Volleyball team seeks revenge at Rutgers
Revenge is on the minds of the members of the Seton Hall volleyball team as they head south on the Parkway to face Rutgers on Friday.
Last season, Rutgers, who finished 3-10 in the Big East, far outside of the tournament bubble, defeated the Hall 3-2, which ultimitly cost the Pirates an outright sixth place finish in the conference, dropping them to seventh seed in the conference tournament.
“Really looking forward to playing them,” sophomore libero Alyssa Warren said. “It’s been bothering us for over a year now.”
The two teams enter the game on opposite ends of the Big East standings with the Hall fourth in conference with a 4-1 record and 13-7 overall, while the Scarlet Knights are tied for last holding an 0-5 Big East record and 7-15 overall.
“They beat us last year and knocked us out of an outright sixth seed and easier matchup in the conference tournament,” head coach Kris Zeiter said. “Last year stung and we are looking forward to giving them a beat down.”
The Pirates are coming off a weekend in which they lost their first conference match of the season to an undefeated Louisville team on Friday, 3-0, but rebounded on Saturday against Cincinnati, winning 3-0 for the Bearcats first loss in conference play.
“Everyone can get over it like it didn’t happen,” Zeiter said after the Cincinnati win. “They are able to turn their confidence right around heading into the next game.”
Along with their confidence the Pirates will bring their energy and emotion with them to Rutgers which is something that Zeiter stresses to his team.
“It is an emotional game and you have to play it that way,” he said.
Leading the Hall on attack this season is senior Meghan Matusiak with 3.82 kills per set. The average is also good enough to rank Matusiak second in the conference in kills per set.
Warren is also among the leaders in the Big East, ranking second with a 5.51 digs per set average. The Pirates are also receiving help from freshmen Stacey and Shelbey Manthrope, who are ranked second and third on the team in points per set.
Rutgers is entering the match on a two-match losing streak and losers of eight of their last nine matches. Last weekend, the Scarlet Knights played Cincinnati and Louisville and won only one set between the two matches.
On this losing stretch for Rutgers, six of their eight losses have been by a score of 3-0. The set the Scarlet Knights won against Cincinnati was the teams’ first in Big East play.
Leading Rutgers is junior Alex Jones with 3.88 kills per set but she has only played in nine of the teams’ 22 matches. Senior Hannah Curtis has the most kills on the team with 194.
Senior Kelly Pence leads the team on defense averaging 3.37 digs per set for the Scarlet Knights.
With the Pirates only game this week being against Rutgers, the team is looking forward to resting.
“It’s nice to have a break this time of the season,” Zeiter said. “At this point you take all the rest you have.”
With the difficult loss to Rutgers last season, the team is ready to send a message to the Scarlet Knights.
“We expect to win big,” Warren said.
The match will begin at 7:00 p.m. Friday at Rutgers’ College Avenue Gym.
Stephen Valenti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org