LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 5, 2013) – Coming off a sweep over Furman at home on Tuesday, the ETSU volleyball team look to continue its winning ways as the Blue and Gold gear up for the Kentucky Classic this weekend in Lexington.
The Bucs (2-2) open up the tournament on Friday against two-time defending Big South champion Liberty at 5 p.m. On Saturday ETSU takes on VCU at 1 p.m., before wrapping up play with a rematch of last year’s NCAA first round opponent and tournament host No. 21 Kentucky at 7 p.m., inside Memorial Coliseum.
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE BUCS
- ETSU picked up its second straight win after sweeping Furman (25-21, 25-15, 26-24) in its home opener Tuesday night inside Brooks Gym.
- Junior middle blocker Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) set a program record with seven solo blocks in a three-set match, while also posting a match-high .583 (8-1-12) attack percentage.
- Senior outside hitter Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) played in her 104th straight match and registered her third double-double of the year. The ETSU all-time leader in kills finished with 16 kills and 17 digs.
- As a team, the Blue and Gold out blocked the Paladins, 12-6, along with holding a plus-15 margin in digs (51-36).
ABOUT THE OPPONENTS
- The Flames are coming off a four-set win over Georgetown Tuesday night in Lynchburg, Va. Liberty opened the season last weekend at the NIU Invitational and were swept in all three matches by then-No. 23 Ohio State, Northern Illinois, and Green Bay.
- Liberty went 25-8 last season, going 12-2 in conference play and winning the Big South regular season title for the sixth straight year. The Flames made their sixth consecutive appearance in the conference final, downing Coastal Carolina to win its second Big South tournament title in a row and fourth in the last six seasons. The team has also posted six straight 20-win campaigns.
- The Flames return five starters from last year's team, including Big South Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year Caroline Douglas, three-time all-conference setter Jade Craycraft and two-time All-Big South outside hitter Lillie Happel.
- VCU picked up three wins last weekend at the IUPUI Hampton Inn Invitational as the Rams defeated Florida Gulf Coast (3-0), IUPUI (3-2) and Illinois State (3-1).
- Junior Cecilia Aragao was named the Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Week after recording double-doubles in all three wins last weekend in Indianapolis. For the tournament, Aragao averaged 9.08 assists, 3.00 digs, and 1.67 blocks per set.
- The Rams were picked fourth in the A-10 Preseason Coaches’ Poll, while seven players return from last season’s 25-win team.
- VCU is under the direction of first-year head coach Jody Rogers.
- The Wildcats dropped two of their three matches last weekend at the Long Beach State Tournament. Kentucky, who was ranked 17th in the preseason, was swept by then-No. 18 Florida State and suffered a tough five-set loss to Illinois. The Wildcats picked up their first win by sweeping Long Beach State on Sunday.
- Kentucky returns 10 letterwinners with five starters from a Sweet 16 team a season ago. Among the returning players is two-time All-America selection and preseason All-SEC team pick Whitney Billings.
- UK was selected to finish second in the Southeastern Conference, as selected by the league coaches in a preseason poll. Additionally, Billings was named to the nine-member Preseason All-SEC Team.
ETSU VS. THE TOURNAMENT FIELD
- The Bucs are 4-3 all-time against Liberty, 0-1 vs. VCU and winless in two stints against Kentucky.
- ETSU and Liberty last played in 2009 when the Flames swept the Bucs at the Liberty Invitational, while the Blue and Gold suffered a five-set loss to VCU in their only meeting back in 2005. Prior to last year’s meeting in the NCAA Tournament, ETSU and Kentucky last squared off in 2004. The Wildcats swept the Bucs in both matches.
- Live stats will be provided for all three matches on Gametracker, courtesy of Kentucky Athletics.
- ETSU’s match vs. Kentucky on Saturday night will also be video streamed through UKAthletics.com.
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