PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Oct. 28, 2012) – With the help of three players tallying 17 or more kills, the Rutgers volleyball team downed St. John’s in five sets in Queens, N.Y., on Sunday. The Scarlet Knights picked up the victory with set scores of 25-16, 18-25, 22-25, 28-26 and 17-15.
“It’s a good win,” said head coach CJ Werneke. “I thought that we executed and we really played high-quality volleyball throughout the match. It was just a great match to be a part of.”
It was the second conference road win for Rutgers this season, the most since the 2005 squad had two, and marked the first five-game BIG EAST victory for the Scarlet Knights in 2012. Rutgers has now won 17 matches, its most since recording 17 in 2002. The team has won three conference matches in the 2012 campaign, tying its total from last season with four matches left to play.
“That’s the next step in the process,” said Werneke. “To build a program and get a good foundation to become a serious contender in the BIG EAST, you have to find a way to win on the road. We’re finding more and more ways to do that. To keep rising up the BIG EAST, you have to find ways to win on the road and this is another example of that.”
Rutgers (17-9, 3-8 BIG EAST) compiled a .211 hitting percentage with 64 kills, 63 assists and 90 digs. The team also posted 11.0 blocks, a new season high. St. John’s (18-9, 5-6 BIG EAST) hit .167 and recorded 62 kills, 60 assists, 93 digs and 7.0 team blocks.
Senior setter Stephanie Zielinski (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) tallied 60 assists and 11 digs for her 20th double-double this season and fourth-straight. It was the third time this season she notched 60 or more assists in a match. Zielinski is the second player in Rutgers history to total 4,000 career assists, now at 4,061. She has amassed 1,148 in 2012, seventh on the school’s single-season list. She is just three shy of catching her own sixth-place mark of 1,151. The senior sits fifth on the all-time digs list with 1,100 for her career.
Freshman Sarah Schmid (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) led the team with 20 kills, tying her career-high. Classmate Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.) recorded 19 kills and 15 digs for her ninth double-double of the year. Senior middle blocker Alex Jones (Chesapeake, Va.) totaled 17 kills to tie a season-high and posted seven blocks, a new season-best. Freshman Rachel Andreassian (Fredericksburg, Texas) matched Jones with seven blocks of her own, a new career-best.
Defensively, rookie Ali Schroeter (Bakersfield, Calif.) led the squad with 22 digs. Classmate Ronnie Komisarek (San Mateo, Calif.) contributed 20 digs to tie her career-high. Sophomore Alyssa Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) set a season-best mark with 10 digs.
Rutgers dominated the opening set, hitting a match-best .306. The team took the lead at 10-9 and wouldn’t look back. St. John’s scored the first six points in the second game and the Scarlet Knights couldn’t overcome it. The third stanza was tied 21-21 late, but the Red Storm went on a 4-1 run and closed it out.
In the fourth set, the teams were tied 14-14 before Rutgers went on a 5-1 run to take a 19-15 lead. St. John’s came back to tie it again at 19-19. The game was back-and-forth late and was tied at 26 before kills by freshmen Megan Stephenson (Burbank, Calif.) and Lassa closed it out for the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers was down 9-7 in the deciding set before going on a 5-2 run to take a 12-11 lead. The end was close again and the Red Storm took a 15-14 lead, but kills from Lassa and Stephenson and an attack error from St. John’s Milica Krstojevic gave the Scarlet Knights the victory.
Rutgers continues play at home, taking on DePaul on Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. and Notre Dame for Senior Day on Nov. 4 at 2 p.m.
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