KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov. 21, 2013) – The ETSU volleyball team begins defense of its Atlantic Sun Championship crown Friday night as Buccaneers open tournament play at 7:30 p.m. inside the KSU Convocation Center.
The Bucs, who secured the No. 2-seed after going 22-8, 16-2 in regular season play, await the winner of No. 3 Lipscomb/No. 6 Kennesaw State in Friday’s second semifinal match. Lipscomb and Kennesaw State square off in the quarterfinals Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
The winner of Friday’s semifinal match will play for the A-Sun Championship on Saturday at 3 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE BUCS
The Bucs had a pair of win streaks snapped last Saturday as Jacksonville swept the Blue and Gold (19-25, 17-25, 35-37) inside Brooks Gym. The setback ended ETSU’s 15-match home win streak and nine-match overall win streak.
Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) collected her 12th straight double-double (21st of the season) after finishing with 15 kills and 10 digs, while passing Karen Freeburg (2001-04) for third all-time on the ETSU digs list with 1,459.
Junior Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) added eight kills and nine blocks, but it was Jacksonville’s Sammie Strausbaugh and Taylor Nyquist that lifted Jacksonville to its seventh straight victory. Strausbaugh, the 2012 A-Sun Freshman of the Year, ended with 19 kills and 10 digs, while Nyquist added 13 kills and 15 digs.
The loss marked the Bucs’ first home setback since dropping a four-set match to Lipscomb back on Oct. 6, 2012. In addition, it also marked the first time ETSU was swept at home since Belmont took three from the Blue and Gold on Nov. 12, 2011.
ETSU vs. TOURNAMENT FIELD
This season, ETSU went 8-2 against the tournament field, with the only two setbacks coming against Jacksonville.
In the eight wins, four were five-set victories, while three came via the sweep. As a team, the Bucs averaged 13.06 kills, 12.06 assists, 1.48 service aces, 13.21 digs, and 3.05 blocks per set in those victories, including a .246 (431-157-1116) attack percentage. Meanwhile, ETSU held the opposition to 11.03 kills, 10.79 assists, 1.03 service aces, 13.64 digs, 1.82 blocks per set, and hit .152 (364-196-1102).
Individually, Devine averaged 4.36 kills and 3.09 digs, while Hardy and Khadijah Wiley (Columbus, Ga.) combined to hit .352 (129-30-281) in those eight contests. Hardy posted a .348 clip (84-22-178) and averaged 1.64 blocks per set, while Wiley hit .359 (45-8-103). Junior setter Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn.) accounted for 349 of ETSU’s 398 assists and fellow junior Bethany Gesell (High Point, N.C.) tallied 15 of the Bucs’ 49 service aces.
In the two losses (both versus Jacksonville), ETSU averaged 12.50 kills, 12.00 assists, 0.50 service aces, 11.75 digs and 3.12 blocks, including a .219 attack percentage (100-40-274). Meanwhile, the Dolphins posted 14.25 kills, 13.38 assists, 1.00 service aces, 14.38 digs, and 2.25 blocks per set, while also hitting .237 (114-48-278).
The Bucs are 44-32 all-time against the 2013 A-Sun Tournament field – 15-0 vs. Stetson, 11-4 vs. Kennesaw State, 8-11 vs. Lipscomb, 6-10 vs. Jacksonville and 4-7 vs. FGCU.
The Bucs are 4-2 all-time inside the KSU Convocation Center.
ETSU IN THE A-SUN TOURNAMENT
Since joining the A-Sun in 2006, ETSU is 7-5 all-time in tournament play.
The Bucs have reached the tournament six of the seven times and have reached the semifinals or finals in all six appearances.
Last year, ETSU won the 2012 A-Sun Championship and made its first trip to the NCAA Tournament. Megan Devine was named A-Sun Tournament MVP, while Meredith Hardy and Bethany Gesell were also named to the all-tournament team.
In last year’s tournament, Devine averaged 3.67 kills (44 total) and 3.42 digs (41 total) in the three matches, while Hardy registered 3.25 kills (39 kills) and 1.58 blocks (19 total), along with hitting .342. Gesell averaged 3.08 kills (37 total).
In tournament play, ETSU is 3-4 against the 2013 field – 2-0 vs. Kennesaw State, 1-2 vs. Lipscomb, and 0-2 vs. Jacksonville.
Friday’s match will be broadcast live on ESPN3, while live stats will be provided via Stat Broadcast.
Twitter updates can be accessed by following @ETSUAthletics and @ETSUVolleyball.
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For more information on Buccaneer volleyball, visit ETSUBucs.com.
The Bucs have recorded consecutive 20-plus win seasons and have accomplished the feat in three of the last four campaigns. Over the last four years, the Blue and Gold have totaled 86 victories, while ETSU’s 16 conference wins this year mark a program record.
By claiming a share of the regular season title, the Bucs have won six regular season championships in program history – 2006 and 2013 (A-Sun), 1991, 1987-89 (SoCon).
ETSU placed three on the 2013 all-conference list as Megan Devine and Meredith Hardy were named First Team All-Atlantic Sun and Katie Muey landed second team honors. Devine, the 2012 Player of the Year, has received first team all-conference honors in each of the last three seasons, while Hardy has earned the honor in consecutive seasons. Muey’s second team honor marked the first for the junior libero.
Meanwhile, Devine and Hardy landed all-academic accolades on Monday, while Hardy was also named co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Earlier this year, Devine and Hardy broke all-time A-Sun marks. Devine is the all-time conference leader in kills with 1,925, while Hardy is the all-time blocks leader with 468. Devine is also the all-time ETSU leader in kills, while ranking second among active NCAA Division I Players. Hardy also broke the ETSU all-time block assists mark and currently has 398 in 95 total matches played. The junior middle blocker has also recorded at least one block in 90 straight matches, while Devine has played in all but two of the possible 130 matches.
ETSU compiled a pair of nine-match win streaks during the year.
In the Bucs’ 22 wins, ETSU is averaging 14.25 kills, 13.28 assists, 1.36 service aces, 14.48 digs, and 3.03 blocks per set, while holding the opposition to 11.29 kills, 10.88 assists, 1.09 service aces, 13.22 digs, and 1.85 blocks per set. Individually, Megan Devine is posting 4.71 kills and 3.48 digs per set in the wins, while Hardy is hitting .363 (238-63-482) and averaging 1.65 blocks in the victories. Katie Muey is also averaging 4.08 digs in those 22 matches.
On the flip side, the Bucs are averaging 11.97 kills, 11.39 assists, 1.06 service aces, 10.16 digs and 2.23 blocks per set in their eight losses, while the opposition is recording 12.58 kills, 11.68 assists, 1.48 service aces, 11.52 digs, and 2.37 blocks per set. Devine is averaging 4.11 kills and 2.25 digs, while Hardy is totaling 2.77 kills and 1.23 blocks per in the setbacks. Muey is averaging 3.03 digs per set.
This season, Devine recorded double-digit kills in all 29 matches and double-digit digs 21 times for the Blue and Gold. Hardy registered double-digit kills 17 times, hit over .500 seven times, and had two matches with 10-plus blocks. Muey totaled double-digit digs in 26 matches, and tied a career-high with 22 in the five-set win at Marshall. In addition, Muey also registered double-digit digs in 17 of the 18 conference matches.
For more information on Buccaneer volleyball, visit ETSUBucs.com.