NEWARK, DEL. (September 13, 2013) – The Rutgers volleyball team (3-6) dropped a five-set decision to open the Delaware Volleyball Invitational against the host Blue Hens (4-4) on Friday evening at the Bob Carpenter Center. The Scarlet Knights won the first two sets by scores of 25-19 and 25-20, before dropping the last three frames by scores of 17-25, 19-25 and 9-15.
Sophomore outside hitter Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.). led the Scarlet Knights with her fourth double-double of the season and her third in as many games. Lassa contributed a match-high 24 kills and added 18 digs. Sophomore defensive specialist Ali Schroeter (Bakersfield, Calif.) and senior defensive specialist Tracy Wright (Fair Lawn, N.J.) also contributed double-digit digs, finishing with 26 and 16, respectively.
Junior setter Nicole Bayer (Concord, Ohio) recorded a team-high 24 assists and added seven digs, while sophomore setter Anna Sudbury (Tomahawk, Wis.) distributed 22 helpers and notched four blocks.
Delaware was led by Katie Hillman who finished with a double-double of 13 kills and 12 digs.
Rutgers was able to use a 5-0 run mid-way through the opening frame to break away from Delaware at 13-8, in what began as an evenly matched game. RU continued to press forward and established their largest lead of the set at 15-9 soon after. The Scarlet Knights maintained control of the game and never led by less than four points to win the set by six. RU finished with a match-best .378 hitting percentage in the stanza and limited the Blue Hens to a .167 clip.
Set two opened with both teams exchanging points, until Rutgers out-scored the hosts by a 6-2 margin to break a tie-game (13-13) and jump in front at 19-15. The Blue Hens threatened to come back, getting within a single point after rattling off three straight, but the Scarlet Knights regrouped and took advantage of four kills by Lassa to close out the 25-20 win.
A 7-1 run in the third set proved to be the difference for Rutgers, who fell behind 16-10 after being tied with the Blue Hens at nine earlier in the frame. RU was unable to get closer than four in the remainder of the stanza as Delaware captured the victory. The Scarlet Knights kept within striking distance in the beginning of the fourth set, until the Blue Hens created separation mid-way through to take a seven-point lead at 17-10. Rutgers formed a late run to come within five points at 23-17, but the hosts closed out the frame to make way for a decisive fifth-set.
After falling behind 7-0 in the final set, the Scarlet Knights rallied back to get within a single digit at 8-7. Rutgers would ultimately fall short in their comeback attempt and dropped the final set by six points.
The Scarlet Knights will face Furman University tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. and conclude tournament play against Sacred Heart University at 4:30 p.m.
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