TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (Sept. 8, 2012) – The ETSU volleyball team wrapped up the Hampton Inn Bama Bash with a pair of setbacks on Saturday evening as the Bucs fell to Lamar, 3-1 (23-25, 16-25, 25-10, 15-25), while being swept by the Crimson Tide (25-18, 25-20, 25-15) inside Foster Auditorium.
Prior to the tournament, ETSU entered play a perfect 5-0 on the neutral court, but after dropping three of the four matches in Tuscaloosa, the Bucs’ overall record dipped to 8-5 on the campaign.
ETSU vs. Lamar Recap
Despite Megan Devine’s (Kingsport, Tenn.) 15-kill, 11-dig effort, the Bucs couldn’t rebound from a heartbreaking first set loss as Lamar went on to defeat the Blue and Gold in four on Saturday in Tuscaloosa.
Devine recorded her eighth double-double of the season, while Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) added 12 kills, seven digs, and two service aces in the match. Sophomore middle blocker Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) hit .471 after finishing with eight kills on 17 swings.
The Bucs looked to be in control early on in the match as ETSU rallied from a three-point deficit to take a five-point lead, 16-11, courtesy of an 8-0 run midway through the set. Rice and Hardy ignited the surge as they combined for six kills – and despite the Cardinals pulling within two (19-17) – the Blue and Gold still looked to be in the driver’s seat when a service ace from Kayla Williams (El Paso, Texas) made it a 22-17 score in favor of ETSU. However, following Lamar’s final timeout of the set, the Cardinals scored five unanswered points courtesy of strong serving by Sierra Whittaker and pulled even at 22. Williams stopped the run when she recorded a kill on the next play, but Lamar finished the set with three straight points and took the wind out of the Buccaneer sails with the 25-23 victory. Devine had seven kills in the first set, while hitting .538 (7-13), but it was Lamar’s .462 team attack percentage (14-2-26) which helped propel the Cardinals to the two-point win.
The second set was tight midway through as both teams tallied eight ties and two lead changes, but with things knotted at 13-all, Lamar finished the frame on a 12-3 run to take a 2-0 lead in the match. ETSU contributed to the Cardinal run by posting five errors, but it was a quick 6-0 spurt used by Lamar to take momentum when the set was tied at 13. Like Whittaker did in the opening stanza, Megan Schwartz followed suit in this set as she served during the run and compiled two service aces. After hitting .314 in the first set, ETSU finished with a .083 attack percentage in the second as the Bucs recorded nine kills on 36 attempts along with six errors.
ETSU answered in the third as the Bucs didn’t record one attack error and hit .464 (13-0-28) en route to a 25-10 win. With the Blue and Gold leading 8-6 early on in the set, the Bucs broke things open with an 8-3 run and Lamar called a timeout when Devine’s kill put ETSU up, 16-9. The stoppage of play never ended the Bucs’ momentum as ETSU scored nine of the final 10 points to win the set by 15. Freshman Khadijah Wiley (Columbus, Ga.) played a big factor in the stanza as she had four of her six kills in the third set. In addition, the Bucs also didn’t allow the Cardinals to record a block, while ETSU finished with three.
However, the Blue and Gold couldn’t keep the positive energy flowing in the fourth as Lamar never trailed in the set and won, 25-15. A stretch of four straight errors (one service and three attack) following Rice’s kill to pull within one doomed the Bucs, as the Cardinals extended their lead to five, 10-5, forcing ETSU to burn a timeout. Coming out of the break, Wiley stopped the run with a kill, but the Bucs were never able to get any closer than the four-point deficit.
Whittaker led Lamar (8-6) with 16 kills, while also adding seven digs and four service aces. Cortney Moore also finished with 15 kills on 25 swings and only committed two attack errors.
ETSU vs. Alabama Recap
Alabama’s Laura Steiner recorded a match-high 12 kills, while Sierra Wilson added 31 assists as the Crimson Tide finished off the Bama Bash with a perfect mark by sweeping their way past ETSU, 3-0.
The Crimson Tide won the tournament after only dropping one set on the weekend and improved to 10-1 on the season.
Alabama won the first three points in the opening set and used a 6-2 run midway through the frame to take a 19-10 lead after an attack error by Megan Devine. The Bucs were never able to regroup as the Crimson Tide went on to take the set, 25-18.
The Bucs opened up the second set with a 5-4 lead, but with Alabama up 10-9, the Crimson Tide mounted a 7-2 spurt to take command of the stanza when one of Kayla Fitterer’s seven kills extended the margin to six, 17-11. Despite trailing by eight later in the set, ETSU cut its deficit in half when the Bucs won four consecutive points to make it a 23-19 game; however, Alabama won two of the final three points to earn the win, 25-20. Devine recorded five of her team-high 11 kills in the second set, while Kayla Williams added nine assists and four digs for the Blue and Gold.
Just like they did in the first set, the Crimson Tide again exploded out of the gates in the third by winning six of the first seven points. From there, the closest ETSU would get was three (10-7) – and despite trailing by four points on five other possessions – Alabama wrapped up the match on a 6-0 surge to pull off the sweep, 25-15.
The Bucs return to action on Tuesday night when ETSU hosts Western Carolina at 7 p.m. inside Brooks Gym.
For more information on Buccaneer volleyball, visit ETSUBucs.com.