CLEMSON, S.C. (Sept. 1, 2012) – After rallying past Charlotte in four sets (18-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-22) to start the day, the ETSU volleyball team set up a championship showdown with Clemson. Unfortunately, after keeping things tight in the first two sets, the Blue and Gold were swept by the Tigers (22-25, 20-25, 11-25) in Clemson Classic Championship on Saturday evening inside Jervey Gymnasium.
With the split, ETSU saw its three-game winning streak come to an end and the Bucs moved their mark to 6-2 on the season.
Following the match, sophomores Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Bethany Gesell (High Point, N.C.) were named to the Clemson Classic All-Tournament Team. Gesell hit .375 on the weekend, while tallying 28 kills, six blocks and four digs. Hardy was also unstoppable as she compiled 30 kills and 14 blocks in the four matches.
As a team, ETSU finished with five more kills than its opponents this weekend, 122 to 117, while also out-blocking them by 10, 26 to 16. In addition, the Bucs averaged over four aces per match as the Blue and Gold compiled 17 points off those serves.
ETSU vs. Charlotte Game Recap
Despite dropping the opening set to Charlotte on Saturday, the ETSU volleyball team responded well as the Bucs rallied to a 3-1 win over the 49ers in their second match of the Clemson Classic inside Jervey Gym.
Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) recorded her fourth double-double of the season (second straight) after finishing with 15 kills and 16 digs, while Gesell continued her strong hitting as she ended with a .562 attack percentage. Hardy added 12 kills, four blocks, and three digs in the third consecutive win for the Blue and Gold. Freshman Jessica Schafer (Dekalb, Ill.) also added five blocks and two kills. The major storyline in the match was the differential in attack errors. Charlotte finished with 31 errors, compared to only 14 by the Bucs.
ETSU dug itself in a hole early on in the first set and couldn’t battle out of it as Charlotte took the opener, 25-18. The 49ers opened up on a 4-1 run to begin the set – and despite pulling even at five – the Blue and Gold didn’t get over the hump as the Bucs never led in the stanza. From there, Charlotte used a 10-3 spurt to pull ahead, 15-8, forcing the Bucs to call a timeout after Carly Ochs recorded her fourth kill of the set. The Bucs were only able to get within four points in the set when a block by Kayla Williams (El Paso, Texas) and Hardy made it a 22-18 score; however, Charlotte secured the final three points to win the opener.
Just like the first set, Charlotte charged out to a 6-2 lead, but the Bucs fought hard to muster a 9-2 run and claimed an 11-8 advantage, forcing the 49ers to call their first timeout of the set when Hardy slammed home her second of five kills in the stanza. ETSU’s run eventually spread to 16-6 when Charlotte had to burn its final timeout after Schafer and Williams combined on a block, making it an 18-12 contest. Despite the 49ers winning three of the next four points after the stoppage of play, the Blue and Gold recovered nicely as ETSU closed the set on a 6-1 surge to even the match up with a 25-16 victory. The Bucs capitalized on Charlotte’s eight attack errors, while ETSU – who only had one attack error in the set – outhit the 49ers, .361 to 135. Hardy and Williams paced the Buccaneer attack as they combined for seven of ETSU’s 14 kills and hit an astonishing .636.
The Bucs carried the positive energy over to the third set as ETSU eased its way to a 25-20 win told hold a 2-1 lead in the match. ETSU never trailed in the set as the Blue and Gold rushed out to a 7-3 start and only let the 49ers pull within three, 8-5. Ironically, it was another 7-3 spurt that gave the Bucs a comfortable lead which they wouldn’t relinquish as ETSU led, 15-8. From there, the Bucs continued to extend their lead as Hardy’s block put ETSU within one point of the set, 24-14, but Charlotte didn’t go down without a fight. The 49ers strung together six consecutive points before a kill by Hardy gave the Blue and Gold the five-point win. ETSU used four service aces to register easy points as Williams, Devine, Hardy, and Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) found the holes in Charlotte’s defense.
