JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 7, 2010) - Following an impressive win to open Atlantic Sun play against Campbell, the ETSU volleyball team returns home this weekend for two key A-Sun contests against Lipscomb and Belmont inside Brooks Gym. The Bucs will take on Lipscomb on Friday at 7 p.m., and follow with Belmont at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The Bucs enter the weekend with a 15-5 overall record that includes a 1-0 mark in the Atlantic Sun. Lipscomb comes in with a 13-5 overall mark and a 2-0 league record, while Belmont stands at 7-12 overall and 1-1 in the A-Sun. Fans who are unable to attend the matches can follow all the action online at ASun.TV.
ETSU continues to be at the top or near the top of the league in several statistical categories. The Bucs have proven to be a force on the defensive end as they continue to lead the league in opponent's hitting percentage. They are only allowing opponents to hit at a .141 clip. Additionally, the Bucs lead the league in team blocks with 192.0 (2.63 bps) on the season. They have 65 more blocks than Lipscomb, the next best blocking team in the league. The Bucs are 13-1 this season when out-blocking their opponent.
They also rank in the top five of the A-Sun in hitting percentage (.193), assists (11.47 aps), kills (12.41 kps), and service aces (1.49 aps).
Individually, senior middle blocker Alysa Long (Romulus, Mich.) continues to be a force at the net as she leads the league in blocks (93), while also ranking amongst the nation's leaders in blocking. Long also ranks second in the league in hitting percentage at an impressive .343 clip. Junior Jamie Stancliff (Advance, N.C.) also continues to have a stellar campaign as she ranks second in the league just behind Long in blocks (80).
After a 23 dig performance against Campbell, junior libero Kiley Tamblyn (Torrance, Calif.) continues to shine in her first season with the Bucs. She currently ranks second in the A-Sun in digs at an impressive 4.16 digs per set.
Senior setter Whitney Cogburn (Kingsport, Tenn.) and freshman outside hitter Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) continue to lead the Bucs on the offensive end. Cogburn ranks fifth in the league in assists and seventh in service aces. Devine ranks seventh in kills and eighth in points.
The NCAA released its first RPI rankings on Monday with Lipscomb and ETSU pacing the A-Sun, placing just outside the top 100. Lipscomb comes in at 102 while ETSU falls just behind at 103.
Last season, despite not qualifying for the A-Sun Championship, ETSU proved to be Lipscomb's toughest challenge within the league, taking three sets off the eventual champions. In their meeting at Johnson City, the Lady Bisons needed five sets to thwart off the upset-minded Buccaneers. No other A-Sun foe took two sets from Lipscomb in a match last year. Lipscomb has won 30 of its last 31 A-Sun contests - 24 have ended in a Lady Bisons sweep.
Lipscomb opened up conference play by sweeping both Mercer and Kennesaw State, at home just last weekend.
The Bisons are led by two-time Atlantic Sun player of the year Alex Kelly. Kelly leads the league in kills (4.25 kps) and in points (4.97 pps), while also ranking fourth in hitting percentage (.325) and seventh in digs (3.70 dps).
Senior setter and preseason A-Sun player of the year Jake Pease quarterbacks the Lipscomb offense as she leads the league in assists at 11.35 per set.
Belmont enters the weekend having split their first two conference matches. The Bruins fell to Kennesaw State in their league opener before sweeping Mercer last Saturday.
The Bruins are led by senior Kayla Albritton as she ranks near the top of the league in several offensive categories. She ranks seventh in hitting percentage (.298), fourth in kills (3.45 kps), second in service aces (.43 aps), and third in points (4.28 pps). Megan Clements paces the Belmont defense as she records 3.63 digs per set.
The Bucs and Bruins split last season's series with each team winning on its home floor.
Fans that attend tomorrow night's contest against Lipscomb will have a chance to win two tickets to the NBA preseason game between the Atlanta Hawks and the New Orleans Hornets on October 16, inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. The tickets are valued at $60 each.
Also, youth volleyball players attending Saturday's contest against Belmont will be admitted free.
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.