PISCATAWAY, N.J. (August 29, 2013) – The Rutgers University volleyball team opens the 2013 slate at the Indiana Invitational in Bloomington, Ind., on Fri. Aug. 30. RU will face off against Kent State in its season opener at 5 p.m. on Friday and conclude the tournament on Saturday, Aug. 31 against Indiana and Robert Morris.
Sixth-year head coach C.J. Werneke will lead his squad against Kent State for just the second time in program history. The teams met during the 1982 season and RU came away with a straight set victory in a best-of-three scenario by scores of 15-13, 15-10.
Kent State finished the 2012 campaign with an overall record of 6-22, and a 3-13 mark in Mid-American Conference (MAC) play. The Golden Flash finished sixth in the East Division of the MAC. Kent State returns senior setter Aleksandra Nowak, junior outside Tinuke Aderemi-Ibitola and senior libero Hannah Herc. Nowak enters her senior season fifth on the all-time assists list with 2,263. Last year, Aderemi-Ibitola led the team in kills (300) and points (333.5), while Herc finished with a team-high 403 digs.
Saturday’s 11:30 a.m. contest against Indiana also marks just the second time the Scarlet Knights face the future Big Ten opponent. In their lone matchup, the Hoosiers came away with a two set victory by scores of 15-7 and 15-6, during the 1990 season.
The Hoosiers finished last season with an overall record of 12-20 and a 4-16 mark in Big Ten action, good for eighth in the league. The Hoosiers return their main offensive weapon from last year, redshirt senior Jordan Haverly, who amassed 480 kills on the year and averaged 4.03 putdowns per set. Haverly also finished second on the squad in digs with 281. Senior libero Caitlin Hansen returns for her final year in Bloomington, after coming up with a team-best 421 digs.
Rutgers will play in its final match of the tournament against Robert Morris at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31. The contest marks the first meeting ever between the two schools.
Robert Morris enters the 2013 season after competing in its 14th straight Northeast Conference (NEC) Tournament -- the longest active streak in the league. The Colonials graduated four letterwinners and return nine. Last year, RMU finished with a 17-7 record and a 13-3 mark in NEC play.
RMU’s top offensive returner is junior Erica Robb, who finished third on the team with 200 putdowns. Hannah Hoffman also returns for her junior year after serving as the team’s primary setter. Hoffman dished out 949 assists on the year.
Rutgers enters the 2013 campaign after coming off one of its best seasons in recent history. In 2012, Werneke led the Scarlet Knights to double-digit wins for the fourth-straight season and an 18-12 (4-11 BIG EAST) record.
The Scarlet Knights return a wealth of experience, with three starters including the libero and 11 letterwinners. The squad welcomes six newcomers to the roster as well.
RU returns one of its primary offensive weapons from last year, sophomore outside Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.). Lassa looks to build on a solid freshman year, in which she led the team with 3.43 kills per set (sixth in the league). She finished the season with 11 double-doubles.
Also returning for the Scarlet Knights is senior libero, Tracy Wright (Fair Lawn, N.J.). Wright helped RU establish itself as one of the best defensive programs in the BIG EAST, coming up with a team-high 356 digs (seventh on RU’s single-season list), despite an injury-shorted season. The Rutgers defense ranked third in the BIG EAST in digs/set, averaging 16.7 a game.
Defensive specialists Ali Schroeter (Bakersfield, Calif.) and Ronnie Komisarek (San Mateo, Calif.) also return for their sophomore campaigns, after completing solid rookie seasons last year. Schroeter and Komisarek averaged 2.88 and 2.61 digs/set, respectively. Schroeter reached the 20-dig plateau on four separate occasions last season, while Komisarek finished with double-digit digs 14 times and tied for first on the team with 27 aces.
Rutgers hosts its first home contest of the year on September 11th against in-state rival, Seton Hall, at 7 p.m. in the College Ave. Gym.
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