KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 12, 2013) – The second time wasn’t the charm for the ETSU volleyball team.
Less than a week after suffering a heartbreaking five-set loss to VCU at the Kentucky Classic, the Buccaneers couldn’t get revenge as the Rams swept the Blue and Gold (18-25, 23-25, 20-25) on Thursday evening at the Comcast Lady Vol Classic.
Once again, VCU sophomore outside hitter Romana Kriskova continued giving ETSU fits as she led all players with 14 kills and also added seven digs, while Cecilia Aragao tallied 32 assists, six blocks, five digs and three kills. Last Saturday against the Bucs, Kriskova posted a match-high 27 kills and went on to receive Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors on Monday.
For the Blue and Gold, senior outside hitter Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) continued pacing ETSU in kills as she recorded a team-best 12 on Thursday. The reigning Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year has led ETSU in kills in every match this year.
Unfortunately, after registering season highs in kills, blocks and digs in their win at Marshall on Tuesday night, the Bucs went backwards on Thursday as the Blue and Gold set season lows in all three statistical categories versus the Rams. As a team, ETSU was held to 33 kills, 21 digs, and three blocks. The Bucs entered the match as the top blocking team in the A-Sun at 2.6 blocks per set. Meanwhile, VCU finished with 43 kills, 35 digs and nine blocks.
Following the setback, ETSU dropped to 4-5, while VCU improved to 6-1 on the campaign.
In the opening set, the Rams used an early 12-5 run to break a 3-all score to a seven-point advantage, 15-8. From there, the Bucs could only get within five points and VCU eventually built a 10-point advantage (23-13) before coming away with the seven-point set win, 25-18.
VCU carried momentum with them over to the early stages of the second set as the Rams won the first four points, and despite ETSU battling back to take a two-point lead late in the stanza, the Black and Gold rallied to take a 2-0 lead in the match. After the Bucs chipped away at their deficit and captured a 19-17 lead following a kill by Devine and a Kriskova attack error, VCU called a timeout to regroup. Following the stoppage, the Rams won the next three points to pull ahead, 20-19, but ETSU didn’t back away. With VCU leading, 23-21, the Blue and Gold evened the score at 23; however, that was the seventh and final tie of the set as the Rams won the final two plays for the 25-23 win.
The Bucs won four of the first five points in the third, but with the score knotted at seven, VCU won the next four points to take control of the frame and pull out a 25-20 match-clinching victory. After the Rams’ run, ETSU got to within one on two occasions (14-15; 15-16), but the Blue and Gold couldn’t get over the hump as VCU capped off the sweep.
Junior Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) led the Bucs with a .267 attack percentage (7-3-15), but as a team ETSU managed to post a .137 clip (33-20-95). VCU hit .319 (43-14-91) for the match.
ETSU returns to action on Friday when the Bucs take on Wichita State at 10 a.m., before wrapping up the day with Austin Peay at 4:30 p.m.
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