CINCINNATI (November 27, 2013) – Despite career nights from sophomore middle blocker Mikaela Matthews (San Diego, Calif.), junior middle blocker Rachel Andreassian (Fredericksburg, Texas) and senior defensive specialist Tracy Wright (Fair Lawn, N.J.), the Rutgers volleyball team fell to American Athletic Conference foe, Cincinnati, in five sets (15-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21, 11-15) Wednesday evening at the Fifth Third Arena.
Matthews notched career-highs in both kills and blocks, finishing with 19 and 10, respectively. The second-year Scarlet Knight finished the match with an astounding .500 attack percentage, putting away her 19 kills on 32 attempts, while making just three errors. Her performance marks the first time since at least 2006 that a Scarlet Knight has recorded a double-double of kills and blocks.
Andreassian finished second on the team in kills, slamming a career-best 13 putdowns. Wright rounded out the trio with a career-high 38 digs, the highest dig total of any Scarlet Knight this season and the second-highest of any American Athletic Conference student-athlete.
Junior setter Nicole Bayer (Concord, Ohio) finished the night with 28 assists and eight digs, while sophomore setter Anna Sudbury (Tomahawk, Wis.) dished out 26 helpers and added four blocks, three kills and two digs.
Cincinnati had three players with double-digit kills, led by Mallory Blauser’s double-double of 14 kills, 13 digs.
The Scarlet Knights bounced back from a 10-point first-set loss to even the match up at 1-1 with a second-set win. After trailing 6-2 early on, RU utilized a 9-1 run to take an 11-7 advantage and never trailed again. Despite multiple comeback attempts from the hosts, Rutgers managed to fend off the Bearcats and close out the win with three-straight kills.
Faced with the similar task of coming from behind after dropping the third frame, the Scarlet Knights pulled out a four-point fourth set win to send the match into the deciding fifth set. Rutgers broke a 17-all standstill in the fourth by scoring three consecutive points to take a lead it would never relinquish. In the final frame however, the Bearcats jumped in front at 11-6 following back-to-back RU unforced errors. The Scarlet Knights got within two points (13-11) following two-straight kills by Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.), but Cincinnati responded with two putdowns of their own to close out the victory.
Rutgers concludes the 2013 campaign Friday afternoon at Louisville. First serve is slated for 3 p.m.
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