BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (August 31, 2013)- The Rutgers University volleyball team earned a split in the final day of competition at the Indiana Invitational on Saturday afternoon. The Scarlet Knights fell to future Big Ten opponent, Indiana, in straight sets before winning three of four against the Colonials of Robert Morris in the nightcap. RU fell to Indiana by scores of 16-25, 21-25 and 20-25 and defeated RMU by scores of 25-20, 20-25, 25-21 and 25-22.
“Overall I believe we had a great weekend of play,” commented head coach C.J. Werneke. “Even though we lost to Indiana, the scores were very close and we learned a lot about ourselves. Each match during this time of year is a learning experience and we will take a lot from this weekend. A 2-1 start is a great beginning to the season.”
For the day, freshman Micaela Anderson (La Canada, Calif.) led all Scarlet Knights with 28 kills – 22 of which she recorded against RMU. Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.) finished second on the team with 16 kills on the day.
Rutgers turned in their best statistical performance of the weekend against the Colonials, in which they hit .224 as a team and came up with a season-best 64 digs.
Anderson smashed her 22 kills on 46 attempts to finish the contest with a torrid .391 hitting percentage. She added 10 digs for the first double-double of her young career.
Fellow rookie Lauren Cloyd (Champaign, Ill.) also turned in an impressive performance against RMU, putting away 11 sets on 24 tries to hit .250 in the match.
Setters Nicole Bayer (Concord, Ohio) and Anna Sudbury (Tomahawk, Wisc.) dished out 26 and 28 assists, respectively.
Four players finished with double-digit digs in the win. Ali Schroeter (Bakersfield, Calif.), Tracy Wright (Fair Lawn, N.J.) and Lassa, joined Anderson with solid defensive efforts. Schroeter recorded a team-high 20 digs, while Wright came in second with 14 and Lassa had 10.
The Scarlet Knights hit over .300 as a team in both the first and third sets. RU maintained control for the majority of the first set, with RMU holding a brief one-point lead at 2-1 to begin the game. Following a kill by Anderson, sophomore Ronnie Komisarek (San Mateo, Calif.) served four straight points to disrupt the Colonial’s flow and establish a three-point advantage. RMU managed to tie the game just once at 12-12, but the Scarlet Knights were able to stay in front for the remainder of the frame.
Set two featured a tightly contested battle between both teams, but the Colonials were able to hold on to at least a two-point lead. A 5-2 RU run evened the score at 15 mid-way through, but an unforced Scarlet Knight error gave Robert Morris back the lead. Rutgers tied the game once more at 16, but the NEC school was able to out-score RU by a 9-4 margin for the win.
The third set was also a thriller, with several lead changes and tied scores occurring well into the final points. With the score tied at 17 however, RU forged forward and scored eight points to the Colonials’ four to finish it.
Cloyd notched six of her 11 kills in the third set alone.
The fourth and decisive set saw Rutgers rally back from a 14-11 deficit to attain a 17-15 advantage. RMU came within a single digit at 17-16, but was unable to get any closer before the Scarlet Knights closed out the match.
In their first match of the day, the Scarlet Knights dropped a straight-set decision to the Hoosiers.
Rutgers bounced back from the 25-16 first set loss to form an early 7-4 lead over the Hoosiers in set two, before the hosts went on 9-1 run. The Scarlet Knights showed their resilience; battling back and eventually forming a 5-0 spurt to tie the score at 19 and force an Indiana timeout. The Hoosiers would ultimately regroup and out-score the visitors, 6-1, to close out the set.
The third set was the most competitive between the two squads, with neither team able to lead by more than two points. With the score knotted at 19 however, Indiana finished on a 6-2 run to finish the match.
Lassa led RU offensively with seven kills and added two aces, two digs and two block assists. Anderson added six kills and five digs.
Schroeter finished with a match-high twelve digs on the defensive end, while Sudbury and Bayer dished out nine assists each. Bayer also contributed two aces.
Indiana was led by Morgan Leach and Jade Henderson who each finished with nine putdowns.
Rutgers will resume non-conference play at the Syracuse Candlewood Suites Invitational next weekend. RU will be pitted against Colorado, Stony Brook and Syracuse in two-day tournament starting on Friday, Sept. 6.
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