NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 11, 2014) – The ETSU volleyball team continues its road trek this weekend as the Bucs head to the Music City for the Lipscomb Invitational.
The Blue Gold, who split their four matches last weekend at George Mason, open this weekend’s tournament on Friday against Utah at 5 p.m. EDT. On Saturday, ETSU faces host Lipscomb at 1:30 p.m. and Georgia Tech at 5 p.m. All three matches will be played inside Allen Arena.
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE BUCS
ETSU (3-4) picked up a pair of sweeps over George Mason and Lehigh, while dropping a five-set heartbreaker to William and Mary and four-setter to Maryland last weekend at the Patriot Invitational.
Seniors Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Katie Muey (Alexandria, Ind.) received tournament honors. Hardy was named “Best Blocker” and Muey was tabbed “Best Libero.”
Hardy averaged 1.60 blocks per set after totaling 24 total blocks on the weekend. The Buccaneer senior middle blocker broke ETSU’s total blocks and block assists records for a three-set match in the win over George Mason. Hardy finished with 11 block assists and tied her career-high with 12 total blocks. Overall, Hardy – who has recorded at least one block in 100 straight matches – has totaled 510 career blocks and needs only 28 more to break the ETSU all-time record.
Muey also enjoyed a record-setting weekend as she posted 93 digs, while also breaking the ETSU record for digs in a three-set match after tallying a career-high 33 in the win over Lehigh. The 33 digs broke her previous career mark of 31, which was set in the setback to William and Mary the day prior.
As a team, the Blue and Gold held their opponents to a .120 attack percentage, while ETSU averaged 17.7 digs and 2.70 digs per set for the tournament.
ABOUT THE OPPONENTS
Utah has won its first six matches of the year as the Utes won the Utah Classic to open the first weekend of play, while also earning three-set wins over Cal Poly, at Saint Mary’s and most recently against Utah Valley on Tuesday night.
Five of Utah’s six wins have come in three sets, with the Utes’ other victory being a five-set win over Missouri State.
As a team, Utah ranks in the top-50 nationally in blocks per set (19th, 2.91), kills per set (22nd, 14.41), hitting percentage (42nd, .268) and assists per set (47th, 12.94). The Utes are also holding their opponents to a .124 attack percentage, which leads the Pac-12.
Senior outside hitter Chelsey Schofield leads the Utes with 68 total kills, while Utah has three players with 50-plus assists – Kalee Kirby (98), Kendall Cygan (68) and Jessie Jorgensen (58).
Utah was picked to finish 10th in the Pac-12 Preseason Coaches Poll.
The Bisons have won five of their first seven matches to start the year, but Lipscomb was swept by Western Kentucky Tuesday night in Nashville. On Monday, the Bisons received 35 votes in the American Volleyball Association (AVCA) Top 25 poll.
Senior outside hitter Lauren Ford and junior defensive specialist Bri McCombs were named A-Sun Player and Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. Ford received Player of the Week honors after averaging 5.00 kills per set in three wins at the Tiger Invitational in Missouri, while McCombs total 56 digs in the three matches for Lipscomb.
As a team, Lipscomb leads the A-Sun in kills per set (13.39) and assists per set (12.61).
Lipscomb was picked to win the A-Sun, while Jewell Dobson was tabbed Player of the Year and McCombs was selected Defensive Player of the Year. Dobson suffered a season-ending injury in Lipscomb’s match at Missouri last weekend.
Georgia Tech has split its first six matches on the young season and the Yellow Jackets are coming off a sweep over Texas Southern last weekend in Dallas.
The Yellow Jackets are averaging 2.79 blocks per set, which ranks 23rd nationally, while Georgia Tech is out-hitting its opponents, .241 to .185.
Sophomore outside hitter Teegan Van Gunst was named to the Gamecock All-Tournament Team in the opening weekend. Van Gunst is the team leader in kills (60) and is tied for second in digs (47).
This marks the first season for head coach Michelle Collier at Georgia Tech.
Live stats will be available for all three matches, while Saturday’s game against Lipscomb will be streamed live on ASun.TV.
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Meredith Hardy enters the weekend needing three kills to reach the 1,000-kill club … Hardy is also 28 blocks shy of breaking the all-time ETSU blocks record … the Buccaneer middle blocker enters the weekend with 510 blocks.
Senior setter Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn.) is 68 assists shy of recording career No. 3,000. Rutledge is looking to become only the fifth Buccaneer to reach the 3,000-assist club and the first since Carey Cavanaugh (1999-2001) to reach the milestone.
Meredith Hardy has recorded at least one block in 100 straight matches, while Khadijah Wiley (Columbus, Ga.) has accomplished the feat in 38 straight matches.
As a team, ETSU ranks 19th nationally in total blocks (67) and 36th in total digs (411). Individually, Katie Muey ranks sixth in the NCAA in total digs (147) and Meredith Hardy is 11th in total blocks (36).
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