FORT MYERS, Fla (Nov. 19, 2010) - The ETSU trio of Lauren Baufield (Plymouth, Minn.), Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.), and Alysa Long (Romulus, Mich.) combined for 42 kills to lead the Bucs past Kennesaw State 3-1 (25-21, 25-23, 28-30, 25-22), Friday night in the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Championship inside Alico Arena.
The Bucs will now take on Lipscomb in the final tomorrow at 3 p.m. It will mark the first time the Bucs have advanced to the conference title match since joining the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Bucs have now recorded 26 victories on the season, their most during the modern era.
"Both teams are very evenly matched and I think they bring out the best in us and we bring out the best in them," said ETSU head coach Lindsey Devine. "We knew we had to play our best in order to get a win tonight and I am very proud of our effort against a very good team."
Baufield, one of six seniors on the squad, finished the night with a team-high 17 kills while also adding 12 digs and two blocks for a double-double. Baufield recorded the 17 kills on 30 total attacks for a team-best .433 attack percentage on the night. Devine recorded 15 kills and six digs, while Long was the third member of the team in double figures with 10 kills and four blocks.
Whitney Cogburn (Kingsport, Tenn.) had another impressive match as she recorded a double-double with 45 assists and 14 digs, while also adding four kills and five blocks. Erin Ryan (Davie, Fla.) added seven kills and a team-high 16 digs. Jamie Stancliff (Advance, N.C.) finished the night with six kills, two service aces, four digs, and three blocks.
For the second straight night, the Bucs dominated at the net as ETSU out-blocked Kennesaw State 11 to 4. After two matches in the tournament, ETSU owns a significant 26 to 4 advantage in blocking. The Bucs out-blocked North Florida last night 15 to 0. In addition, ETSU also out-hit Kennesaw State .248 to .189 on the night. The Bucs have hit over .240 in three consecutive matches.
In the opening set, both teams traded points through the first part of the frame. Then, with the scored tied 9-9, a Kennesaw State attack error put the Bucs up 10-9. The Bucs never looked back in the set as they won the opening frame 25-21.
Kennesaw State got off to the early start in the second frame as they led 14-9 to being the set. The Bucs crawled back into it as a Devine kill tied the match back up at 18 apiece. Then, with the score tied 22-22, Long came away with a huge block to put the Bucs up 23-22. Long added another kill on the next point to give the Bucs set point at 24-22, but an ETSU attack error kept the set going at 24-23. A timely Ryan kill closed out the set for the Bucs 25-23.
ETSU jumped out to a quick advantage in the third frame as they were full of confidence following two set victories. KSU crawled back to tie and eventually take the lead at 15-13, but ETSU regained control at 19-16. The seesaw match got even crazier as both teams traded points until the score was tied at 28 apiece. The Bucs had three chances to close out the match during the sequence, while KSU also had an opportunity to take the set. Then, with the score tied at 28, the Owls got a kill from Sabrita Gulley to give KSU set point once again. This time the Owls finally put away the set as an ETSU attack error gave KSU the victory in the frame 30-28.
The fourth set started very similarly to the third set as both teams traded points throughout the start. Kennesaw State finally broke the tie as they took a 15-11 lead following a 7-3 run. ETSU battled back to eventually tie the match and both teams traded points until the score was knotted at 22 apiece. The Bucs went on a timely 3-0 run thanks to a Baufield kill, Stancliff kill, and a match ending block by Baufield to give the Bucs the 25-22 victory.
ETSU will meet top-seeded Lipscomb in the A-Sun final tomorrow at 3 p.m. Fans can follow all the action for free at ASun.TV. ETSU and Lipscomb met earlier in the season with Lipscomb earning a 3-0 victory in Johnson City. The Bisons finished the regular season with an undefeated conference mark and earned a sweep earlier this afternoon against cross-town rival Belmont.
"This game of volleyball is all about momentum and I know that if our team plays emotional we will make errors, but if we stay calm and continue to talk to one another we will continue with our great play," Devine said.
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