Rochester, MN - The RCTC volleyball team headed into this weekend's long road trip riding a season-opening 14 match winning streak, and they made the long trip back to Rochester riding a 16 match season opening winning streak. The Jackets, who earned a hard fought 3-0 win over #10 ranked MN West, beat Ridgewater on Friday night 3-0 before downing #4 ranked, and previously undefeated MN State-Fergus Falls 3-1.
In the opening match of the weekend it was sophomore outside hitter Carrie Rutledge who lead the way for RCTC with 14 kills on the night. Freshman Molly Kleist also had a big night for the Jackets, pounding out 10 kills and a .350 hitting percentage. AnnMarie Jalmasco had 9 kills as well. Brekkin McCready dished out 35 assists and Kate Bade lead the way for RCTC with 15 digs. Rutledge added 11 digs to earn the double-double and Jessica Storm added 8 digs on the night.
The win against Ridgewater on Friday set up a showdown of top ranked and unbeaten foes on Saturday. The Jackets headed into the match at 15-0 and ranked #1, while Fergus Falls was 11-0 and ranked #4. The Spartans came out strong early on their home court downing the Yellowjackets 15-25 in the opening set. From there Coach Amber Zitzow's Yellowjackets settled in and ran the table the next three sets (25-17, 25-22, and 25-13) to earn the win.
Sophomore middle hitter AnnMarie Jalmasco proved to be the major difference in the match as she hammered 15 kills on 23 attempts with only 1 error for a .609 hitting percentage to lead the charge. Carrie Rutledge lead the way in kills with 19, but is was Jalmasco's efficiency that sparked RCTC. Molly Kleist followed up her 10 kill performance with 9 more, and Olivia Fredin added 7 for the Jackets. Brekkin McCready had 49 assists and 13 digs in the match.
As good as Jalmasco was offensively it was the Yellowjacket defense that may have been the real difference as the Jackets had 87 digs (nearly 22 per set) for the match. Five Yellowjackets were in double figures in the dig column lead by Jessica Storm with 19. Kate Bade added 17, Rutledge had 16, while Maddison Sawyer joined McCready with 13 for the match.
RCTC is now back at home for the next 3 matches as they host Anoka Ramsey and St. Cloud Tech during homecoming week, before closing out there homestand on the 25th versus Riverland.
The Jackets will play Anoka on Friday night, September 20th at 6:30 before taking on St. Cloud on Saturday the 21st with first serve set for noon.