JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 12, 2012) – The ETSU volleyball team cruised past Jacksonville on Friday night as the Bucs swept the Dolphins (25-20, 25-19, 25-23) inside Brooks Gym.
The Buccaneer defense held Jacksonville to a .144 hitting percentage, while forcing the Dolphins into 23 attack errors. Meanwhile, the Blue and Gold hit .269 (39-14-93) for the match and were led by sophomore Bethany Gesell’s (High Point, N.C.) 12 kills. Fellow sophomore Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) hit a career high .692 (9-0-13) and she also extended her streak of recording at least one block to 48 straight games after registering four on Friday night.
With the win, ETSU has now won three of its four games during this five-game homestand and improved to 14-8, 5-3. Jacksonville moved its mark to 4-17, 2-6.
ETSU used a strong, well-balanced attack to walk away with a five-point win in the opening set, 25-20. The Blue and Gold hit .414 (16-4-29), while five different players recorded kills. Gesell was on fire in the frame as she was nearly flawless by recording six kills on seven swings, while Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) added four kills on seven attempts. The Bucs raced out to a 7-4 start – and after Jacksonville grabbed a one point lead (9-8) – ETSU took the lead for good thanks to an 8-2 run to go ahead, 16-11, following a block assist by Devine and Khadijah Wiley (Columbus, Ga.). From there, the Dolphins pulled to within four, 19-15, but another Blue and Gold run (5-1) silenced the Dolphins as the Bucs eased their way to the first set win.
Once again the Bucs jumped out to a fast start in the second, as ETSU won nine of the first 12 points and never trailed en route to capturing a 25-19 victory to grab a 2-0 lead in the match. The Bucs did an excellent job disrupting the Jacksonville offense as ETSU limited the Dolphins to .107 attack percentage (10-7-28), while the Blue and Gold used pin-point serving to build a comfortable cushion in the match. ETSU recorded four of its seven service aces in the stanza as four different players recorded an ace, while Hardy provided the lift with impressive hitting. The Kingsport, Tenn. native was a perfect 4-for-4 on her attempts and Gesell added five kills on nine swings with only one error. After taking a 9-3 lead early on, Jacksonville cut the deficit to three, 12-9, but Bucs answered with a 6-3 run and led 18-12 following an ace by Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.). ETSU pushed its lead up to seven twice later on and came away with the six-point win.
The third set was the tightest of the night, but after eight ties and eight lead changes, the Bucs rallied from five-point deficit to pull out the sweep. ETSU looked to be in control early after taking a 5-2 lead, but the Dolphins responded with 6-2 spurt to pull ahead, 8-7. From there, play remained close until Jacksonville used a 7-2 run to take its largest advantage of the night, 19-14. However, the Blue and Gold didn’t back down as the Bucs won four straight points to make it a one-point game, which put the pressure on the Dolphins. Despite holding a 23-20 advantage, the Dolphins couldn’t hold on as the Bucs closed out the match with five unanswered points, courtesy of three Jacksonville errors and two kills from Devine.
Overall, Devine finished with 10 kills, six digs, and three blocks, while Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn.) added 38 assists and a career-best three service aces.
Jacksonville was led by Gabriela Roman’s 13-kill effort, while Kendall Courtney provided 35 of the 37 assists.
The Bucs wrap up their season-long five-game homestand Saturday afternoon when ETSU hosts North Florida. First serve is set for 3 p.m. inside Brooks Gym. Saturday is also “Can the Ospreys Day,” so fans who bring a canned food item to the game receive admission for only a Buc ($1). The food will be donated to Bucky’s Food Pantry.
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For more information on Buccaneer volleyball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the volleyball page.