TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (Sept. 7, 2012) – For only the second time this season, the ETSU volleyball team was taken down in straight sets as Austin Peay swept the Blue and Gold (9-25, 10-25, 24-26) on Friday afternoon at the Hampton Inn Bama Bash inside Foster Auditorium.
Austin Peay hit .355 (41-8-93) for the match, while junior middle blocker Lauren Henderson led the way with a .533 clip (9-1-15) and sophomore setter Cami Fields quarterbacked the offense with 31 assists and eight digs. The Lady Govs dictated the pace early by hitting .560 in the first set and only committed one error on 25 total attempts. In the end, Austin Peay only tallied eight attack errors, compared to ETSU’s 22 on 105 total attempts. The Bucs finished with only 24 kills in the match.
The Blue and Gold saw their six-game winning streak on the neutral court come to an end and dropped to 8-3 on the season, while Austin Peay had its three-game losing streak snapped and improved to 3-8.
After losing five of the first six points in the opening set, the Bucs pulled within three, 8-5, when Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) recorded one of her nine kills of the match. However, ETSU never got any closer as the Lady Govs won nine straight points to extend their advantage to 17-5. Another kill by Devine stopped the run, but Austin Peay closed the frame out on an 8-3 surge to take the first set, 25-9. Senior outside hitter Nikki Doyle hit .500 in the set after finishing with five kills on ten swings, while the Lady Govs only had one attack error, compared to six by the Bucs.
Things didn’t get any better for ETSU in the second set as Austin Peay stormed out to an 11-3 start and never looked back from there. The Bucs tallied five errors in the start, and after the Blue and Gold were charged with three consecutive attack errors late in the stanza, Austin Peay’s lead ballooned to 12, 20-8. Following ETSU’s second timeout in the frame, Austin Peay closed out the set by winning five of the next seven points to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
ETSU showed some fight in the third, but after 10 ties and three lead changes, Austin Peay rallied for a 26-24 win. The Bucs took their first lead of the match when sophomore Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) opened the set with a kill and ETSU opened a three-point advantage, 12-9, when fellow sophomore Katie Muey (Alexandria, Ind.) posted the Bucs’ lone service ace of the game. Unfortunately, Austin Peay won the next three points to pull even at 12, but with things still knotted at 14, ETSU gained momentum by stringing together six straight points starting with Kayla Williams’ (El Paso, Texas) kill and ending with an attack error by Liz Landon. With that said, the game got away from the Bucs as Austin Peay closed out the set on a 12-4 run to take the match.
Devine led ETSU with nine kills, but she also committed nine attack errors on 43 attempts, while Bethany Gesell (High Point, N.C.) was once again the lone bright spot for the Blue and Gold. Gesell hit .385 as she finished with seven kills on 13 attempts and was charged with two attack errors.
The Bucs look to bounce back into the win column on Saturday when ETSU faces Lamar at 3 p.m., before closing out the tournament against host Alabama at 8 p.m.
For more information on Buccaneer volleyball, visit ETSUBucs.com.