The Rutgers volleyball team earned its second win of the season on Saturday night by defeating Iowa on the road in five sets (13-25, 25-17, 26-24, 20-25, 15-12). The two Big Ten victories this season ties a program best since joining the conference after having a 3-117 record the first six seasons. First year head coach Caitlin Schweihofer has made a big impact in a short period of time and bodes well for the future outlook of this program.
Rutgers finished with a .331 hitting percentage, which is a program best in Big Ten play since joning the league in 2014.
Standout performances included junior Anastasiia Maksimova with 17 kills, freshman Tina Grkovic had 12 kills, junior Shea McNamara came up with 11 kills and senior Beka Kojadinovic added 10.
Junior Inna Balyko helped out on 54 points, which is the most by Rutgers player in Big Ten action ever.
Defensively, McNamara led RU with seven blocks. Freshman Madyson Chitty produced 11 digs and senior Kamila Cieslik had 10.
“Playing Big Ten games are hard and playing Big Ten games on the road are even tougher. With everything going on in the world right now, we’re just grateful for the opportunity to continue to play matches,” said head coach Caitlin Schweihofer. “We came up pretty flat last night (Friday’s loss to Iowa) and unfortunately it carried through to the first set, even though we tried to change it. The fact that we were able to change a few things mentally allowed us to refocus ourselves, reset ourselves and continue on the path towards success for the whole match tonight.”
Shea McNamara added “It feels really good just because we’ve been working so hard in the gym. Even though we are rebuilding and we know it’s going to be tough to have the victories, we showed we could have them. It definitely makes it easier to get back in the gym and work hard the next week. Also from a team perspective, to fight through something like, to lose last night, have to come out play (Iowa) again, come out and not have a good first set, to really turn it around, was super impressive for us. Definitely a big step in the right direction.”
The progress this program has made this season has been impressive. They’re back home this weekend to host Ohio State for matches on Friday, February 26 and Saturday, February 27.