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Rutgers Volleyball’s Inna Balyko Named Big Ten’s Freshman of the Week

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The setter earned the program’s first weekly honor since joining the conference in 2014

NCAA Basketball: Colgate at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

After an 0-3 start to the season, the Rutgers women’s volleyball team won three of four matches last weekend at the Crosstown Tournament jointly hosted by Lehigh and Lafayette. A major reason why they did so well was the play of freshman setter Inna Balyko from Russia. It was the first weekly honor awarded to a Scarlet Knight by the conference since the program joined in 2014.

Balyko posted two double-doubles last week while averaging 10.2 assists per set and produced 14 blocks. She now has four double-doubles in her college career. Balyko produced 34 assists and 10 digs in a win at Lafayette and followed that up with a 38 assist, 10 dig performance in beating Rider.

She also had five aces against Coppin State, which was the second most in a gamesince the rally scoring era began 10 years ago. Balyko also handed out 40 assists against Lehigh. The freshman currently leads the Big Ten with 246 assists this season.

From the Rutgers press release, head coach C.J. Werneke had this to say about Balyko:

“Inna performed at a high level in multiple areas,” said head coach CJ Werneke. “Her setting was successful because of strong decision making, the double-double efforts were a result of outstanding defensive play, and she had a dominant weekend on the serve. Those are the expectations we have of her going forward. She’s played at the highest levels internationally, and now she’ll be doing that here against the Big Ten.”

The Scarlet Knights are back in action this coming weekend when they host the Rutgers Invitational at the College Avenue Gym in New Brunswick. RU (3-4) is scheduled to play Howard (5-2) and Tulane (6-2) on Friday, followed by Navy (3-3) on Saturday afternoon. The program looks to build off a positive effort from last weekend’s tournament with another strong performance in their upcoming home matches.