PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Oct. 11, 2012) – The Rutgers women’s volleyball team (15-6, 1-5 BIG EAST) returns home for the first time since Sept. 23 to face Syracuse on Oct. 12 (6 p.m.) and Marquette on Oct. 14 (2 p.m.) for “Alumni Weekend” in College Ave. Gym. The Golden Eagles are the last team on Rutgers’ schedule that made an appearance in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
“I anticipate (Syracuse) being a great matchup,” said head coach CJ Werneke. “Marquette is the top-ranked team in the conference right now. Anytime we get home and get the opportunity to play in front of our home crowd, it’s just a little bit more energetic. It gives us a little bit more intensity. It’s always great. We’ve played really well at home this year so we’re looking forward to continuing that.”
- The Orange (9-11, 1-4) are coming off of a weekend split, downing USF (3-2), on Oct. 5 for its first BIG EAST win. The team fell to Pittsburgh on Oct. 7 (0-3). The Scarlet Knights dropped their match with the Bulls, 1-3, and the Panthers, 2-3.
- Silvi Uattara leads the offensive charge for the Orange, with 228 kills averaging 3.68 per set on the season. Her conference average of 3.72 puts her fourth. Emily Betteridge commands the Syracuse offense, dishing out 541 assists at 8.87 per set. Defensively, Melina Violas collects an average of 2.90 digs per set.
- Syracuse ranks second in the conference with 2.42 blocks per set.
- First-year head coach Leonid Yelin is at the helm.
Rutgers trails the all-time series with Syracuse, 7-16. The Scarlet Knights have dropped the last eight matches to the Orange, including a 3-1 loss on the road last season. The Scarlet Knights last beat the Orange on Oct. 10, 2003 at Syracuse, 3-2.
- The Golden Eagles (15-3, 5-0) are the fifth and final team on the Scarlet Knights’ schedule that made an appearance in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
- The squad’s conference record puts it at the top of the BIG EAST standings.
- Marquette has won eight straight matches, most recently downing Western Michigan (Oct. 9), USF (Oct. 7) and Pittsburgh (Oct. 5).
- Overall, the Golden Eagles lead the conference in hitting percentage (.271) and are second in assists (12.94/s) and kills (14.02).
- Offensively, Marquette is led by Kelsey Mattai and Danielle Carlson, who rank No. 1 and No. 2 overall in the BIG EAST with .409 and .376 hitting percentages, respectively. Setter Elizabeth Koberstein provides the helpers, leading the conference with 11.39 assists per set. Defensively, Julie Jeziorowski has a team-best 316 digs and Mattai is third in the league with 1.15 blocks per set.
- Bond Shymansky is in his fourth season leading the Golden Eagles.
Rutgers trails the all-time series with Marquette, 1-9. The Scarlet Knights have dropped the last seven matchups, including a 3-2 loss on the road last season. RU’s only win in the series came at the Raddison Invitational on Sept. 11, 2004.
Last Time Out
The Rutgers volleyball team played Cincinnati (Oct. 5) and Louisville (Oct. 7). The Scarlet Knights dropped the match to the Bearcats by set scores of 19-25, 23-25 and 20-25. Senior Alex Jones (Chesapeake, Va.) had her most efficient hitting performance of the season, putting together a mark of .478. In its first matchup against a ranked opponent this season, Rutgers dropped the match in straight sets to No. 17 Louisville in Louisville, Ky. The Scarlet Knights fell by set scores of 20-25, 13-25 and 18-25.
Setting It Up
Senior setter Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) has 3,816 career assists, just behind Pualani Tuyay, who ranks third on the school’s all-time list with 3,826. Zielinski needs just 11 assists to move into sole possession of third place.
Junior libero Tracy Wright (Fair Lawn, N.J.) surpassed the 1,000 career digs mark in the loss at Villanova (Sept. 28). She currently sits at 1,052 career digs. The transfer, who is in her first season with the Scarlet Knights, has totaled 326 digs this season and is closing in on the single-season digs list. Kera Carter tallied 333 in 1999 and is 10th on the all-time list.
Senior Alex Jones (Chesapeake, Va.) has 223 kills this season, one short of her total from 2011 and eight short of her season-best of 231 in 2010. She has 824 career kills, closing in on 10th place on Rutgers’ all-time list, held by Courtney Mechling (1995-98), who totaled 905.
Scarlet Knights in the NCAA
Senior setter Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) ranks 25th in the NCAA through Oct. 7 with 11.29 assists per set. Freshman Sarah Schmid (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) ranks 40th with a .373 hitting percentage.
Senior setter Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) is second in the BIG EAST with 11.29 assists per set. Freshman Sarah Schmid (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) is third in the league with a .373 hitting percentage. Overall, Rutgers is third in kills (13.68/s), and digs (17.25/s). In conference play, Zielinski is third in assists per set with 10.70. Freshman Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.) is third in kills with 4.08 per set and classmate Ronnie Komisarek (San Mateo, Calif.) is second in the BIG EAST with 0.48 service aces per set. Rutgers is second in conference play with 18.00 digs per set.
Alumni Weekend Promotions
Friday night’s matchup with the Orange is “Free Pizza Night,” with coupons given out for free slices of pizza from Gerlanda’s while supplies last. On Sunday, Rutgers will host a “Dig Pink” match against Marquette to raise awareness and help in the fight against breast cancer. Fans will have the opportunity to donate at the match or can give online by clicking here.
The Scarlet Knights continue play on the road, facing Seton Hall on Oct. 19. Rutgers is 19-15 all-time against the Pirates.
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.