PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Sept. 15, 2012) – In their best defensive performance of the season, the Rutgers volleyball team put away host Penn at the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Penn Invitational on Saturday night. The Scarlet Knights amassed a season-high 113 digs in just four sets, passing their mark set earlier in the day of 87 against George Mason. Rutgers won its 12th-straight match by set scores of 22-25, 28-26, 25-19 and 25-16.
“Our defense had disciplined play and they were pretty active,” said head coach CJ Werneke. “As a result, we were able to execute transition points and that was the difference. We have won in a variety of ways. We have won in three, we’ve won in four and we’ve won in five sets. We’ve won when we’ve hand to grind it out and we’ve won when we’ve really executed at a high level. We haven’t always played our best but in the end we find ways to win.”
Rutgers (14-1) moved to 13-8 all-time against the Quakers (4-5). It was the third tournament win of the season, as the squad was victorious at the Rutgers Invitational and the Spartan Classic. The Scarlet Knights are now 4-1 on the road, with the only loss of the season coming at Miami on Aug. 25.
Freshman Sarah Schmid (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) was named Tournament MVP, her third All-Tournament Team of the season. She totaled a career and match-best 20 kills against the Quakers and 49 in the three contests at the Penn Invitational. Senior Alex Jones (Chesapeake, Va.) earned her third All-Tournament Team honor of the season and had 15 kills in the win over Penn.
Rutgers trailed most of the first set, and couldn’t catch the Quakers. The second game was tied late at 25, when kills by Schmid and freshman Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.) closed it out. In the third set Rutgers led by just one, 7-6, before going on a 6-0 run led by two Lassa kills and freshman Ronnie Komisarek (San Mateo, Calif.) at the serve. The Scarlet Knights went on a 7-1 run late in the fourth set to make the score 22-13 and didn’t look back. Jones led the charge in the final stanza with six kills. Rutgers improved to 6-0 in neutral site matches.
Senior Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) tallied 57 assists, her sixth time over 50 this season. The setter also compiled 28 digs, a new career best. Her previous high was 21, which she recorded three times including earlier in the day over the Patriots. It marked Zielinksi’s 10th double-double of the 2012 campaign.
Lassa shattered her career high in digs, notching 18 against the Quakers along with 14 kills. Her previous high in digs was 13, which she tallied four times this season. Lassa now has five double-doubles, including three at the Penn Invitational. Komisarek totaled a career-high 20 digs on the defensive side for the Scarlet Knights.
Earlier in the day, Rutgers improved to 5-0 in five-set matches, downing George Mason in its second contest of the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Penn Invitational on Saturday afternoon. The Scarlet Knights picked up the victory with set scores of 25-23, 18-25, 18-25, 25-22 and 15-13.
Rutgers improved to 4-6 all-time against the Patriots (2-11). Zielinski hit the 600 assists mark for the season.
Freshman Rachel Andreassian (Fredericksburg, Texas) set a career mark with seven kills, surpassing her previous high of six which she totaled twice this season.
The Scarlet Knights will begin BIG EAST play at the College Ave. Gym against South Florida on Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. Rutgers holds a 5-5 record all-time against the Bulls.
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