PISCATAWAY, N.J. (September 26, 2013) – The Rutgers volleyball team will begin the American Athletic Conference portion of the 2013 schedule this Friday, Sept. 27 with the team’s first weekend homestand of the season. Rutgers welcomes the Cougars of Houston to the College Ave. Gym on Friday at 7 p.m., followed by SMU on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 1 p.m.
Both opponents are fairly new to the Scarlet Knights, as RU has never faced SMU in program history and will face the Cougars for just the second time ever. Rutgers’ first meeting with Houston resulted in a three-set win for the Cougars in 1984.
Rutgers enters conference action with a 4-10 mark, most recently going 1-2 at the Pitt Panther Invitational. RU dropped contests to Morehead State and Pittsburgh in three and four sets, respectively, before defeating Cornell in five to close out nonconference play.
Sophomore libero Ali Schroeter (Bakersfield, Calif.) was named to the all-tournament team after racking up 69 digs over the weekend, including two 20-dig performances. Schroeter has posted double-digit digs in 13 of RU’s 14 matches this year and is averaging 4.85 digs/set – good for second in the conference.
Houston comes “To the Banks” with an even record of 7-7. The Cougars have lost six straight matches after opening the 2013 campaign with a 7-1 mark. Most recently, Houston dropped all three games at its Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup, where the team hosted North Texas, LSU and Baylor.
Houston is led by first-year outside hitter Sarita Mikals, who has recorded 175 kills and is second on the team with 117 digs.
SMU will face UCONN on Friday, Sept. 27 before coming to “the Barn” on Sunday, Sept. 29. Currently, the Mustangs own an 8-5 record, which is tied for third in the American standings. SMU is third in the league in kills with 13.22 putdowns/set and boast the second-best hitting percentage in the AAC (.233).
Junior outside hitter Caroline Young leads the Mustangs, with a team best 162 kills to average 3.31 per set. Young was awarded AAC Player of the Week honors on Monday, Sept. 23 after leading SMU to a 2-1 mark over the weekend at the College of Charleston Classic. Young averaged 4.36 kills/set over the three matches and added 17 digs and nine blocks. Sophomore setter Avery Acker guides the offense, having dished out 471 helpers.
This weekend also marks “Camper/Fan Appreciation Weekend”, as campers who attended the Rutgers’ summer volleyball camp are encouraged to wear their camp t-shirts. The first 50 fans at each game will receive a free previously-used Rutgers’ volleyball. Following the conclusion of the match, the team will have an autograph signing session on the court.
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