KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct. 16, 2012) – Junior Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) registered her conference-leading 15th double-double of the season and sophomore Bethany Gesell (High Point, N.C.) recorded a career high in kills, as the ETSU volleyball team cruised to its fourth straight win by sweeping Kennesaw State (25-19, 25-22, 25-22) on Tuesday night inside the KSU Convocation Center.
Devine – who moved her career double-doubles total to 42 – finished with a match high 16 kills and 17 digs, while Gesell has now posted double figure kills in four straight matches after ending with 15 and a .355 hitting percentage. Meanwhile, Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn.) quarterbacked the Buccaneer offense as the sophomore setter tallied 46 assists. As a team, ETSU hit .405 (18-3-37) in the third set en route finishing the match with a .286 clip (49-19-105), compared to Kennesaw State’s .129 showing (29-17-93). The Bucs also tallied six service aces with Devine leading the charge at four, tying her career best.
With the win, ETSU extended its winning streak to four straight and improved to 16-8, 7-3, while Kennesaw State suffered its third straight setback and moved to 15-10, 4-6. In addition, the Blue and Gold have won six of seven and eight of their last 11 matches.
After Kennesaw State won the first point of the match, Devine’s strong serving strung together six unanswered points for the Blue and Gold, forcing the Owls to burn a timeout with ETSU ahead, 6-1. However, with the Bucs leading 10-5, Kennesaw State responded with five straight points to pull even at 10, but ETSU quickly cooled off the Black and Gold with a 3-0 spurt to regain a 13-10 advantage in the opening set. From there, the Bucs never saw their lead dip below two, and with ETSU holding onto a 21-19 lead, the Blue and Gold closed out the set on a 4-0 surge to claim the 25-19 victory. Devine and Gesell powered ETSU offensively as the dominate duo combined for 12 of the team’s 14 kills, along with a .579 attack percentage. Gesell posted five kills on nine swings, while Devine was 7-of-10 with one error and tallied two service aces.
The second set was a game of runs but when the final point was won, ETSU was left celebrating with a 25-22 victory. The Owls opened the stanza by winning five of the first seven points, but the Bucs fired back with five consecutive scores of their own to go up 7-5, following Katie Muey’s (Alexandria, Ind.) service ace. Kennesaw State bounced back by taking four of the next five to lead, 9-8, but again the Blue and Gold used another run (5-1) to regain a 13-10 advantage, forcing the Owls to use a timeout when Devine and Khadijah Wiley (Columbus, Ga.) combined for a block. The runs continued to mount as Kennesaw State used an 8-2 spurt to jump back ahead, 18-15, forcing ETSU to call a timeout after Wiley was charged with an attack error. The 75-second stoppage of play worked for the Blue and Gold as the Bucs closed the set out on a monstrous 10-4 surge to go up 2-0 in the match. Four ETSU players generated three or more kills in the set, with Gesell pacing the group at six. The Bucs never let the Owls get into any offensive rhythm as Kennesaw State hit -.032 (5-6-31), while the Blue and Gold dominated in every facet statistically. Overall, ETSU was plus-12 in kills (17-5), plus-11 in assists (16-5), and plus-6 in digs (17-11).
In the third, the teams combined for seven ties and four lead changes, but ETSU put the exclamation point on the game when Gesell’s 15th kill capped off the Bucs’ second sweep in the last three matches. The Blue and Gold won the opening three points and five of the first seven; however the Owls charged back to take a 12-10 lead on Emily Bean’s kill. Fortunately, ETSU stormed ahead, 20-15, courtesy of a 10-3 run and eventually led 22-16 when Rutledge capitalized on one of her two kills on the night. Following an Owl timeout, Kennesaw State came out of the break with some energy as they clipped its deficit to two, 23-21, but after ETSU recharged with a timeout, the Bucs won two of the final three points for the win. Devine (five) and Gesell (four) accounted for half of ETSU’s 18 kills in the stanza, while Devine and Kayla Williams (El Paso, Texas) registered the service aces. Devine totaled two in the third and Williams added one.
Kennesaw State didn’t have one player finish with double figures in kills as Turea Jones and Baylee Strachan each had eight, while Preseason Libero of the Year selection, Camille Pedraza, was held to only 10 digs.
The Bucs return to action on Friday night when ETSU travels to Spartanburg, S.C. for an Atlantic Sun match at USC Upstate. Game time is set for 7 p.m. inside the G.B. Hodge Center.
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