The Rutgers volleyball team earned a 3-1 victory over Maryland on Wednesday, making history in the process. It was the third Big Ten win of the season, setting a program high mark since Rutgers joined the conference in 2014. Entering this season, the Scarlet Knights were just 3-117 in the previous six seasons in Big Ten play. However, first year head coach Caitlin Schweihofer has spurred improvement since her arrival a little over a year ago. The victory over the Terps was the first since 2015 and first road victory against them since 1980.
Rutgers won the first set 25-16, lost the second 16-25, followed by winning the final two sets 25-17 and 25-22. Three Scarlet Knights finished with double-doubles as senior Beka Kojadinovic led the way with 13 kills and 12 digs. Junior Anastasiia Makismova had 11 points and 12 digs, as well as a career high four aces. Junior Inna Balyko produced 40 assists and 13 digs. Freshman Madyson Chitty led the defense with 17 digs, redshirt junior Shealyn McNamara had six blocks and freshman Tina Grkovic had five blocks.
“This game was circled on the calendar as a must win and our approach on the court was to play with the same mental focus, same focus, same effort and determination as any other match we have played,” said Schweihofer. “One of our goals for this year has been to bring consistent energy and intensity into every single set we play. I am really proud of the progress that this team has made this year. Although we have been battle tested throughout the season, we continue to raise the standard for Rutgers volleyball.”
Rutgers will now host Maryland in a rematch this Saturday, March 27 at 4 p.m. at the College Ave Gym. It is the last home game of the season and seniors Yana Kamshilina and Mary Kate Painter will be honored before the start of the match.
A win would move the Scarlet Knights (3-14) ahead of the Terps (4-13) in the Big Ten standings with two matches against Michigan State (2-9) remaining this season. Rutgers has an opportunity to potentially earn its highest finish in league play since joining the Big Ten if they can earn at least one more victory in its final three matches.