The Rutgers volleyball team had a big weekend, as they swept the competition at the Rutgers Invitational to win the event title. The Scarlet Knights defeated Towson, Princeton and Virginia, all in four sets between Friday and Saturday at the Barn on College Avenue. They handed Towson the first loss of its season, as the Tigers are 5-1 after also beating Princeton (0-3) and Virginia (3-3).
A pair of sophomores led the way, as Anastasiia Maksimova earned the Most Valuable Player award for the Rutgers Invitational, while outside hitter Tali Marmen made the All-Tournament Team.
Against Virginia, Maksimova capped the big weekend with a career high of 17 kills in the title clinching victory. Marmen notched her first double-double of the season with 13 kills and 11 digs, as well as 5 blocks and served a career high 5 aces. In addition to Maksimova and Marmen, junior opposite hitter Kamila Cieslik also had a double-double with 12 kills and 10 digs. Senior Karysa Swackenberg had a team high 12 digs in the win and has led Rutgers in this area in every game this season so far. She was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, the first time the program has received it since joining the conference in 2014.
In the three matches, sophomore Inna Balyko had 43 assists, giving her 1,310 in her career already, placing her ninth all-time in program history.
From the Rutgers press release, head coach CJ Werneke had this to say about the team’s performances over the weekend:
“Going into the week, we wanted to focus on blocking and turning it into points. The training this week really helped. We turned into more efficient attackers, and we cut down the errors. When we block and hit at that level, we’re going to win a lot of matches. Our opponents made us beat them, and we had to step up and make plays. We were good enough to win, and we had to be to get back to a .500 record this weekend.”
The Scarlet Knights are now 3-3 on the season and head to the Ellis Rowland Memorial Tournament in Hamilton, New York on September 13th and 14th. They’ll face three teams with winning records in New Hampshire (5-2), Quinnipiac (4-2) and host Colgate (5-1). You can watch all of the action on the Patriot League Network here.
Highlights of the three matches:
Interview with Anastasiia Maksimova: