JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 16, 2010) - After hosting the Buccaneer Classic last weekend the ETSU volleyball team returns to action on Friday as they will participate in the SpringHill Suites Invitational hosted by Georgia Southern at Hanner Fieldhouse.
The Bucs will open the tournament on Friday against Charleston Southern at 12:00 p.m. Then they will face South Alabama at 5 p.m. Saturday's action will begin at 10 a.m. as the Bucs will battle host Georgia Southern. ETSU will take on Winthrop in their final match of the event at 5 p.m. Admission to the tournament is $5 for adults and $1 for children ages 3-12 for single matches. Children under the age of 3 are admitted free. A tournament pass for admission into all nine matches is $12.
ETSU (6-4) heads into the weekend having won five of their last six matches, including their last two matches. The Bucs closed out the tournament last weekend by defeating UNC Greensboro and UNC Asheville on the final day of the event. Freshman Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) had a huge weekend for the Bucs as she recorded 40 kills and 34 digs in the three matches. Devine was also named to the all-tournament team for her efforts.
The Bucs compiled 31 team blocks in their two victories over the weekend and now lead the Atlantic Sun in blocks. They have recorded 93 blocks on the season and are averaging 2.38 blocks per set. A big reason for the success of the Bucs in the blocking category has to be the play of senior Alysa Long (Romulus, Mich.) as she ranks first in the league in blocks at 1.28 per set. The Bucs are also just one of two teams in the league that are allowing their opponent to hit less than a .200 clip on average.
Coming off the Best Western Invitational hosted by North Florida, Charleston Southern comes into this weekend's tournament with a 4-6 mark. CSU picked up a pair of wins on Saturday, defeating host North Florida and Chattanooga. Holding the nation's third best kills per set average, Amanda Hill has been explosive to open the season, leading the team with 4.95 kps. The senior outside hitter also leads the team with 3.90 digs per set. ETSU and CSU have faced each other just one other time in history. In 2003, ETSU defeated Charleston Southern, 3-2.
The Jaguars enter the tournament having won four of their last five matches to post a 5-6 record. Picking up a road win on Tuesday night, South Alabama swept Southeastern Louisiana, 3-0. Senior outside hitter Juliana Almeida leads the team with 3.48 kills per set. Pacing the team with 3.67 digs per set is Samia Salomao, while senior libero Kari Frazier follows closely behind at 3.50. Friday will mark the first time that the Bucs and Jaguars have faced each other in volleyball.
The Eagles enter the tournament carrying a 4-6 record thus far in the season. Georgia Southern is coming off the NC State Tournament, going 1-2 taking a win over Mercer to close out the weekend. The Eagles fell 3-1 to both NC State and Morehead State. Ranking second in the league and first on the team, junior Bethany Sanford (Avondale, Ariz.) continues to pace the Eagle offense with her 3.78 kills per set average and 136 kills this season. With 368 assists on the season, sophomore setter Kate Van Dyke (Shawnee, Kan.) is third in the league with 9.44 assists per set. As a team, Georgia Southern leads the Southern Conference with a .247 hitting percentage. The last meeting between the Eagles and Bucs occurred in 2004 with the Eagles taking the victory, 3-0. The non-conference foes have faced each other 25 times before Saturday morning's match with ETSU leading 15-10.
Entering the tournament with a 2-7 record, the Winthrop Eagles have opened the season facing tough competition. Most recently, the Eagles dropped three matches at the Kansas Invitational after facing Northern Iowa, UALR and host Kansas. Averaging 3.11 kills per set, senior Kaley Viola leads the club's offense so far this season. Kelsey Harrison and Viola lead defense with 136 digs and 121 digs, respectively. ETSU leads the all-time series against Winthrop, 6-2. However, Winthrop won the last matchup 3-0 back in 2006.
Every match of the SpringHill Suites Invitational will have live stats. In addition, all matches are scheduled to be web cast on EagleVision, also accessible on the main page of Georgia Southern Athletics.
Following the SpringHill Suites Invitational, the Bucs will return to action on September 22 as they will travel to Chattanooga for a midweek non-conference showdown with longtime rival UT Chattanooga. The match is set for 7 p.m.
For more information on the ETSU volleyball team please go to ETSUBucs.com and click on the volleyball link. Also, be sure to follow ETSU Athletics on Facebook and Twitter.