Despite falling in the third set, Charlotte carried the late momentum over to the fourth as the 49ers opened a 6-3 lead, but ETSU responded with a 4-1 run to tie the set at seven. The 49ers gained some breathing room midway through the stanza as Charlotte led 16-12 when Amanda Videmsek posted one of her 10 kills of the match, forcing the Blue and Gold to call a timeout. The move worked in a big way as the Bucs responded to coach Devine’s chat by pulling even at 20, thanks to Gesell sparking a run with five kills during the stretch. Charlotte regained the lead when they came out of a timeout with a kill by Mireya Braxton, but consecutive attack errors by the 49ers ended any chance of a comeback. ETSU used the errors to its favor and ended the match with consecutive kills by Devine. Once again it were the errors that doomed the 49ers in the final set as Charlotte compiled 10 attack errors to the Bucs’ two, while Gesell and Devine combined for 10 of the 12 kills for the Blue and Gold. Gesell had six kills on nine swings and Devine had four on 11 attempts.
With the loss, Charlotte saw its record move to 3-2 on the season.
ETSU at Clemson Recap
Despite keeping things close in the first two sets, ETSU couldn’t find the spark needed to put away the Tigers, as Clemson swept the Bucs in the championship match of the tournament.
Megan Devine – who is now 14 kills away from career number 1,000 – led the Bucs with 14 of them in the match against Clemson. Devine also finished with five digs and two service aces. Meanwhile, Meredith Hardy had seven kills to go with her two blocks.
The first set was a see-saw affair as it had 14 ties and six lead changes, but with ETSU leading 21-20, Clemson rattled off five of the next six points to take the opener, 25-22. The Bucs held five three-point leads in the stanza, but couldn’t put the Tigers away as Clemson used an 8-4 spurt to regain a 20-19 advantage after a Kristin Faust service ace. ETSU looked to have regrouped when Devine powered home consecutive kills, but Clemson’s final timeout of the set paid huge dividends as the Tigers rallied for the win with a 5-1 run at the end. The Tigers hit .423 in the set with only one attack error, compared to ETSU’s .186 attack percentage on seven errors.
Again, play was close in the second set, but in the end Clemson closed out the stanza on another 5-1 run to pull out a 25-20 win. The Blue and Gold led early when Kayla Williams and Jessica Schafer combined for a block – giving ETSU a 5-4 advantage. However, things quickly shifted as the Tigers won nine of the next 13 points to take a 13-9 lead, but the Bucs answered with a brief spurt to pull within one, 13-12, following a ball handling error by Hannah Brenner. Despite keeping things tight, ETSU couldn’t generate the spark it needed to pull out the win. The Tigers continued with their strong hitting as they outhit the Bucs, .342 to .171.
Things went all Clemson’s way in the third and final set as the Tigers opened up on a 10-5 run, forcing the Bucs to waste a timeout after Bethany Gesell was called for an attack error. From there, the Tigers won four of the next five points to lead by eight, 14-6, but ETSU made a brief attack by claiming the next three points to pull within five. However, the run was stopped as Clemson closed out the match on an 11-2 surge to come away with the championship.
The Tigers hit over .400 in two of the three sets and only had six attack errors in the match, while ETSU was charged with 21. Moneshia Simmons led Clemson with 11 kills and Brenner completed a double-double with 30 assists and 10 digs.
Clemson captured its second straight tournament championship to start the season and improved to 6-0 with the win.
The Blue and Gold head home for the first time in 2012 when ETSU hosts Marshall on Monday night at 7 p.m. inside Brooks Gym. A pregame tailgate will be held outside of Brooks Gym starting at 5:45 p.m. as Buccaneer fans will have the opportunity to meet the 2012 team and enjoy free food.
For more information on Buccaneer volleyball, visit ETSUBucs.com.