PISCATAWAY, N.J. (October 24, 2013) – The Rutgers volleyball team returns to the confines of “the Barn” on Friday, Oct. 25 for its first home match after a streak of five consecutive road matches. RU will host Louisville on Friday at 7 p.m. before welcoming Cincinnati “to the Banks” on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Scarlet Knights’ Friday night match against the Cardinals will also be broadcast live on RVision, presented by AT&T on scarletknights.com.
Of RU’s 21 matches, just three have taken place at the College Ave. Gym. Friday marks the first of seven games that will be played at “the Barn” during a four-and-a-half week period.
Most recently, Rutgers faced both Memphis (Oct. 18) and Temple (Oct. 20) on the road. The Scarlet Knights fell to Memphis in four sets before dropping a straight-set decision to the Owls. Against Memphis, two Scarlet Knights finished with double-doubles, as Alex Lassa (Eagle, Colo.) finished with 20 kills and 13 digs and Nicole Bayer (Concord, Ohio) contributed 26 assists and 10 digs. Freshman middle blocker Lauren Cloyd (Champaign, Ill.) led all RU hitters in the Temple match with eight kills.
Louisville enters Friday’s contest with a 12-7 overall record and a perfect 7-0 mark in conference action to maintain sole position of first place in the AAC. The Cardinals were picked to finish first in the AAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Furthermore, Louisville was ranked 19th nationally in the first preseason AVCA Coaches Poll. The Cardinals moved up to No. 17 in the rankings in Week One before dropping out but still receiving votes in Week Two.
Most recently, the Cardinals picked up a three-set win on the road, defeating Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Tuesday, Oct. 22. The Cardinals were led by 11 kills from freshman outside hitter Maya McClendon and 10 kills by redshirt freshman Janelle Jenkins in their final nonconference match of the season.
Louisville leads the conference in kills per set (13.54) and ranks second in hitting percentage (.236) and assists (12.60).
The Cards are led by McClendon, who has recorded a team-high 205 kills on the year. Graduate student middle blocker Randi Ewing (daughter of former New York Knick, Patrick Ewing) leads the team in blocks (0.93/set) and is second in the league in hitting percentage (.381).
Friday’s match marks the 10th meeting between the Scarlet Knights and the Cardinals. RU is winless against Louisville in all nine matches, having dropped the last meeting in three sets (20-25, 13-25, 18-25) last year on the road.
Cincinnati comes to the Barn still searching for its first win of the year. The Bearcats have an 0-21 overall record and are 0-7 in AAC matches. The Bearcats were picked to finish fourth in the AAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
Cincinnati also had nonconference mid-week action, hosting Xavier on Tuesday. The Bearcats were led by 12 kills from sophomore outside hitter Morgan Allred and a match-high 17 digs by freshman defensive specialist Shelby Green in the four-set loss.
Six of the Bearcats’ seven leaders in kills are underclassmen. The team’s main offensive weapon is freshman OH Ciara Hill, who has notched 159 putdowns on the year. Junior middle Me’Ashah Nicholson is second on the team in kills with 131 and also leads the squad in blocks with 65 total rejections.
Rutgers looks to snap a 10-game losing streak against the Bearcats on Sunday, Oct. 27, in the teams’ 15th-ever meeting. Cincinnati holds a 12-2 advantage in these matchups. Last year, Rutgers dropped a 19-25, 23-25, 20-25 decision to the Bearcats in Ohio.
Friday’s game against the Cardinals will be the Scarlet Knights “Dig Pink” match. The first 100 fans will receive pink bracelets and all monies raised will be donated to charity.
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