CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Sept. 27, 2014) – Not only did the ETSU volleyball team pick up a key conference road win, but senior Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) also made Buccaneer history on Saturday afternoon in Chattanooga.
Hardy became ETSU’s all-time blocks leader after finishing with a match-high 19 kills and eight blocks as the Bucs defeated Chattanooga in four sets (25-18, 25-16, 22-25, 26-24) inside Maclellan Gym.
Hardy, who broke Jennifer Pennington’s (1993-96) record of 537 blocks, moved her career total to 542, which also ranks second among active NCAA Division I players. The Kingsport, Tenn. native broke the record when her block assist in the second set put ETSU ahead, 18-14.
Joining Hardy with double-digit kills were Khadijah Wiley (Columbus, Ga.) and Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.), while sophomore setter Kristen Favre (Plano, Texas) quarterbacked the offense by finishing with 31 of ETSU’s 50 assists. Wiley added a season-high 14 kills and totaled three blocks, while Rice ended with 11 kills of her own. Senior libero Katie Muey (Alexandria, Ind.) led all players with 19 digs and tallied a career-high six service aces.
As a team, the Blue and Gold were plus-20 in kills, 57-37, while the Bucs also finished with a season-high 10 service aces, marking the most by an ETSU team since Sept. 4, 2010, when recording 11 against Norfolk State.
Following the win, ETSU snapped its five-match losing streak and improved to 5-11, 1-1 in SoCon play, while Chattanooga – who had won six of its last eight matches entering the weekend – dropped to 7-10, 0-2.
The Bucs came out firing and took control of the match early on, as ETSU hit a blistering .467 (19-5-30) in the first set and won the opener, 25-18. After seeing Chattanooga win the first three points of the match, the Blue and Gold responded with eight unanswered scores to take a five-point lead, 8-3, courtesy of a kill by Hardy. From there, ETSU never trailed for the remainder of the set and secured the seven-point win. Hardy (seven) and Wiley (six) combined for 13 of the Bucs’ 19 kills in the frame, while freshman Rylee Milhorn (Kingsport, Tenn.) was a perfect 3-for-3 in her attack attempts.
ETSU used a strong dose of serving and blocking to win the second set, 25-16, while taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the match. Muey posted all six of her aces in the frame, while the Blue and Gold totaled four blocks. The Bucs won eight of the first 10 points of the stanza, but Chattanooga answered with a 12-5 run to regain a 14-13 lead. Fortunately, ETSU stayed focused and rattled off nine straight scores to go up, 22-14, following a bad set by Julimar Alvarado. The run was sparked by Muey’s pin-point serving, while the Bucs eventually won 12 of the final 14 points of the set.
The third and fourth sets were nip and tuck, but after combining for 25 ties and eight lead changes in the frames, ETSU walked away with its first Southern Conference win since knocking off Elon back on Nov. 13, 2004.
The Mocs won the final three points to win the third set, 25-22, but the Bucs returned the favor by finishing the fourth set with a 4-0 run to end the match with a 26-24 victory. Despite leading by six when a service ace by Renzey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) made it a 17-11 score, the Bucs had to come back to finish off the set. Chattanooga used a 9-2 surge to regain a 20-19 lead, but after the Mocs saw their lead grow to 24-22, ETSU did an outstanding job dodging set point. With the Bucs down two, ETSU went to its senior leaders as Favre found Hardy for three straight kills to go up 25-24, while it was a kill by Ivey Rice that clinched the match. Hardy had six of ETSU’s 15 kills in the fourth, while Rice added three of her own.
Chattanooga was led by Allie Davenport’s 12 kills, while Anne Bachmann finished with 19 assists and seven digs.
ETSU now returns home for three straight home matches, beginning Tuesday night when the Bucs host Radford. First serve is set for 6 p.m. inside Brooks Gym.
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