RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 19, 2014) – The ETSU volleyball team suffered a pair of setbacks on day one of the VCU Invitational on Friday.
The Bucs began the day with a four-set loss to Ball State (25-12, 26-28, 14-25, 15-25) and was swept by tournament host VCU (21-25, 12-25, 18-25) in the nightcap inside the Siegel Center.
Following the pair of losses, ETSU’s record dipped to 4-9 on the season.
BALL STATE RECAP
Despite starting strong and winning the opening set in dominate fashion, the ETSU volleyball team was unable to sustain the course as Ball State rallied for a four-set win.
The Bucs finished with a season-high .264 attack percentage (48-15-125), but just like they were haunted by inconsistent serving Tuesday night at Tennessee State, unforced errors continued to be the storyline in ETSU’s setback Friday afternoon.
As a team, the Blue and Gold totaled 15 unforced errors (nine service and six ball handling errors), while also allowing the Cardinals to post five service aces.
Senior Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) totaled a team-high 11 kills, while junior Khadijah Wiley (Columbus, Ga.) hit .438 (9-2-16) and added seven blocks.
The Bucs got off to a fast start and finished with a flurry of points as ETSU won the opening set, 25-12. The Blue and Gold won the five of the first six points, and after Ball State pulled within three, 15-12, ETSU rattled off 10 unanswered scores to claim the 13-point win. As a team, the Bucs hit .440 (14-3-25) in the first set, while Bethany Gesell (High Point, N.C.), Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Wiley were a perfect 5-for-5 in their attempts. Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) led the Blue and Gold with four kills in the opener, while Gesell posted three.
Following a seesaw battle in set two, the Bucs were unable to take a 2-0 lead in the match as Ball State evened things up with a 28-26 win. After playing from behind the majority of the frame, ETSU took its first lead of the set when an attack error by the Cardinals gave the Bucs a 19-18 advantage. From there, the set saw seven more ties, and even after serving for set point at 24-23, ETSU couldn’t pull out the comeback win as Ball State won five of the final seven points to earn the two-point win. Overall, the set consisted of 12 ties and four lead changes.
Ball State carried momentum out of the break and led from start to finish en route to posting a 25-14 win in the third.
The early stages of the fourth set were evenly played, but with the Cardinals leading by one, 9-8, Ball State registered six unanswered points to gain control of the set by going ahead by seven, 15-8. From there, the Blue and Gold were only able to pull within six points as Ball State closed out the match with the 10-point victory, 25-15.
The Cardinals were led by Mackenzie Kitchel’s 14 kills and Jenna Spadafora accounted for 45 of Ball State’s 51 assists.
Ball State moved to 5-6 with the win.
Kalah Jones recorded a match-high 14 kills and Cecilia Aragao finished with a double-double (33 assists/10 digs) as VCU swept ETSU to wrap up day one of the VCU Invitational on Friday night.
The Rams out-hit the Bucs, .323 to .062, while also finishing plus-15 in kills, 41-26. ETSU, who entered the match as one of the top blocking teams in the country, were out-blocked, 7-3, in the setback.
Individually, Ivey Rice led the Blue and Gold with eight kills on a .207 attack percentage, while Meredith Hardy and Khadijah Wiley extended their block streaks. Hardy finished with a block and has now recorded at least one block in 106 consecutive matches, and Wiley added a pair of blocks and has accomplished the feat in 44 straight matches for the Bucs. Rice and Katie Muey (Alexandria, Ind.) both totaled 10 digs.
The Rams set the tone early as they never trailed in the first set and won the opener, 25-21. VCU won five of the first six points, and after pulling within two at 18-16, ETSU was unable to get over the hump as the Rams held on for the four-point win.
In the second set, VCU led 6-4 and used a 15-5 run to open a 12-point lead (21-9), before finishing things up with the 25-12 victory.
The third set went back and forth early on, but with ETSU leading 11-10, the Rams mounted an 11-2 surge to take over and eventually ended the match with their 25-18 win.
The Rams improved to 3-7 on the campaign.
ETSU concludes play at the VCU Invitational on Saturday as the Bucs face Virginia at 1 p.m.
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