) led Rutgers offensively with 16 kills. She also had her second double-double of the season, accumulating 13 digs as well. Junior Tracy Wright (Fair Lawn, N.J.) matched Lassa’s defensive efforts with 13 digs of her own. Senior setter Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) recorded her seventh double-double, tallying 51 assists and 12 digs. It is the seventh time this season she has totaled more than 40 assists in a match and the 10th time she notched more than 30.
Next, 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.
Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RutgersAthletics) and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. For specific updates regarding women’s volleyball, follow the program on Twitter @RUvball.