ETSU to face Kentucky in first round of NCAA Tournament

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bucs, Wildcats square off Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Lexington  

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 25, 2012) – A week after celebrating its first-ever Atlantic Sun Tournament Championship, the ETSU volleyball team finally learned its opponent and destination for the 2012 NCAA Tournament on Sunday afternoon. Watching with their teammates, family, friends, and fans at One12 Downtown, the Bucs drew Kentucky in the first round of the single-elimination tournament.

The Bucs – who are making their first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament – will play the Wildcats on Friday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. inside Memorial Coliseum.

“First off, I want to thank everyone for coming out to today’s event and supporting us at One12 Downtown,” said head coach Lindsey Devine. “We are so honored to have the community, family, friends, student-athletes, and coaches be with us at this event. All year they have supported us inside Brooks Gym and I think they understand how special this group is.

“As far as the matchup goes, I’m very pleased with the pairing. I feel the selection committee valued our overall potential. It helps with the location being close so our fans can make the trip to Lexington, and as far as playing Kentucky, I think it’s a great opportunity for our program to play a team of their caliber in our first trip to the NCAA Tournament.”

ETSU (23-12) enters the tournament on a three-match winning streak after securing the A-Sun’s automatic bid in the field of 64 by defeating North Florida in a five-set thriller last Saturday, Nov. 17 in the conference championship inside Lipscomb’s Allen Arena. Overall, the Bucs have won seven of its last nine and 11 of its last 14 matches.

Meanwhile, Kentucky (20-10) received one of the top 16 seeds in the tournament as the Wildcats were penciled in at No. 16. The Wildcats finished third in the SEC East, and like the Bucs, have won their last three matches after sweeping Auburn and Missouri, while taking down Georgia in four. Kentucky – who has won 10 of its last 13 matches – was ranked as high as No. 10 in the AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll this season.

As a team, the Wildcats rank in the top-50 nationally in hitting percentage (33rd, .252), aces per set (44th, 1.42), and blocks per set (45th, 2.53). Individually, senior setter Christine Hartmann ranks 43rd in the country in assists per set (10.93) and junior middle blocker Alexandra Morgan’s .348 attack percentage ranks 65th nationally.

“Craig Skinner has done a fantastic job during his time at Kentucky and his teams are really well-coached,” added Devine. “They have dominate outside hitters and three talented senior leaders, and we know they are going to put up a fight – especially being on their home court.”

Friday will mark the second meeting all-time between the two schools as Kentucky swept the Bucs back on Sept. 17, 2004 in West Lafayette, Ind.

All session tickets will be on sale beginning Monday, Nov. 26, while single session tickets become available on Friday. Click here for additional ticket information.

First and second round competition of the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship will be held at 16 campus sites Nov. 29-30 or Nov. 30-Dec. 1. The winners will advance to four regional tournaments.

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