NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 13, 2014) – Last year was Tennessee. This year was Georgia Tech.
For a second straight year the ETSU volleyball team picked up a win over one the “power conferences” as the Bucs earned a clutch five-set win over the Yellow Jackets (17-25, 25-14, 25-23, 15-25, 15-10) on Saturday evening inside Allen Arena.
A night after seeing teammate Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) reach a personal milestone with her 1,000th career kill, fellow senior Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn.) followed suit in the win over Georgia Tech. Rutledge became just the fifth player in program history to record 3,000 career assists after registering 21 against the Yellow Jackets. For her career, Rutledge has 3,001 assists, which ranks fifth in the ETSU record book, while also becoming the first player to accomplish the feat since Carey Cavanaugh did so in 2001.
“I think any personal achievement a player gets says loads for their team,” said Rutledge. “I’m just honored to be part of a team that has hitters to put the ball away. A win like this is great for our confidence. We have been frustrated with our play at times this season and it’s great to get this win under our belt.”
Following the match, head coach Lindsey Devine talked about the win over Georgia Tech.
“Anytime we can get a win in these preseason tournaments is always important for our program,” said Devine. “I was extremely proud of how our team responded after a tough match against Lipscomb earlier in the day. In this match (against Georgia Tech), we were able to string things together and I thought we were good in many areas. We didn’t have to be great, we just had to be good. Being consistently good is something that has challenged us this season, but I am proud that we overcame some obstacles and found a way to win.”
As far as picking up another win against a power conference, coach Devine talked about what it means for the program.
“When you beat teams of this magnitude it helps build confidence in our team,” added Devine. “It also sends a message to our players that when we play hard, follow the game plan and stay the course, we are capable of competing against teams from this level.”
Seeing Rutledge reach the assists milestone in the win also meant a lot to the team.
“Jamie is a special player. Since stepping foot on campus she had to grow into the setter position and she has really embraced it,” Devine said. “To come away with the victory and hit this milestone is such a reward for Jamie. She’s all about the team and a great captain. Jamie is willing to do whatever she can to help this team. She did a solid job of keeping the team together tonight and was great in running our offense.”
GEORGIA TECH RECAP
Jamie Rutledge registered her 3,000th career assist, while Bethany Gesell (High Point, N.C.) and Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) both posted double-doubles as ETSU survived a thrilling five-set win over Georgia Tech to close out the Lipscomb Invitational on Saturday.
Rutledge finished with 21 assists, moving her career total to 3,001, while Gesell added 16 kills and 11 digs for her second career double-double. Joining Gesell was Rice’s 14-kill, 10-dig performance, resulting in her 16th career double-double. Fellow senior Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) also gave the Blue and Gold a strong effort as she tallied 10 kills, eight blocks and three digs.
Defensively, ETSU had four players finish with double-digit digs as senior libero Katie Muey (Alexandria, Ind.) led the charge with 12. Freshman Rylee Milhorn (Kingsport, Tenn.) just missed posting her first collegiate double-double after finishing with nine kills and 10 digs.
The stats were nearly identical for both teams as they finished with 58 kills each, but the Bucs had five fewer attack errors, 25-30, and out-blocked Georgia Tech, 12-10.
Despite getting off to a sluggish start and having the Yellow Jackets take the match to a pivotal fifth set, the Blue and Gold stayed strong and stuck to the game plan.
Inconsistent play doomed the Blue and Gold in the opening set as ETSU hit -.024 (11-12-41) and Georgia Tech came away with a 25-17 win. Briana Allmon (Flower Mound, Texas) – who finished with a career-high 13 kills against Lipscomb earlier in the day – gave the Bucs a spark early on as she accounted for ETSU’s first three points, but with the score knotted at seven, Georgia Tech went on an 8-2 run to take control of the set. ETSU inched within five late in the stanza, 22-17, but the Yellow Jackets won the final three points to claim the opener.
The Bucs came alive in the second as the Blue and Gold closed out the frame on an 18-5 run to pull even in the match, 25-14. The surge was sparked by 11 unanswered points, courtesy of the outstanding serving by Kristen Favre (Plano, Texas) and the powerful hitting from Gesell and Milhorn. The Buccaneer duo combined for five kills during the 11-0 blitzkrieg as Gesell had three and Milhorn smashed home a pair of her own. The game turned with Georgia Tech leading 9-7 and ETSU stepped up with its 11-0 run to dominate the set. The Bucs hit an astonishing .452 (17-3-31), while Gesell was 6-for-7 in her attack attempts and Milhorn connected on four of her seven swings.
