PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Sept. 30, 2012) – The Rutgers volleyball team picked up its first BIG EAST win of the season, downing Georgetown in four sets in Washington, D.C., Sunday. The Scarlet Knights claimed the victory with set scores of 25-23, 25-16, 18-25 and 26-24.
“I think we executed really well in spurts and then not so well in other spurts, but the key to coming out on top was being good late in sets,” said head coach CJ Werneke. “There’s no doubt that we’re better in the BIG EAST than our record indicates right now, which should build our confidence. As long as we continue to believe in that and stick to the plan, good things are going to happen.”
It was the first win for Rutgers (15-4, 1-3 BIG EAST) over the Hoyas (6-11, 0-4 BIG EAST) since Sept. 27, 2009 and marked the first victory for the squad since downing Penn on Sept. 15. The Scarlet Knights are now 26-16 all-time against Georgetown, the most wins the school has over any team in its history. It was the third four-set victory for Rutgers this season and the squad is now 5-2 on the road.
Rutgers compiled a .174 hitting percentage, 58 kills, 51 assists, 73 digs and 5.0 team blocks. Georgetown recorded 42 kills, 42 assists, 71 digs and 10.0 team blocks. The Scarlet Knights held the Hoyas to a .107 hitting percentage, the lowest by a Rutgers BIG EAST opponent this season.
Despite being down 17-11 midway through the opening set, the Scarlet Knights rallied and chipped away at the Georgetown lead. Rutgers finally tied the score at 23 with the help of four late kills from freshman Sarah Schmid (Highlands Ranch, Colo.). The Scarlet Knights finished the game on a 6-0 run. Senior Alex Jones (Chesapeake, Va.) matched Schmid with four kills in the set, with three coming in the final six points.
Rutgers dominated game two. With the score tied at 13, the Scarlet Knights went on a 7-0 run, highlighted by two kills from Schmid, and wouldn’t look back. In the third stanza, Rutgers fell behind early and was unable to catch the Hoyas.
Down 24-19 in the fourth set, the Scarlet Knights mounted a comeback. Rutgers scored the final seven points of the contest, which included two kills by freshman Megan Stephenson (Burbank, Calif.), to take the match.
“In game four, it was kind of an epic, come-from-behind win,” said Werneke. “We were down 24-19 and it was almost like our kids wouldn’t be denied.”
Senior Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) notched 43 assists and 14 digs, her 14th double-double of the season and 10th-straight. It is the 14th time this season she has had 40 or more assists in a match. The setter also went over 1,000 digs for her career, currently at 1,010.
Schmid led all players with 18 kills on a .385 hitting percentage, while Jones was tied for second with Stephenson, each tallying 12. Jones passed the 800-kill mark for her career and now has 807. Stephenson’s 12 kills is a new career-best. Defensively, junior Tracy Wright (Fair Lawn, N.J.) had a match-high 19 digs.
Next, Rutgers is scheduled to continue road play, taking on Cincinnati on Oct. 5 at 3 p.m. and Louisville on Oct. 7 at noon. The Scarlet Knights return home on Oct. 12 for a contest against BIG EAST foe Syracuse at 6 p.m.
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.