CLEMSON, S.C. (Aug. 30, 2012) – The ETSU volleyball team wraps up its season-opening eight-game road swing this weekend as the Bucs return to the Palmetto State for the Clemson Classic. ETSU opens play on Friday at 4 p.m. with in-state rival Chattanooga, while wrapping up the tournament with matches against Charlotte (12:30 p.m.) and Clemson (4 p.m.) on Saturday inside Jervey Gymnasium.
The Bucs – who are off to their best start since the 2007 campaign – improved to 4-1 on the season after sweeping Presbyterian Tuesday night in Clinton, S.C. ETSU received huge production from sophomore Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) as she tied the program record with seven block assists and 10 total blocks in a three-set match against the Blue Hose. Overall, Hardy has recorded a block in 31 straight matches, dating back to last season. As a team, the Bucs etched their name into the record books on Tuesday as the 18 total team blocks were the most in a three-set match. The previous record in a three-set match was 17 total blocks versus Baptist back on Sept. 30, 1988.
Meanwhile, as Hardy brings her blocking streak into play this weekend, junior Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) carries a streak of her own into Clemson. Devine – who has played in 69 straight matches – comes into Friday’s match with 11 consecutive games of recording double figures in kills. In addition, the Preseason Atlantic Sun Player of the Year selection has registered double digits in kills in 34 of her last 38 matches. Devine is also eyeing a special milestone as she is 53 kills away from career number 1,000.
As a team, the Blue and Gold hold a commanding lead in blocks and blocks per set among A-Sun foes. The Bucs’ 59 blocks are 34 more than the nearest competitor, Stetson, while ETSU also holds a 1.15 margin in blocks per set as the Blue and Gold are averaging 2.95 compared to Florida Gulf Coast’s 1.83.
Fans unable to make the trip to Clemson this weekend can follow all the action on live stats through ClemsonTigers.com. Twitter updates will also be provided by following @ETSUAthletics.
Scouting the Opponents
The Mocs are off to a 3-0 start after winning the Country Inn & Suites Invitational, hosted by Chattanooga, last weekend. Chattanooga defeated Alcorn State (3-0), USC Upstate (3-1), and Tennessee Tech (3-0) on its home floor, while Junior Bridget Camacho was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament as she helped UTC to three wins with 119 assists over the weekend. Teammate and senior libero Paula Passmore received Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors after tallying 77 digs in the three matches last weekend. Prior to the season, the Mocs and Western Carolina were both tabbed to finish fifth in the SoCon North. Friday marks the 56th meeting between the two rivals, with ETSU holding a 28-27 lead after sweeping UTC last season. The Bucs have won five of the last six meetings.
Like Chattanooga, the 49ers are also coming off a season opening tournament championship after winning the East Carolina Classic last weekend. Charlotte swept all three matches with Bethune-Cookman, Campbell, and East Carolina. Senior co-captain Bianca Rouse, who was named Tournament MVP, became just the 17th player in program history to reach the 1,000-kill plateau for her career in the win over ECU. After finishing the 2011 season with a record of 13-14, 7-8, Charlotte was picked to finish ninth in the Atlantic 10 Preseason Poll. The 49ers have won 10 of the 18 matches against the Bucs, while marking the first meeting since the 2006 season.
The Tigers are coming off an impressive showing at the Big Orange Bash Tournament they hosted last weekend. Clemson earned three-set wins over Coastal Carolina, South Carolina State, and Xavier inside Jervey Gymnasium. The win was the third straight Big Orange Bash title claimed by Clemson, while the Tigers also knocked off No. 49 Slovenia, 3-2, on Tuesday night in an exhibition match. Sophomore outside hitter Kristin Faust was named Tournament MVP after finishing the weekend with 32 kills, 22 digs, and four blocks. Clemson was picked to finish third by the ACC’s coaches, and Sandra Adeleye, Alexa Rand, and Serenat Yaz were named to the preseason All-ACC team. Saturday marks the seventh meeting between ETSU and Clemson, with the Tigers taking the previous six matches.
For more information on Buccaneer volleyball, visit ETSUBucs.com.