NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (September 29, 2013) – Despite capturing a 25-23 first set victory, the Rutgers volleyball team (4-12, 0-2 AAC) was unable to build on the lead and dropped the follow three sets by scores of 17-25, 17-25 and 15-25 to SMU (10-5, 2-0 AAC) in American Athletic Conference action on Sunday afternoon.
“I think SMU did a good job of putting the pressure on us and sustaining their side of the court,” commented head coach C.J. Werneke following the match. “They were making some adjustments and our team just didn’t execute in response to their adjustments. Give SMU all the credit – they came in here with all the energy and intangibles it takes to win at this level and we couldn’t find a way to sustain ours.”
Sophomore outside hitter Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.) recorded her seventh double-double of the year to lead RU with 12 kills and 10 digs. Classmate Ali Schroeter (Bakersfield, Calif.) finished with a match-high 20 digs as the libero.
Second-year setter Anna Sudbury (Tomahawk, Wis.) distributed 17 assists and added four blocks, while junior setter Nicole Bayer (Concord, Ohio) also handed out 17 assists.
Sophomore middle blocker Mikaela Matthews (San Diego, Calif.) and junior middle blocker Rachel Andreassian (Fredericksburg, Texas) led the team at the net, finishing with seven blocks each.
SMU was led by Caroline Young’s double-double of 17 kills and 15 digs.
As a team, RU finished with 14 total team blocks, compared to SMU’s 13.
The Scarlet Knights captured a thrilling first set win, after rallying back from a 17-12 deficit. RU utilized a 7-2 run to knot the score at 19, capped by a kill from Lassa. RU battled through two tied scores and managed to out-score the Mustangs by a 4-2 margin to close out the win. Rutgers recorded their best attack percentage of the match in the opening frame, finishing with a .268 clip.
In the following set, SMU came out of the gate strong to take an 8-1 advantage early on. The Scarlet Knights chipped away at the deficit to come within two points at 12-10, but a 6-1 Mustang run established separation for the visitors, who maintained their lead to even the match at a game apiece. Sophomore outside hitter Megan Stephenson (Burbank, Calif.) recorded five of her eight total kills in the second set alone on eight attempts to finish the frame with a .500 hitting percentage.
The third set began with both teams exchanging points, until a 5-0 SMU run gave the visitors a 12-7 lead. RU was unable to get closer than four points for the remainder of the frame. The visitors carried their momentum into the final set to win the stanza by 10 points and ultimately finish out the match.
Rutgers returns to action on Friday, October 4, as the Scarlet Knights travel to Tampa, Fla. to face off against USF at 7 p.m.
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