ETSU carried over its momentum from intermission into the third set as the Bucs won 10 of the first 15 points, and despite falling behind by two late, the Blue and Gold rose to the challenge to pull out a 25-23 win. After the Bucs led 10-5, the Yellow Jackets used a 13-6 run to go ahead, 18-16; however, ETSU was prime for the comeback as kills by Milhorn and Hardy quickly tied the set at 18. The frame saw one more tie at 19-all, but Hardy pushed all the momentum to ETSU’s side with a kill and the Bucs never relinquished the lead.
The Blue and Gold were unable to sustain their run as Georgia Tech led wire-to-wire and forced the decisive fifth set with a 25-15 win in the fourth, but ETSU did an excellent job leaving that set aside and jumped out to a blazing start in the fifth. The Bucs won seven of the first 10 points, but Georgia Tech threw one last punch at the Blue and Gold by pulling within one, 10-9. Coach Devine used one of her two timeouts to settle down her squad and the mini break worked as ETSU closed out the match on a 5-1 run to finish off the victory. The Bucs hit .312 (8-3-16) and held Georgia Tech to a .053 (6-5-19) attack percentage in the fifth set.
Georgia Tech was led by Teegan Van Gunst as she finished with 22 kills and 13 digs, while twin sister Annika Van Gunst also provided the Yellow Jackets with a double-double in the setback. Annika ended with 12 kills and 14 digs.
With the loss, Georgia Tech moved to 4-5 on the campaign, while it marked ETSU’s third win against the Yellow Jackets and the first since defeating the ACC foe in four sets back in 1990. The Bucs improved to 4-6 following the win.
Lipscomb had two players register double-doubles and the Bisons pulled out a four-set win (14-25, 25-22, 22-25, 18-25) over ETSU on Saturday afternoon inside Allen Arena.
Kayla Ostrom finished with 54 assists and 14 digs and Lauren Ford added 21 kills and 11 digs to pace the Bisons in the win.
The Bucs were led by Briana Allmon’s career-high 13 kills, while Meredith Hardy hit .636 (7-0-11) and Bethany Gesell finished with 10 kills. Hardy also posted four digs and three blocks.
As a team, the Blue and Gold had no answer for Lipscomb’s offensive attack as the Bisons were plus-26 in kills, 68-42. Lipscomb hit .289 (68-22-159) compared to ETSU’s .185 (42-18-130) clip, while the Bisons were also plus-13 in digs, 64-51. Katie Muey led ETSU with 19.
Lipscomb never trailed in the first set and cruised to a 25-14 win. Both teams had 29 attack attempts in the opener, but the Bucs couldn’t slow down the Bisons offense. Lipscomb out-hit ETSU, .483-103, while the Purple and Gold were also plus-10 in kills, 18-8 and plus-7 in digs, 14-7.
The Bucs responded in the second as the Blue and Gold used strong blocking, combined with a pair of 4-0 runs, to capture a 25-22 victory. ETSU took its first lead of the match early in the frame when Hardy and Gesell combined for a block, giving the Bucs a 3-2 advantage. From there, play remained tight but with the score knotted at 13, ETSU mounted the first 4-0 run to go ahead, 17-13; however, Lipscomb answered with a 6-2 spurt to even things at 19. Fortunately, the Bucs kept their composure and rattled off four straight scores to go ahead, 23-19, and after the Bisons pulled within one, ETSU won the final two points to finish its three-point win. Overall, the teams combined for 12 ties and five lead changes in the second, while the Bucs totaled 4.5 blocks in the frame.
The third set was another nail-biter, but Lipscomb managed to win seven of the final 11 points and held on for a 25-22 win en route to taking a 2-1 lead in the match. The Bisons opened some breathing room early in the frame by using a 4-0 spurt to gain a 9-5 lead, but ETSU clawed its way back to tie things up at 16, following a service ace by Gesell. From there, the set saw one more tie at 18-all, but the Bucs were unable to pull ahead as Lipscomb used its final surge to pull out the victory.
The nip-and-tuck theme carried over into the fourth until Lipscomb rallied for a 25-18 win. With ETSU leading 15-14, the Bisons mounted an 11-3 run to finish off the Blue and Gold in four. Lipscomb jumped out of the gates in hurry as the Bisons won four of the first five points, but with ETSU trailing by three, the Bucs came out of a timeout on fire by winning four consecutive points to take their first lead of the stanza, 14-13. Unfortunately, the Blue and Gold were unable to build off the surge and Lipscomb capitalized with its final run of the match.
Lipscomb improved to 6-3 following the win and the Bisons close out their tournament Saturday night against Utah.
The Bucs head back to the Music City on Tuesday night as ETSU takes on Tennessee State at 7 p.m. EDT inside Kean Hall.
ETSU fans wanting to receive Buccaneer news, score updates, in-game promotions and much more sent to their mobile device can do so by signing up for “Buc Updates.” Click here to sign up today!
Click here to purchase 2014 ETSU volleyball season tickets or call 423-439-3878.
For more information on Buccaneer volleyball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the volleyball page.