JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 8, 2012) – After opening the conference season with a 3-0 loss at Mercer last month, the ETSU volleyball team looks to get revenge when Bears make a visit to Brooks Gym on Tuesday night. Game time is set for 6 p.m.
The Bucs (12-8, 3-3 A-Sun) opened their five-game homestand with a split over the weekend as ETSU defeated Northern Kentucky Friday night in five (26-28, 25-21, 26-24, 21-25, 15-13), while the Blue and Gold suffered their first home loss of the year Saturday against Lipscomb. ETSU won the first set 25-17, but the Lady Bisons captured the come-from-behind with by taking the next three sets (25-27, 23-25, 16-25).
Junior Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) and sophomore Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn.) recorded double-doubles in both matches, while freshman Khadijah Wiley (Columbus, Ga.) broke the ETSU single-game attack percentage mark (with at least 20 attempts) versus the Norse. Wiley hit an impressive .696 (18-1-23) against Northern Kentucky and she also added eight kills and six blocks over Lipscomb. Meanwhile, Devine totaled 32 kills and 38 digs and Rutledge compiled 102 assists and 21 digs in the pair of matches. Devine registered a career high 22 digs in the win Friday night, while Rutledge also finished with a career-best 64 assists.
As a team, the Bucs set season highs in kills (75), digs (73), and assists (70) in the Northern Kentucky match. The 73 digs were the most by the Bucs since posting 89 versus Wofford last October, while the most kills since finishing with 77 against UNC Asheville back on Sept. 19, 2007. Furthermore, the last time ETSU had 70-plus assists was at Stetson (77) on Oct. 12, 2007.
Like the Bucs, Mercer (7-10, 3-4 A-Sun) is coming off a split over the weekend as the Bears beat North Florida in five (25-22, 24-26, 19-25, 25-19, 15-12), while falling to Jacksonville, 3-2 (25-17, 23-25, 20-25, 25-18, 8-15).
The Bears are led freshman Molly Locke as she is averaging 3.34 kills and 3.49 digs per set. Locke ranks sixth in the conference in kills and 10th in digs. As a team, Mercer leads the A-Sun in digs per set (18.54) and ranks third in opponents hitting percentage (.180).
Despite the setback last month, ETSU has still won four of the last six matches over the Bears and lead the all-time series, 7-5. Last year in Brooks Gym, the Bucs rallied from a set down to defeat Mercer, 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-15), as Devine, Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) and Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) all registered double digits in kills. Devine finished with a double-double (14 kills/12 digs), while Hardy (13 kills) and Rice (10 kills) accounted for 23 of ETSU’s 58 kills in the match. Last month, Mercer hit .270 (46-16-111), compared to ETSU’s .141 (31-17-99) clip, while the Bears also had seven of the eight service aces.
Tuesday is “Book the Bears” night, so fans who bring a new or gently used children’s book will receive admission for a Buc ($1). The books will be donated to ETSU’s Reach Out and Read Program.
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For more information on Buccaneer volleyball, visit ETSUBucs.com.