PISCATAWAY, N.J. (October 17, 2013) – The Rutgers volleyball team continues American Athletic Conference action this weekend on Friday, Oct. 18 at Memphis and Sunday, Oct. 20 at Temple. The matches mark the fourth and fifth consecutive road contests RU has played dating back to Sept. 26, when the team welcomed SMU to the College Ave. Gym.
In their last time on the court, the Scarlet Knights dropped a four-set decision to UConn on Oct. 11 in Storrs, Conn. Sophomore outside hitter Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.) led the way with 21 kills and 13 digs, while second-year defensive specialist Ali Schroeter (Bakersfield, Calif.) contributed a team-high 26 digs.
Friday’s match between the Scarlet Knights and the Tigers marks the first-ever meeting between the two schools, while RU has faced Temple a total of 57 times, The Owls hold a 32-25 advantage in the series and came away with a three-set win (21-30, 16-30, 22-30) win in 2006.
Prior to this season, the Tigers competed in Conference USA, while the Owls were a member of the Atlantic-10 Conference. Rutgers was also a member of the A-10, before joining the BIG EAST in 1995.
Memphis enters Friday’s contest with a 9-10 overall record and a 1-4 mark in AAC play. The Tigers’ lone win came against Cincinnati in five sets on Sept. 29. Memphis has dropped four-straight matches, with its last two defeats coming in five sets.
The Tigers are among the best defensive squads in the AAC, as they lead the league in digs (17.61/set) and are second in opponent hitting percentage, holding the opposition to a .168 clip. Much of the Tigers’ defensive success is due to redshirt junior libero Aleksandra Petronijevic, who leads the AAC with 5.41 digs/set. That mark also puts her at 16th nationally in digs per set.
Rookie outside Caitlin Lilly leads the Tigers with 229 kills to average 3.32/set -- good for seventh in the conference. Redshirt sophomore setter Veronica Zimmerman guides the offensive attack with 756 assists, putting her at third in the AAC in assists per game with 10.65.
The Owls currently possess a 13-4 overall record and are tied with UCF for second in the AAC standings with a 4-1 league mark. Before facing off against RU on Sunday, Temple will host UConn on Friday, Oct. 20 in McGonigle Hall.
Temple’s lone American loss came to Louisville in four sets on Sept. 29. The Cardinals are the only AAC team with a perfect 6-0 record in conference action. Since the loss, Temple has rattled off three-straight wins in league play.
The Owls lead the American in opponent hitting percentage (.158) and are third in both service aces (1.37/set) and digs (15.36). Senior right side Gabriella Matautia leads the offense with 237 total kills to average 3.59/set, good for third in the AAC. Matautia is second on the team in digs with 2.67/set, while sophomore libero Alyssa Drachslin leads the defense with 4.23 digs/set.
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