Saturday, September 07, 2002Birmingham, Ala. (September 7, 2002) -- East Tennessee State's volleyball team went the distance with tournament host Alabama-Birmingham, but fell 15-10 in the fifth game to lose the match 3-2. The Buccaneers went up on the Blazers early by capturing the first game 30-25 before UAB countered with a 30-24 victory to even the match. ETSU took the advantage again with a 30-25 victory in game three, but the hosts battled back with a 30-17 win in game four to force a fifth game. Head coach Deane Webb noted that the Lady Buc defense continued to improve, as East Tennessee State out-blocked all three of its weekend opponents, which includes Troy State and Tennessee State on Friday evening. Karen Freeburg (Newcastle, Ind.)led the ETSU defense versus UAB with 16 digs, while her 22 digs against Troy State on Friday night was a tournament high. Nicole Ryan (Etiwanda, Calif.) added four digs in the loss to the Blazers to go with her team-leading 16 kills. Freshman Kristi Robinson (Knoxville, Tenn.) helped to solidfy the Buccaneer's counter attack with 11 digs. "Our defense has definitately been improving every match, especially in the back row," said Webb. Troy State defeated UAB in five games to win the tournament, while the Bucs fall to 2-5 on the season. Kate Steidle (Waynesboro, Va.) was named to the all-tournament team. The junior outside hitter tallied 50 kills, 23 digs and seven service aces in ETSU's three matches. "It was a good tournament to go to, and we were competitive in every match," Webb added. "We look forward to starting conference play." ETSU opens its Southern Conference schedule this Tuesday, September 10 versus Western Carolina. The match is a home contest for the Bucs, beginning at 6:00 p.m. in Brooks Gym.
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