ETSU becomes just the third No. 5-seed in A-Sun Championship history to advance to semifinals
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (November 17, 2011) – ETSU rallied from two sets down to earn a thrilling 3-2 () win over Kennesaw State in the Atlantic Sun Championship quarterfinals on Thursday night inside Allen Arena.
ETSU improves to 15-15 on the season and the Bucs will take on top-seeded Belmont tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m. (ET) in the semifinals. The match will be shown free of charge on ASun.TV. Meanwhile, Kennesaw State falls to 13-16 on the season with the loss.
Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) led the ETSU charge with a career-high 22 kills on .455 hitting to go along with seven digs and three blocks. Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) recorded her fifth straight double-double and 15th of the season with 20 kills and 14 digs. Kayla Williams (El Paso, Texas) dished out a career-high 55 assists, while also adding two kills, two digs and two blocks. Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) turned in 10 kills and a match-high six blocks. Kiley Tamblyn (Torrance, Calif.) and Katie Muey (Alexandria, Ind.) each had nine digs for the Bucs on the defensive end.
Kennesaw State jumped out to an early advantage after taking five of the first seven points in the opening set. After ETSU cut the score to 5-3, Kennesaw State won the next four points to extend its lead to 9-3. The Bucs managed to cut the lead to four on several occasions, but they could not get any closer. The Owls went on to win the set, 25-17. Justine Young and Alyssa Lang led Kennesaw State in the set with four kills apiece, while Devine and Hardy had four each for ETSU. The Bucs allowed the Owls to hit .414 in the set.
The second set opened with each team winning three points apiece to knot the score at 3-3. Kennesaw State then went on a 5-0 run to take an 8-3 lead. The Owls extended their lead to as much as six on several occasions. Meanwhile, ETSU cut the lead to four at 21-17, but much like the opening set, it could not get any closer. The Owls went on to take the set, 25-18. Kennesaw State out-hit ETSU .455 to .250 in the set.
In the third set, both teams played even until Kennesaw State broke a 9-9 tie to take the next four points. ETSU chipped away at the lead and finally tied the set up at 18 apiece after a kill by Rice. The Bucs took control of the lead after a McKayla Barber (Columbus, Ind.) kill, forcing a Kennesaw State timeout. After the timeout, Rice added another ETSU kill to put the Bucs in front 20-18. The Owls quickly tied the score; however, by winning the next two points. After the two teams traded points until the score was even at 23, a kill by Devine gave the Bucs set point at 24-23. A Williams service ace gave the Bucs the set, 25-23.
ETSU jumped out to the early start in the fourth set as the Bucs led 11-6. Kennesaw State chipped away and trailed by just one at 16-15, but the Bucs extended the lead back out. The Owls could not manage to get any closer as the Bucs held on for the 25-21 win.
In the decisive fifth set, Kennesaw State got off to a quick start by taking the first three points. However, ETSU responded by taking the next three points of its own to tie the score. After the score was tied at 4-4, ETSU reeled off three straight points to take a 7-4 lead. Kennesaw State cut the lead to two at 11-9 before ETSU took the next two for a four point lead. After KSU cut the lead to 13-10, back to back kills by Rice and Hardy gave the Bucs the thrilling victory.
Young finished with a match-high 24 kills to lead the Kennesaw State offense, while Baylee Strachan added 12 kills. Alyssa Lang finished with a match-high 20 digs to lead the Owls defensively.
ETSU advances to the Atlantic Sun Championship semifinals for the second straight season. In addition, the victory for the Bucs was just the third time in A-Sun Championship history that a No. 5-seed advanced to the semifinals under the current format. The last time a No. 5-seed advanced was back in 2008 when ETSU knocked off Mercer.
ETSU will meet Belmont for the third time this season. Belmont won the first matchup in Nashville, 3-1. The Bruins defeated the Bucs, 3-0, in Johnson City just last week.
For more information on ETSU volleyball please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the volleyball link.