FT. MYERS, Fla. (Sept. 27, 2012) – The ETSU volleyball team embarks on a two-game conference road swing this weekend as the Bucs take on Florida Gulf Coast and Stetson in the Sunshine State. ETSU and FGCU play Friday night at 6 p.m. inside Alico Arena, while the Bucs face Stetson Saturday at 3 p.m. in the Edmunds Center.
The Bucs (10-6, 1-1 A-Sun) return to action after sweeping USC Upstate (25-20, 25-23, 25-15) last Friday in Brooks Gym. Sophomore Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) totaled a season-high 16 kills and 12 digs, marking her third double-double of the year, while junior Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) registered her ninth double-double of the season. Devine compiled 15 kills and tied a career best with 19 digs in the three-set win over the Spartans.
As a team, ETSU used a new look to get back on track after dropping its conference opener at Mercer, as the Bucs moved sophomore Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn.) from setter to libero. Rutledge finished with 12 digs, an assist, and one service ace, while the Blue and Gold set season highs with 46 kills, 40 assists, and 58 digs in a three-set match.
Florida Gulf Coast (7-7, 3-0) is coming off sweep over North Florida (25-19, 25-15, 25-17) on Tuesday night in Ft. Myers. Five different Eagle players finished with at least five kills, whereas, Gigi Meyer added 21 assists and Courtney Greenberg tallied 14.
After dropping five straight matches from Sept. 1 through Sept. 18, the Eagles have rallied by winning three consecutive matches to open the A-Sun season. FGCU ranks second behind the Bucs in blocks per set (2.03), while the Eagles are holding the opposition to a .109 attack percentage in their three conference matches.
Since joining the league in 2007, FGCU has won six of the seven meetings over ETSU, with the Bucs’ lone win coming in a sweep against the Eagles in 2010. Last year at FGCU, Devine recorded a career-high 26 kills, while Rutledge and Kayla Williams (El Paso, Texas) combined for 56 of the 60 assists. Rutledge posted 31 assists and Williams generated 26.
Meanwhile, Stetson has lost eight straight matches since knocking off Norfolk State back on Sept. 7 and enters Friday’s game with USC Upstate at 3-16, 0-3.
The Hatters opened the conference season with losses at Mercer and Kennesaw State, while most recently being swept by Jacksonville on Tuesday night in DeLand. As a team, Stetson is averaging 1.68 blocks per set, which ranks third in the A-Sun, and senior Monique Russell ranks fourth with 4.50 digs per set.
Saturday marks the 12th meeting between ETSU and Stetson, with the Blue and Gold taking the previous 11 meetings. Devine and Rutledge both recorded double-doubles in the 3-1 win over the Hatters last year in Florida. Rutledge finished with 46 assists, 14 digs, and seven kills, while Devine added 15 kills and 16 digs.
Fans unable to make the trip can follow live stats for both matches on FGCUAthletics.com and GoHatters.com, while live video for the Stetson match will be available for free on A-Sun.TV.
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