KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 13, 2013) – After playing without Atlantic Sun Player of the Year Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) in their 3-0 setback to Wichita State earlier in the day, the ETSU volleyball team bounced back into the win column by taking down in-state rival Austin Peay, 3-1, later Friday afternoon at the Comcast Lady Vol Classic inside Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena.
Devine, who had played in 108 consecutive matches prior to missing the Wichita State game, returned to the court to record 18 kills, nine digs and a .382 attack percentage in the win over the Lady Govs. Today was just the second match Devine has missed in her collegiate career – the first coming back on Aug. 28, 2010 at Wake Forest.
Following the victory, the Blue and Gold snapped a two-game skid and moved their record to 5-6 after 11 matches played this season.
Austin Peay Recap
Junior Bethany Gesell (High Point, N.C.) finished with a career-high 19 kills and fellow junior Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) posted her first double-double (17 kills/10 digs) of the season, lifting the ETSU volleyball team to a four-set win (25-27, 25-12, 25-20, 25-22) over Austin Peay on Friday afternoon.
Gesell, who hit a season-best .552, bested her previous career high in kills by four, while the Blue and Gold registered their highest attack percentage of the year – recording a .407 clip (74-19-135). Overall, the 74 kills marked a season best for the Bucs, along with being the most put up by an A-Sun team in 2013. In addition, the .407 attack percentage is also the best mark by a conference team in a four-set match this season.
After dropping a tightly contested opening set, which saw the teams combine for 12 ties and four lead changes, ETSU regrouped and took care of business in the final three frames of the match.
With the clubs trading points early on in the second, the Blue and Gold took their game to a higher level by turning a one-point deficit (8-7) into an eight-point advantage, 16-8, courtesy of a 9-0 run. Five different players accounted for points in the surge, while the Bucs moved their lead into double-digits when back-to-backs kills by Devine made it a 20-10 contest. From there, ETSU won five of the final seven points to even the match at one, 25-12. As a team, the Bucs hit .393 in the frame, while Devine (4-0-5) and sophomore Khadijah Wiley (Columbus, Ga.) combined for a blistering .875 (7-0-8) attack percentage.
In the third set, the Blue and Gold scored the first point of the frame and never trailed en route to defeating Austin Peay by five, 25-20. Strong serving by Devine and junior Katie Muey (Alexandria, Ind.) lifted the Bucs to an 8-2 lead early on, and ETSU eventually built an eight-point advantage, 18-10, when Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn.) found Rice for one of her four kills in the set. Despite the Lady Govs pulling within four points late, Gesell ended the stanza with a pair kills to give the Blue and Gold momentum in the match. The Bucs hit an impressive .500 (20-3-34) in the third, while Gesell was 6-for-8 in attack attempts with zero errors.
Austin Peay (2-9) looked to have gained momentum midway through the fourth set, but with the Lady Govs leading by five (11-6), ETSU mounted a 12-6 run to regain a one-point advantage, 18-17, on one of a career-high four service aces by Muey. Following two more ties (18 and 20), the Bucs put the finishing touches on the match by closing the frame out on a 5-2 spurt to take the set, 25-22. Rice, Gesell and Devine were efficient in ETSU’s offensive attack as they accounted for 16 of the 21 kills in the stanza. Devine and Rice both tallied five, while Gesell added six kills on eight attempts for the second straight set.
Rutledge quarterbacked the offense as she recorded a season-high 59 assists, along with adding eight digs and four blocks. To go with her four service aces, Muey led the way defensively with a match-high 18 digs.
In the end, the Bucs held a plus-31 advantage in kills, 74 to 43, and a plus-17 margin in digs, 56-39.
Wichita State Recap
Wichita State registered a .427 (39-7-75) attack percentage, while Ashlyn Driskill recorded a match-high 10 kills and the Shockers swept past ETSU (10-25, 24-26, 13-25) on Friday morning at the Comcast Lady Vol Classic.
Along with her 10 kills, Driskill hit .471 (10-2-17) and Ashley Andrade posted a match-best .615 (9-1-13) clip en route to Wichita State (6-1) tallying its fourth sweep on the season.
The Bucs were led by junior Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) as she finished with nine kills (.389 attack percentage) and two blocks, and Ivey Rice added eight kills and had ETSU’s two service aces in the match.
Wichita State led wire-to-wire in the first set and cruised to a 25-10 victory. The Shockers won four of the first five points and despite the Blue and Gold narrowing the gap to two (11-9) after a kill from Hardy, Wichita State closed out the frame on a 14-1 surge to take the opener.
Once again, the Shockers stormed out of the gates in the second as Wichita State won the first seven points and continued to lead by seven later in the stanza as a kill from Andrade made it a 17-10 score. However, the Bucs settled in used a 14-5 run to jump ahead, 24-22. Unfortunately, after serving for set point, ETSU couldn’t post the final out as Wichita State responded by winning the final four points to go up 2-0 in the match.
Just like the first two sets, ETSU found itself down early and the Blue and Gold couldn’t dig out of the hole as the Shockers capped off the match with a 12-point set win, 25-13. Wichita State opened up to a 4-1 lead, but the Bucs answered with a 7-2 spurt to go ahead, 8-6, when Jamie Rutledge found Hardy for a kill. From there, Rice suffered a service error, which led to the Shockers rattling off 10 consecutive scores to retake a 16-8 advantage. ETSU never had an answer for the run and Wichita State eventually saw its lead balloon to double digits.
As a team, the Bucs committed 11 unforced errors (six ball handling and five service errors), while ETSU registered a .126 (30-19-87) attack percentage.
The Bucs wrap up the Comcast Lady Vol Classic Saturday afternoon when ETSU takes on host Tennessee at 12:30 p.m., inside Thompson-Boling Arena.
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