Press Release courtesy of Rutgers Athletics
Rutgers volleyball returns home on Saturday, Oct. 28 for its first AVCA Top 5 opponent of the year in No. 5 Minnesota at the College Ave. Gym at 7 p.m.
The game can be streamed live on BTN-Plus with a subscription, featuring Patrick Boyle on the play-by-play.
|Saturday, Oct. 28 | 7 p.m.|
|No. 5 Minnesota (20-2, 9-2)|
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- Rutgers started Big Ten play 0-11 overall and 0-5 on the road with losses to Indiana, No. 17 Purdue and Northwestern. Indiana erased a 2-1 set deficit to rebound for a five-set victory, Rutgers’ fourth five-setter all-time in the Big Ten and first conference match that went the distance since a win over Maryland on Oct. 21, 2015. At nationally ranked Purdue, RU competed in a tight second set that saw seven lead changes and 11 tie scores.
- Junior Sahbria McLetchie is riding a hot streak coming off 30 kills last weekend in Big Ten play. Rutgers’ top outside hitter has 2.72 kills/set this season, and a team-best 2.64 through 11 conference matches. In back-to-back matches against Buffalo and Seton Hall, she recorded 17 and 19 kills, respectively, before picking up a total of 30 at Indiana and Purdue last weekend. Over her last five Big Ten matches, McLetchie is averaging 2.8 kills/set.
- Freshman opposite hitter Kamila Cieslik posts a team-leading 2.84 kills/set. Cieslik was named to three All-Tournament Teams this preseason, including an MVP performance at the ECU Invitational. She made the Seton Hall Classic All-Tournament Team with 3.67 kills/set on a .424 hitting percentage, four service aces, 14 digs and eight blocks. She was also named to the Kangaroo Klassic All-Tournament Team with 21 kills, seven blocks and 18 digs. She served up at least one ace per match over that stretch with four total.
- Sophomore setter Megan Sharkey has surpassed another milestone after reaching 1,000 career assists at Ohio State. Now with 1,162 career assists, she has moved into ninth all-time in program history and sits behind Roxy Calder’s 1,640.
- Sophomore Stasa Miljevic leads the Scarlet Knights at the net defensively with 0.90 blocks/set, followed by sophomore Jasmine Stackhouse’s 0.86, pacing a team that has outblocked opponents 11 times this season. Rutgers is 4-7 in those contests, including four in the Big Ten.
- The service line will continue to loom important for Rutgers, who ranks eighth in the Big Ten with 1.32 overall service aces per set. Cieslik leads the team in the department with 32 aces, which ranks second overall in the conference, and has at least one ace in 18 of her last 19 matches. She ranks 34th nationally with 0.42 aces/set. Rutgers is 5-1 when out-acing an opponents and 0-15 when it does not.
- Sophomore middle blocker Stasa Miljevic, a transfer from Florida State, has at least five kills in 11 matches this season, and combined for 18 against Michigan and Michigan St. Miljevic boasts a team-best .245 attack percentage, while also contributing to a team-high total of 72 blocks. The sophomore hit .429 against Michigan and Michigan State, bouncing 18 kills with three errors on 35 swings.
- Sophomore libero Karysa Swackenberg has a team-high 2.82 digs/set and has paced her team in the dig department in 13 matches this season. She scooped a team-high nine digs at No. 17 Purdue while adding three assists from the backline.
SERIES AT A GLANCE
- Minnesota is 4-2 all-time in the series dating back to 1983, including a 3-0 mark without dropping a set as opponents in the Big Ten since 2014.
- Minnesota is helmed by Hugh McCutcheon in his sixth season. The former USA Volleyball head coach is 153-39 since joining the Golden Gophers in 2015 with an AVCA National Coach of the Year honor in 2015.
SCOUTING #5 MINNESOTA (20-2, 9-2 Big Ten)
- The Golden Gophers went 11-0 in non-conference play and have not dipped lower than No. 6 in the national rankings, with a three-week stint as the No. 1 team fromSept. 4-18.
- Minnesota has dominated the Big Ten Players of the Week awards in 2017, with two Players of the Week, three Defensive Players of the Week, four Setters of the Week and three Freshman of the Week honors.
- Junior Samantha Seliger-Swenson is the second ranked setter in the country and tops in the Big Ten with 12.31 assists/set, while adding 22 service aces, 2.65 digs/set and 40 total blocks.
- The majority of Minnesota’s offense comes via the kill, as they rank ninth nationally and first in the B1G with 14.54 kills/set. Freshman opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy leads the group with 4.04 kill/set, good for third in B1G.
- The Gophers’ defensive leaders rank near the top of the B1G with Molly Lohman’s 1.51 blocks/set (2nd) and Dalianliz Rosado’s 4.5 digs/set (4th).
Senior setter Talia Holze and redshirt senior Brooke Enners were inducted into the Delta Chapter of Chi Alpha Sigma Society, the first national scholar-athlete society to honor collegiate student-athletes who have excelled in both the classroom and in athletic competition. They recognized for their achievements during halftime of the Rutgers football game against Ohio State on Saturday, September 30 in an on-field ceremony.
To earn induction into the honor society, a student-athlete must attend a four-year accredited college or university that is an NCAA or NAIA member, achieve junior status, hold a minimum 3.4 GPA, have an endorsement from their head coach and be of good moral character. Both Holze and Enners were also members of the Fall 2016 Academic All-Big Ten Team and Big Ten Distinguished Scholars for earning GPA’s over 3.7. Enners completed the 2016-17 academic year with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.
Rutgers volleyball debuted its brand new Taraflex playing surface at the College Ave. Gym upon the opening of 2017 Big Ten play against Iowa on Sept. 22, 2017.
With the floor’s installation, the Scarlet Knights become one of just 26 NCAA Division I programs to utilize Gerflor USA’s Taraflex floor, the exact surface used at the last 11 Summer Olympic Games. The portable Taraflex floor at Rutgers, featuring RU’s signature colors, fonts and logos, is the only one of its kind among collegiate programs in the Northeast region and one of just nine to be used by a Power 5 institution across the nation.
With nine matches remaining in the 2017 season, Rutgers will face the third toughest schedule in the nation with the average opponents’ winning percentage sitting at .720 with eight of 10 teams ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 Poll.
The preseason American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 rankings included eight programs from the Big Ten, including four in the Top 10.
Current ranked programs include No. 1 Penn State, No. 5 Minnesota, No. 7 Nebrasa, No. 9 Wisconsin, No. 10 Michigan State and No. 17 Purdue. Rutgers hosts Nebraska, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue and Penn State – all of which were ranked in the Preseason Top 25 – this season in the College Ave. Gym.
Rutgers appeared twice on national television this season on Oct. 6 at Maryland and on Oct. 20 at Indiana.
AROUND THE WORLD
The Scarlet Knights’ roster represents nine states, including California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, Tennessee and Texas. California and Texas lead the way with two roster entries apiece. RU also has international representation with a total of five players from Israel, Puerto Rico, Serbia or Russia.
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