CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 29, 2014) – The ETSU volleyball team was unable to make it a clean sweep on day one of the Charlotte Invitational.
After opening the season with a win over Morgan State in straight sets earlier Friday morning, the Bucs couldn’t keep their positive momentum going later in the day as Sacramento State defeated the Blue and Gold, 3-1 (10-25, 21-25, 25-21, 13-25), inside Halton Arena.
Miscues and Sacramento State’s defense haunted ETSU (1-1) from the get-go. The Bucs committed 27 attack errors, six service errors, three blocking errors and one ball handling error for the match. In the end, the Bucs only hit .075 (39-27-160), while Sacramento State’s back line caused fits for the Blue and Gold. The Hornets finished the match plus-23 in digs, 81-58, as Sacramento State (1-1) had four players reach double figures in the statistical category.
The Bucs were led by junior Khadijah Wiley (Columbus, Ga.) as she recorded 12 kills and five blocks, while senior Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) pitched in with 10 kills, six digs and three blocks. Fellow senior Katie Muey (Alexandria, Ind.) finished with a career-high 24 digs.
Sacramento State got off to a fast start as they never trailed in the opening set and pulled away, 25-10. The Bucs couldn’t get anything going offensively as the Blue and Gold hit -.088 (6-9-34) in the opener, compared to the Hornets’ .259 clip (9-2-27).
In the second, ETSU fell behind early as the Hornets won the first four points of the frame, but the Bucs finally grabbed their first lead of the match when Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn.) found Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) for a kill, making it a 9-8 score. Again, ETSU was clinging to a one-point lead later in the match, 18-17, but Sacramento State used an 8-3 run to win its second straight set, 25-21.
The third set went back-and-forth as the teams combined for nine ties and four lead changes, but with the Bucs trailing 15-13 midway through, ETSU stepped up and closed out play on a 12-6 run to take the frame, 25-21. The surge was ignited by consecutive kills from sophomore Briana Allmon (Flower Mound, Texas) and Wiley provided two key kills late in the set to secure the four-point win.
Unfortunately, the Bucs were unable to build off their third-set win as the Hornets led wire-to-wire in the fourth and closed out the match with a convincing 25-13 win.
Kennedy Kurtz and Morgan Stanley finished with double-doubles for Sacramento State. Kurtz finished with 42 assists and 17 digs, while Stanley added 13 kills and 13 digs. Sloan Lovett tied a match high with 13 kills and Lexie Skalbeck led the Hornets with 20 digs.
The Bucs wrap up play at the Charlotte Invitational on Saturday as ETSU takes on the host 49ers at noon inside Halton Arena.
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