PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Nov. 2, 2012) – The Scarlet Knights (17-9, 3-8 BIG EAST) host DePaul (8-16, 3-8) on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. and Notre Dame (17-6, 10-1) for Senior Day on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. in College Ave. Gym. These are the first two contests of a three-match home stand for Rutgers. The four seniors will be recognized in the match against the Fighting Irish. Sunday’s match will be broadcast live on RVision, presented by AT&T.
- The Blue Demons are 3-8 in conference play and are coming off a weekend split, beating South Florida (Oct. 26) and falling to Pittsburgh (Oct. 28).
- Offensively, Vesela Zapryanova leads the squad with 3.27 kills per set, which ranks eighth in the BIG EAST and her 3.30 in league play ranks sixth. Laura Witt provides the assists, tallying 6.61 per set. Allyson Rooks leads the team defensively, collecting 4.42 digs per set in conference play, ranking ninth among BIG EAST players.
- In conference play only, DePaul is sixth in the league with a .197 hitting percentage.
- DePaul is coached by Nadia Edwards, who is in her third season.
The all-time series against the Blue Demons is tied, 4-4, with the last seven meetings coming in BIG EAST play. The Scarlet Knights dropped last season’s matchup on the road in five sets. Rutgers first played the Blue Demons in 1991 at the DePaul Fall Classic.
Notre Dame Notes
- The Fighting Irish hold a 10-1 conference record, which is good for a three-way tie for first. The squad downed Louisville (Sept. 23), who was No. 10 in the nation at the time. Notre Dame’s only conference loss came to Marquette (Sept. 29) in five sets.
- Toni Alugbue has paced the team on offense, accumulating 3.59 kills per set, which is fourth among BIG EAST players. Maggie Brindock has provided the helpers, ranking sixth overall with 9.52 per set. Defensively, Taylor Morey totals an average of 4.17 digs per set.
- In league play only, Hilary Eppink is second with a .387 hitting percentage. Brindock is third with 10.76 assists per set.
- Also in BIG EAST play, the Fighting Irish rank first in hitting percentage (.292), first in opponent hitting percentage (.153), first in blocks (3.07/s), third in kills (13.78/s) and fourth in assists (12.80/s).
- Debbie Brown is in her 22nd season as the head coach.
Rutgers has never beaten Notre Dame in 19 all-time matches in a series that dates back to 1986. The first matchup was played at the Gene Hackerman Volleyball Showcase at Rice University. Notre Dame has taken all but one set in the series.
Last Time Out
Rutgers is coming off a weekend split, falling to Connecticut (Oct. 27) by set scores of 19-25, 15-25 and 23-25. Rutgers moved to 9-20 all-time against the Huskies. With the help of three players tallying 17 or more kills, the Scarlet Knights downed St. John’s (Oct. 28) in five sets. Rutgers picked up the victory with set scores of 25-16, 18-25, 22-25, 28-26 and 17-15.
With the win over St. John’s (Oct. 28), Rutgers secured its most wins in a season since the team went 17-10 in 2002. The squad guaranteed itself a winning record at the end of the season with the win over Syracuse (Oct. 12), the first time since 2004. It was the second conference road win for Rutgers this season, the most since the 2005 squad had two, and marked the first five-game BIG EAST victory for the Scarlet Knights in 2012. The team has won three conference matches in the 2012 campaign, tying its total from last season with four matches left to play.
Setting It Up
Senior setter Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) moved into second place in Rutgers history in assists against Seton Hall (Oct. 19). She has 4,061 for her career. In the same match, Zielinski moved into seventh on the single-season list against St. John’s (Oct. 28) with 1,148 in 2012. She is 58 helpers out of third. Zielinski accumulated 1,151 last season, sixth all-time at Rutgers. The senior has also totaled 1,100 digs in her career, fifth all-time at Rutgers. With 322 this season, she is 14 digs out of moving into 10th on the single season list.
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 1,082 career digs. The transfer, who is in her first season with the Scarlet Knights, has totaled 356 digs and moved into seventh in the win over Syracuse (Oct. 12) and is just 13 assists out of moving into sole possession of fifth.
Senior Alex Jones (Chesapeake, Va.) has totaled 876 career kills, closing in on 10th place all-time at Rutgers, held by Courtney Mechling (1995-98), who totaled 905.
Scarlet Knights in the NCAA
Senior setter Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) ranked 25th in the NCAA through Oct. 28 with 11.25 assists per set.
Closing in on Milestones
Junior Tracy Wright (Fair Lawn, N.J.) has 356 digs this season, 13 away from sole possession of fifth place on the Rutgers single-season list. Senior Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) is just three assists away from taking over sixth place on Rutgers’ single-season list and 58 away from moving into third. She is also 14 digs away from 10th-place on the single-season list. Senior Alex Jones (Chesapeake, Va.) is 29 kills out of 10th place on Rutgers career list. Senior Kylie Orr (Kettering, Ohio) is 11 kills away from 500 for her career and 43 away from 300 for the season.
Senior setter Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) is second in the BIG EAST with 11.25 assists per set. Freshman Sarah Schmid (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) is second in the league with a .359 hitting percentage. Overall, Rutgers is fourth in kills (13.47/s) and second in digs (17.16/s). In conference play, Zielinski is second in assists per set with 10.91.
Senior Day is set for Nov. 4 against Notre Dame to honor the four seniors. Alex Jones (Chesapeake, Va.), Kylie Orr (Kettering, Ohio), Kelsey Ross (Orinda, Calif.) and Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) will each be recognized.
The Scarlet Knights return home for a matchup with St. John’s on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. Rutgers downed the Red Storm in five sets on Oct. 28.
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.