GREENSBORO, N.C. (August 26, 2011) – The ETSU volleyball team salvaged a split by defeating UNC Greensboro, 3-1 (25-17, 17-25, 25-22, 25-21), Friday evening at the UNCG Invitational inside Fleming Gymnasium. The Bucs were defeated by Evansville earlier in the day, 3-1.
“I feel that preseason tournaments are a means for coaches to look at what they covered in preseason to see strengths and weaknesses,” said ETSU head coach Lindsey Devine. “It was great to get a win under our belts and it was a total team effort with everyone contributing one way or another.”
Match 1 Recap (Evansville 3, ETSU 1)
Brooke Maher and Kaisi Nixon combined for 30 kills to lead Evansville past ETSU, 3-1 (25-19, 28-30, 25-16, 25-16), to open the 2011 volleyball season at the UNCG Invitational on Friday afternoon.
Evansville earned the victory despite being doubled up in the blocking category. ETSU finished the match with an 8-4 advantage in that category. Last season, the Bucs were 19-3 when out-blocking their opponents. However, the Purple Aces had a decisive 61-50 advantage in kills, while also out-hitting the Bucs .253 - .186.
Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.), the reigning Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year, led the Bucs with a season opening double-double of 16 kills and 14 digs. After coming in off the bench, junior Kayla Williams (El Paso, Texas) dished out 31 assists, while also adding seven digs and two kills. Senior Kiley Tamblyn (Torrance, Calif.) led the ETSU defense with 17 digs to go with five assists. Freshman Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) turned in a solid performance in her first collegiate match as she recorded eight kills and six blocks. The six blocks were a match-high.
The opening set of the 2011 season started out promising for the Bucs as they got out to a 7-3 lead. ETSU got two early kills from Jamie Stancliff (Advance, N.C.) and a service ace from Devine during the opening stretch. Evansville closed the gap and tied the match on a few occasions, but the Purple Aces finally took the lead at 12-11 after a service ace by Ellen Sawin. Evansville was able to maintain the advantage throughout the rest of the set and eventually clinched the opening frame after a kill by Hannah Wilson earned the Purple Aces the 25-19 victory.
Evansville rode its momentum from the opening set victory to open the second frame with a commanding 8-2 lead to start the second set. However, the Bucs quickly closed the deficit by winning the next four points. Krista Hughes (Williamsburg, Va.) had a kill and then she combined with Hardy for two straight blocks during the run. ETSU battled back to tie the match up on a few different occasions, but with the score tied at 16, a McKayla Barber (Columbus, Ind.) kill put the Bucs up for the first time in the set. The match continued to be a see-saw battle until Evansville earned two straight points to earn set point at 24-22. After an ETSU timeout, the Bucs responded with three straight points to earn set point of their own. However, Evansville tied the match back up. After more back and forth play, ETSU went up 29-28 after an Evansville attack error. The Bucs claimed the set after Hardy and Devine combined on a block for the victory 30-28, while tying the match at 1-1.
The Buccaneers got out to a quick 6-2 start in the third frame thanks to multiple Devine kills. Evansville quickly cut into the lead and eventually went on top 7-6 after five straight points. After a back and forth battle for the next several points, Evansville broke away to extend out the lead following a 6-0 run and a 5-0 run after that to clinch the set victory, 25-16.
The Purple Aces opened the fourth set with an early advantage once again. In fact, ETSU never took a lead during the fourth set. The Bucs tried to make a run after a Stancliff service ace cut the Evansville lead to 15-13, but the Purple Aces extended the lead back out to eventually clinch the set and match, 25-16.
“In the match against Evansville we just couldn’t get into a rhythm offensively,” added Coach Devine. “At times Evansville went on a few big runs and we failed to put a stop to those runs. However, I was pleased with the second set win. That was a great indicator of the heart and warrior mentality we strive to have. I feel that we struggled on capitalizing the momentum plays.”
With the victory, Evansville improved its record to 2-0 after defeating North Carolina A&T earlier in the day.
Match 2 Recap (ETSU 3, UNCG 1)
ETSU sophomore Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) recorded a game-high and tied a career-high with 22 kills to lead the Bucs past UNC Greensboro, 3-1 (25-17, 17-25, 25-22, 25-21), on Friday night inside Fleming Gymnasium.
The Bucs recorded 53 kills and hit an impressive .259 as a team, while the Spartans recorded 48 kills and hit .206 as a team. In addition, ETSU out-blocked UNCG 7-5.
In addition to Devine, senior McKayla Barber (Columbus, Ind.) had double digit kills as she recorded 10. Senior libero Kiley Tamblyn (Torrance, Calif.) turned in her second straight 17 dig performance to lead the Buccaneer defense. Kayla Williams (El Paso, Texas) saw the majority of the action at the setter position and turned in a solid performance that included 30 assists, two kills, and five digs. Freshman Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn.) also saw time at the setter position as she recorded 14 assists and four digs. Senior middle blocker Jamie Stancliff (Advance, N.C.) had a very productive night with nine kills and three blocks.
The Bucs came out of the gates strong early as they took a quick 6-0 lead. The Spartans made an attempt to cut the lead, but they could not get within four points as ETSU never trailed during the set. Devine and Stancliff combined for 11 kills in the opening frame to pace the Bucs offensively.
UNC Greensboro got off to a similar start in the second set that ETSU got in the first by getting out to a quick advantage. After an ETSU attack error put UNCG in front 3-2, the Spartans built some momentum and extended the lead. UNCG would not trail the rest of the set, cruising to a 25-17 win to tie the match up. The story of the second set was UNCG’s decisive advantage in hitting percentage. The Spartans out-hit the Bucs .300 to .028 in the frame.
Freshman Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) served the Bucs to a quick 6-0 in the third set. Rice recorded two service aces during the run. UNC Greensboro managed to trim the lead a couple of times, but much like the first set ETSU never trailed in the frame. Devine had a stellar set as she recorded nine kills in 14 attempts to lead the Bucs.
With the Bucs needing just one more set for the victory, it was UNC Greensboro that came out hot in the fourth set. Two straight kills by Ari Lysacek gave the Spartans the early 7-4 advantage. The Bucs tied the match up at 10 apiece when Stancliff combine with Rutledge for a block. The score went back and forth for the next several points until ETSU pulled ahead 15-14 after a block by Barber. The Bucs would not look back from there as Barber closed out the set with a kill, giving ETSU the match.
“In the UNCG match, I was pleased that we were able to get into a rhythm early on,” added Coach Devine. “We took control of the ball on our side of the net and we were aggressive with our swings. I think that we were able to get UNCG out of their comfort zone and we were also more aggressive with our serves.”
With the win, ETSU improved to 1-1 on the young season, while UNC Greensboro dropped to 0-2. The Spartans fell to Coastal Carolina earlier in the day by the same 3-1 final. The Buccaneers have now defeated UNCG for the second straight season, both of them by a 3-1 margin.
The Buccaneers continue the UNCG Invitational tomorrow by taking on North Carolina A&T (0-2) at 11 a.m. ETSU will close out the tournament against Coastal Carolina (2-0) at 5 p.m.
For more information on the ETSU volleyball team please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the volleyball link.