It’s no secret that Rutgers volleyball has arguably had the toughest transition to the Big Ten of any athletics programs on the banks. The Big Ten is a Volleyball powerhouse at the collegiate level and Rutgers is far behind regarding facilities and resources. However, head coach CJ Werneke has improved tAlthough they showed some signs of improvement earlier this season with a six match winning streak, they lost its first nine conference matches and the Big Ten losing streak was just over four years long. However, credit the team for not giving up and their hard work has paid off. Rutgers has now won two of its last three Big Ten matches.
The Scarlet Knights beat Northwestern in five sets at home on October 27th. After winning the first two sets, the visiting Wildcats took the next two sets before Rutgers won the deciding fifth set to snap the losing streak.
Junior Beka Kojadinovic has a career high 16 digs and 12 kills. Four players had double digit kills, led by sophomore outside hitter Tali Marmen with 14. Sophomore outside hitter Anastasiia Maksimova has a double double with 11 kills and 13 digs, while sophomore setter Inna Balyko set a career high with 52 assists. Also during the match, Senior Jasmine Stackhouse became the all-time leader in program history with block assists.
Watch junior Beka Kojadinovic and head coach CJ Werneke talk about Sunday's five-set #B1G win over Northwestern.— Rutgers Volleyball (@RUvball) October 28, 2019
Kojadinovic captured a career Big Ten best 12 kills and career-high 16 digs in the victory.#GoRU ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/L0gYwvc2PQ
Rutgers then went on the road last weekend, first losing to no. 8 Nebraska in straight sets before visiting Iowa last Saturday. Against the Hawkeyes, RU produced it’s first straight set victory since joining the Big Ten, winning a 25-23, 25-19, 25-19.
Maksimova had kills to end both the second and third sets, finishing the match with a double double of 10 kills and 13 digs. Balyko also produced a double double, leading the team with 15 digs and also dishing out 32 assists.
Head coach C.J. Werneke said “I’m so proud of our players. I’m really excited for them. It was a total team effort with four kids with double digit digs and spreading it out among the kills. It’s exciting to see. We’re staying in the moment moving forward, making people beat us and taking control.”
The win over Iowa improved Rutgers’ record to 8-15 on the season, which is the most victories for the program since 2012. They are 2-10 in Big Ten play and currently in 12th place. The Scarlet Knights return home this weekend to host No. 16 Purdue this Friday night and Indiana on Saturday night.