The Rutgers women’s volleyball team made first year head coach Caitlin Schweihofer’s debut match at home a memorable one on Friday. The Scarlet Knights defeated Indiana for the first time in 12 meetings since joining the Big Ten, delivering a 3-1 victory (18-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-20) at the College Ave. Gym to move to 1-2 on the season. Last week, Rutgers opened the 2020-2021 campaign with back to back straight set defeats at Northwestern.
Schweihofer inherited a program that was just 3-117 in its first six seasons as a member of the Big Ten. She was hired last January but had to wait a few months longer than usual to begin her debut season on the banks due to COVID-19. The wait was worth it, as her team is already showing progress in the early going.
“We’ve been preparing for this match for over a year now,” Schweihofer said. “To have the opportunity to play and win on our home court as my first Rutgers victory is an unbelievable experience for myself as a coach. I am beyond grateful for the hard work put in by my staff and the administration to make this happen. As well as wey team for being so committed to my system and my process and really buying in that this is possible for Rutgers volleyball.”
After losing the first set, the Scarlet Knights responded by winning the next three sets to clinch the victory over the Hoosiers, who fell to 0-3.
Three players registered double digit kills as senior Kamila Cieslik and junior Anastasiia Maksimova led the way with 12 each. Senior Beka Kojadinovic added 10.
Junior Inna Balyko had 35 assists to eclipse 2,000 in her career. She also produced her first double-double of the season by adding 15 digs.
Auburn grad transfer Shealyn McNamara had 9 total blocks and 8 block assists.
True freshman Madyson Chitty chipped in with 13 digs.
“It feels amazing, not only because it’s our first win of the season, it’s also the first win over Indiana in the history of Rutgers volleyball,” said Kamala Cieslik. “Most importantly, it was won as a team. Right after the game we talked about this. Our whole team worked together. Whether you were on the court the whole time, if you are subbing in for one rotation or if you are on the bench. Everyone was all in and that’s what helped us win.” - Senior right side Kamila Cieslik
Rutgers will host Indiana again on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the College Ave. Gym, as they look to sweep the weekend series.
Update: Rutgers lost the rematch on Saturday.