PISCATAWAY, N.J. (August 30, 2013) – In the 2013 season opener, the Rutgers volleyball team swept Kent State by scores of 26-24, 25-20, 27-25 at the Indiana Invitational on Friday evening.
“I thought our team really competed today,” said head coach C.J. Werneke. “At times we executed at a very high level and at times we were inconsistent. This will be a learning process along the way and throughout the season. We are looking to improve in certain areas from match to match. All in all, it feels great to be 1-0.”
Freshmen Micaela Anderson (La Canada, Calif.) and Lauren Cloyd (Champaign, Ill.) each recorded a team-high 10 kills to pace the Scarlet Knights in their collegiate debuts.
Cloyd was especially efficient; putting away 10 of her 16 attempts en route to a .500 hitting percentage. The Illinois native was also a presence at the net on the defensive end, contributing five block assists and two solo blocks.
Sophomore Anna Sudbury (Tomahawk, Wisc.) distributed 19 assists and added two block assists and a solo block. Fellow second-year player Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.) also turned in a solid performance in the first match of the year, finishing with eight kills and eight digs.
Defensive specialists Tracy Wright (Fair Lawn, N.J.) and Ali Schroeter (Bakersfield, Calif.) added eight digs a piece. Wright added three aces in the match.
Kent State was led by Kelly Hutchison’s 10 digs and eight kills.
Set one set the tone for what would be a competitive match from beginning to end. The teams traded points from the early going, with neither side able to jump in front by more than three. Rutgers was able to establish the largest lead for either team midway through the game, as they outscored Kent State, 6-1, to form an 18-13 lead. The Golden Flashes battled back however, and were able to tie the game at 19, paced by three kills from Lauren Engleman.
Kent State seemed to be closing out the set after they created a 21-19 lead, but a timeout by head Werneke shifted the momentum in the Scarlet Knight’s favor. RU would come out of the intermission determined and outscored the Flashes by a 7-4 margin to capture the first set win.
The second set started in a similar fashion to the first, with neither team forming more than a two-point edge. After finding themselves down 16-14 mid-way through however, Rutgers forged forward and rattled off six straight points to get in front 20-16. A sideout by Kent State on the following play made it a three-point game, but that would be the closest the Flashes could get for the remainder of the set.
The final set opened up with both teams trading points early on, until Rutgers was able to score four straight to jump in front 9-5. The Scarlet Knights were able to keep at least a two-point cushion, until the Golden Flashes put together a 4-1 spurt to knot the score at 14. The Scarlet Knights quickly rebounded and rattled off four consecutive points (18-14) -- three of which were by way of blocks. Kent State battled back, coming within a single digit at 21-20 before tying the score at 24. RU was able to fend off the comeback however, and an ace from Wright sealed the victory.
The Scarlet Knights return to action tomorrow morning at the Indiana Invitational. RU will meet future Big Ten opponent and tournament host, Indiana, at 11:30 a.m. before concluding play against Robert Morris at 2:30 p.m.
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