NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (October 25, 2013) – The Rutgers volleyball team (4-18, 0-8) battled undefeated American Athletic Conference foe Louisville (13-7, 8-0) in a four-set loss Friday evening at the College Ave. Gym. The Scarlet Knights were able to pull out a thrilling 25-23 first-set victory, before dropping the next three games by scores of 10-25, 17-25, 20-25.
“I thought our team came out with a lot of energy and we executed at a really high level,” said head coach C.J. Werneke. “We had a great week of practice so it was good to see that translate to game day. A lot of fight, coupled with execution is the style of game we can play. Give all the credit to Louisville – they’re No. 1 in the conference for a reason. They had to beat us tonight and that’s what I’m proud of.”
RU utilized a well-balanced offensive attack in the gritty match, as sophomore outside hitter Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.) finished with a team-high nine kills. Junior middle blocker Rachel Andreassian (Fredericksburg, Texas) and sophomore outside Megan Stephenson (Burbank, Calif.) each recorded eight putdowns to contribute in the front-row. Rookie middle Lauren Cloyd (Champaign, Ill.) added seven kills as well. Andreassian and Cloyd also recorded three blocks each.
Defensively, Ali Schroeter (Bakersfield, Calif.) recorded a team-high 17 digs.
Louisville was led by senior outside Emily Juhl’s double-double of 21 kills, 13 digs. Rookie OH Maya McClendon also finished with a double-double of 12 kills, 13 digs.
Rutgers opened the match with a 1-0 advantage after capturing a hard-fought two-point win in the first frame. The Scarlet Knights were able to establish an early 7-4 lead and maintained the advantage until the Cardinals tied the game at 17. RU pressed on and soon led by three points at 21-18 to force a Louisville timeout. The Cards once again knotted the score at 23, but an unforced error by McClendon and a kill from Andreassian sealed the win for the hosts.
RU hit a solid .231 in the opening frame, paced by three kills from Andreassian, Lassa and Cloyd.
After dropping the second set, 25-10, RU bounced back to match Louisville point-for-point in the third. With the score tied at nine however, the visitors formed a 9-3 run to take an 18-12 lead. The Cardinals maintained the advantage to close out the win. Despite the loss, Rutgers hit a match-best .286 in the stanza.
In the final set, RU rallied back from a five-point deficit mid-way through to come within a single digit at 19-18 and force a Louisville timeout. The hosts stayed within striking distance, but the Cards outscored the Scarlet Knights by a 6-2 margin to capture the set and match.
Rutgers is back in action Sunday, Oct. 27 as it hosts AAC opponent Cincinnati at 1 p.m. in the College Ave. Gym.
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