FORT MYERS, Fla. (Nov. 17, 2010) - After closing out the regular season with a victory against USC Upstate last Wednesday, the No. 3 seeded ETSU volleyball team gets set to take on No. 6 seeded North Florida, Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. on the opening day of the Atlantic Sun Championship inside Alico Arena.
The Bucs (24-8, 7-3 A-Sun) locked up the No. 3 seed following their victory over the Spartans and a victory by Kennesaw State over Mercer. The winner of the ETSU-UNF contest will take on No. 2 seeded Kennesaw State in the semifinals on Friday night at 7:30.
Senior Erin Ryan (Davie, Fla.) recorded a game-high 12 kills on .345 hitting to lead the Bucs past USC Upstate, 3-0 (25-20, 25-13, 25-17) in the regular season finale.
ETSU came away with 43 kills on .324 hitting, while limiting the Spartans to just 26 kills and a .112 attack efficiency. The Bucs also out-blocked the Spartans 7.0 to 2.0. The .324 attack efficiency recorded by the Bucs was their second best total of the season. The Bucs hit .333 against N.C. Central back in September.
The Atlantic Sun Conference announced its all-conference awards on Monday and the Bucs had three members earn accolades. Senior middle blocker Alysa Long (Romulus, Mich.) earned First-Team All-Conference after finishing the regular season atop the league in blocks and hitting percentage. Senior setter Whitney Cogburn (Kingsport, Tenn.) was named Second-Team All-Conference after leading the A-Sun with 1,122 total assists. Outside hitter Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) became the first Freshman of the Year since ETSU joined the Atlantic Sun. Devine led the team in kills and points, while ranking second on the squad in digs.
UNF (7-21, 4-6 A-Sun) enters the tournament on a two match winning streak after they defeated cross-town rival Jacksonville, 3-0 (25-11, 25-19, 25-23) in the Ospreys' last outing to earn the final spot in the conference tournament. Second team All-Conference selection Paige Pridgeon tallied 18 kills on .500 hitting percentage in the match while Jessica Catelano added 11 kills on .526 hitting percentage. Pridgeon leads the Ospreys this season with 3.91 kills per set and ranks second in the conference.
ETSU holds a 6-3 advantage over UNF in the all-time series. The two teams met earlier this season in Jacksonville where the Bucs secured a 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-17) sweep. In that contest, Long and fellow senior Lauren Baufield (Plymouth, Minn.) combined for 18 kills without an error to lead the Bucs. Devine and Long both finished with a team-high 10 kills in the match.
Fans that are unable to make the trip to Ft. Myers can follow all the action of the Atlantic Sun Championship on ASun.TV free of charge.
No. 4 Belmont will take on No. 5 Mercer to open the Atlantic Sun Championship on Thursday at 5 p.m. The winner of that match will take on top-seeded Lipscomb on Friday at 5 p.m.
For more information on the ETSU volleyball team please go to ETSUBucs.com and click on the volleyball link. Also, be sure to follow ETSU Athletics on Facebook and Twitter.
- A win against North Florida would give the Bucs 25 wins, which would be tied for third all-time in program history. The Bucs last recorded 25 wins in 2006.
- Megan Devine became the first ETSU Freshman of the Year since the Bucs joined the Atlantic Sun Conference. Nicole Ryan won the award in 2002 when ETSU was a member of the Southern Conference.
- Alysa Long ranks 25th in the country in blocks per set, while the Bucs rank 23rd as a team in blocks per set.
- Long currently owns a .328 career attack percentage which would go down in the record books as tops in school history. Pam Farmer currently owns the school record with a .318 career mark from 1982-84.
- Libero Kiley Tamblyn has recorded 503 digs this season which ranks fourth on the school's all-time single season total.
- ETSU's last A-Sun Tournament victory came against Mercer in 2008 as the Bucs won 3-2 in Macon, Ga.
- ETSU has recorded one of the biggest turnarounds in the country this season with their 24 victories. The Bucs have already won 13 more matches than they did last season.
- The Bucs have been strong on the defensive end all season long as they finished the regular season atop the A-Sun in opponents hitting percentage and in blocking.