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Rutgers volleyball off to 7-2 start this season

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The Scarlet Knights went 2-1 at the RAC in the Rutgers 9/11 Memorial Tournament this past weekend.

Rutgers Athletics

The RU volleyball team played its first ever home games at the RAC this past weekend and finished with a 2-1 record as host of the Rutgers 9/11 Memorial Tournament. They had wins over NJIT and Brown while losing a 5 set match to N.C. State. Second year head coach Caitlin Schweihofer’s team is off to a 7-2 start to the season.

On Friday morning, Rutgers swept NJIT (1-7) for the program’s first victory at the RAC by the score of 25-21, 25-23, 25-14. Senior Inna Balyko had 35 assists, 9 digs and 5 kills on 6 attempts. Fifth year senior Beka Kojadinovic led RU with 12 kills while sophomore Madyson Chitty had a game-high 17 digs. Redshirt senior Shealyn McNamara had a team high six blocks.

In the nightcap at the RAC, the Scarlet Knights took on N.C. State (5-4) in a match that was broadcast live on the Big Ten Network. After falling behind two sets to none, Rutgers fought back to win the next two sets to push the match to a deciding fifth set. They ultimately fell in a 22-25, 25-27, 25-19, 25-23, 9-15 loss. Beka Kojadinovic had a double-double with 16 kills and 13 digs. Inna Balyko also had a double-double with 46 assists and 13 digs. Fifth year senior Kamila Cieslik just missed a double-double with 13 digs, 9 kills as well as two service aces. McNamara had 10 kills and 9 blocks, while Anastasiia Maksimova also had 10 kills.

On Saturday, Rutgers (7-2) finished the tournament with its fifth sweep of the season defeating Brown (4-3) in a 25-20, 25-13, 25-23 victory. It’s the most sweeps for the program since the 2012 season. Kamila Cieslik had a team high 10 kills and Madyson Chitty had a game high 14 digs. Inna Balyko led the team with 18 assists while sophomore Lauren DeLo had a career-high 14 assists coming off the bench. Graduate student Megan Vernon performed well in her first start, leading the team with four blocks and adding a season high seven kills. Fellow graduate student Samantha Graver added a season high 3 aces.

N.C. State earned the 9/11 Memorial Tournament title after winning all three matches. Rutgers went 2-1, Brown went 1-2 and NJIT went 0-3. The All-Tournament Team was as follows:

  • Melissa Evans, NC State - MVP
  • Jade Parchment, NC State
  • Shealyn McNamara, Rutgers
  • Zoe Ubamadu, Brown
  • Elley Torres, NJIT

McNamara made her second all-tournament team for this season after making the UConn Challenge All-Tournament Team earlier this month. The middle blocker had 17 blocks over three games while adding a season-high of 10 kills in the five-set loss to N.C. State.

Rutgers will head south to close out non-conference play at the Big Orange Bash where they will play ETSU (3-5) and host Clemson (4-3) on Friday, September 17.