In front of a small crowd of less than 300 people, the IU volleyball team moved to 17-14 overall and 6-12 in the Big Ten in dominating fashion with a three-set sweep, 25-14, 25-18 and 29-27, on the road over Rutgers.
The 4-27, 0-18 Rutgers Scarlet Knights jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the opening set before the Hoosiers went on a pair of long scoring runs, 6-0 and 7-0, to put a sizable distance between the two teams at 17-8.
Freshman middle blocker Deyshia Lofton recorded five of her 10 kills in the first set as the Hoosiers hit a remarkable .550 to take a 1-0 set lead. Lofton finished the match with a .643 hitting percentage.
“I was really proud of the kids,” IU Coach Sherry Dunbar-Kruzan said. “To win in three on the road, especially this late in the season, is extremely hard to do. We will take a 3-0 win anytime we can get it”
The Hoosiers got off to a quick 6-0 start in the second set and didn’t allow Scarlet Knights to build any momentum.
IU picked up 17 kills as a team in the set and led wire-to-wire without letting Rutgers tie the score even once.
Sophomore right side hitter Elizabeth Asdell led the Hoosiers with 12 kills and a .750 hitting percentage in the match.
“I like where we are right now,” Dunbar-Kruzan said. “I think our motivation is and mentality is right. I like our balance. The balance, the ball control, our serving, we took them out of system a ton and that really helps our defense.”
Rutgers pushed IU and led for the majority of the third set, taking the visitors to extra points.
The Scarlet Knights had three separate set point opportunities, but were unable to convert. IU won 29-27.
Asdell tallied six kills on eight attempts in the final set.
The Hoosiers compiled 19 kills in the third set and averaged 16 kills per set on a .326 clip in the match, compared to Rutgers’ .108 hitting percentage.
“We knew looking at film on Rutgers, they have taken a set off of several teams, most recently against Iowa in their third set,” Dunbar-Kruzan said. “They have nothing to lose right now and when you are playing a team like that they are going to be super aggressive.”
Senior libero and co-captain Taylor Lebo continues to move up in the Hoosiers’ record book and now sits at sixth place all-time in career digs with 1,143 after recording double-digit digs, 16, for the 21st time this season.
IU takes on Maryland and Ohio State, whom IU upset earlier this season, on the road next weekend in its final two matches of the regular season. The Hoosiers must win both for a chance at qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.
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