JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 3, 2012) – Senior setter Kayla Williams (El Paso, Texas) finished with a game high 25 assists to go along with four digs and two blocks, and the ETSU volleyball team swept by Stetson (25-17, 25-20, 25-22) on Saturday afternoon inside Brooks Gym.
Williams, who was honored pregame with a special Senior Day recognition, helped guide the Blue and Gold to their third straight win as ETSU improved to 19-10, 10-5 in A-Sun play.
The Blue and Gold used everyone in their lineup to generate their ninth victory in the last 12 matches, while three Buccaneer players tallied double figures in kills. Junior Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) joined the prestigious 1,000-kill/1,000-dig club after coming away with her 1,000th career dig early on in the first set. The Atlantic Sun Preseason Player of the Year selection registered her seventh straight double-double after totaling 14 kills, 11 digs, and four blocks to go with a .414 attack percentage. Meanwhile, sophomore Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) posted 13 kills and eight blocks – moving her streak of recording at least one block to 55 straight games. For the third straight outing sophomore Bethany Gesell (High Point, N.C.) provided the Blue and Gold with an 11-kill performance, while also hitting .316 for the match. Overall, Gesell has compiled double figures in kills in nine of her last 11 matches.
As a team, the Bucs hit .310 (47-16-100) and registered double figures in blocks for the 17th time this year after out-blocking the Hatters by four, 10-6. ETSU also won the margin in digs by nine, 39-30, as Katie Muey (Alexandria, Ind.) added 10.
A day after handing Florida Gulf Coast its first conference loss of the season, the Bucs carried their positive energy into today’s match with Stetson. ETSU opened the first set on a 10-4 run, which forced the Hatters to burn their first timeout after Gesell slammed home the first of three kills in the frame. From there, Stetson pulled within one, 16-15, but the Bucs won nine of the final 11 points of the stanza to walk away with an eight-point victory, 25-17. Gesell, Hardy, and Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) contributed for 10 of ETSU’s 13 kills in the set as Hardy added four and Rice followed with three. The Blue and Gold defense limited Stetson to a .079 attack percentage (10-7-38), compared to the Bucs hitting .250 (13-4-36) in the opener.
Stetson began the second set by taking five of the first seven points, but after the Hatters were forced to call a timeout when Devine’s kill evened the match at six, ETSU recaptured the momentum from that point forward. With play knotted at eight, freshman Khadijah Wiley (Columbus, Ga.) put the Bucs ahead for good on one of her four kills in the match and ETSU’s lead eventually rose to four, 21-17. However, after the Hatters used their final timeout of the set, Stetson fought back to get within one, 21-20, but ETSU regrouped and won the final four points to take a commanding lead in the match. Four Buccaneers tallied three or more kills in the second, with Gesell and Hardy pacing the offense with five each. Devine (four) and Wiley (three) were the other two players to join the group.
The third and final set was the closest of the afternoon as the teams combined for 12 ties and six lead changes, but despite trailing 14-10 midway through, ETSU finished the match out on a 15-8 run to capture the game and pick up the win, 25-22. The Bucs used a 7-3 spurt to pull even at 17-all – and after falling behind 21-19 – ETSU received consecutive kills from Devine to tie the match one last time at 21. From there, the Blue and Gold weren’t ready let Stetson spoil their special day as the Bucs won four of the final five points to earn the victory. After having Williams play the first two sets at setter, sophomore Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn.) entered the third and tallied 14 of the 16 assists in the final frame. The Hatters had no answer for the power from Devine as she was just about perfect – totaling nine kills on 10 swings in the stanza.
For the match, Stetson didn’t have anyone record more than eight kills and seven digs, while Kelli Carneal dished out 18 of the team’s 30 assists. With the setback, the Hatters fell to 4-29, 0-16.
The Bucs play their final home game of the season on Tuesday night when ETSU faces Kennesaw State at 7 p.m. inside Brooks Gym.
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