PISCATAWAY, N.J. (October 18, 2013) – The Rutgers volleyball team (4-16, 0-6) put forth a solid all-around performance, despite a four-set loss to Memphis in American Athletic Conference action on the road, Friday evening. After dropping the first two sets by scores of 27-25 and 25-18, the Scarlet Knights managed to pull out a 25-23 fourth-set win before dropping the final frame by a score of 25-19. RU had three players finish with double-digit kills and an additional five players finish with double-digit digs in the loss.
Sophomore outside hitter Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.) led all Rutgers’ hitters with 20 kills and added 13 digs to notch her ninth double-double of the year. Also finishing in double-digit kills were sophomore outside Megan Stephenson (Burbank, Calif) and junior right ride Sofi Cucuz (Crown Point, Ind.), who each recorded 10 putdowns.
On the defensive end, Ali Schroeter (Bakersfield, Calif.) led the Scarlet Knights with 20 digs. Senior defensive specialist Tracy Wright (Fair Lawn, N.J.) finished second on the team with 17 digs, while sophomore DS Ronnie Komisarek (San Mateo, Calif.) added 14.
Junior setter Nicole Bayer (Concord, Ohio) recorded her second double-double of the season, distributing a team-high 26 assists and adding 10 digs. Freshman Lauren Cloyd (Champaign, Ill.) contributed a team-best six total blocks and added eight kills.
Memphis was led by Lauren Hawkins’ 14 kills.
In the first set, the Scarlet Knights formed a tremendous comeback, rallying back from a 12-2 deficit to take a 20-19 advantage late in the frame. During the spurt, RU was able to outscore the hosts by an 18-7 margin to take their first lead of the stanza. The Tigers would earn the sideout on the following play the even the score at 20. Rutgers scored two straight after that to take a 23-21 advantage, but again Memphis came back to knot the score. Three more tied scores occurred, before the Tigers were able to pull out the 27-25 win in extra points.
Rutgers started the second set slowly, finding itself down 6-1 early on. The Scarlet Knights stayed within striking distance of the Tigers and got within three at 13-10, but the hosts proceeded to outscore RU by a 7-3 margin to take a commanding 20-13 advantage. Memphis would only allow the Scarlet Knights five more points in the frame before closing out the win.
After trailing early on in the third set, the Scarlet Knights were able to make a late push by way of a 6-2 run to get within a single digit at 21-20. RU managed to tie the score at 23 and proceeded to score two straight points following consecutive kills by Lassa and Cucuz. Rutgers put together their best offensive performance of the match in the third set, finishing the frame with a .262 clip by terminating 19 of 42 attacks. Lassa paved the way for the victory with eight kills alone in the frame on 13 attempts to finish with a remarkable .615 attack percentage.
RU carried their momentum into the fourth and final frame, leading the Tigers 6-2, but a 6-2 Memphis run soon evened the score at 8-8. Neither side was able to pull away by more than three points, until the hosts went on a 5-1 spurt to take a 21-17 advantage. Rutgers only managed two more points before dropping the set and match.
The Scarlet Knights continue AAC action on Sunday at Temple.
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