GREENVILLE, S.C. AND CULLOWHEE, N.C. (Oct. 9, 2014) – The ETSU volleyball team looks to extend its win streak this weekend as the Bucs return conference action beginning Friday night at Furman. Following their match with the Paladins, the Blue and Gold make the short trek to North Carolina to face Western Carolina on Saturday.
Friday’s game time is set for 7 p.m. inside Alley Gym, while Saturday’s match with the Catamounts is slated for noon inside the Ramsey Center.
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE BUCS
ETSU (8-11, 2-1 SoCon) extended its win streak to four straight following a four-set win over MTSU on Tuesday night, capping off a perfect 3-0 homestand for the Bucs.
Senior outside hitter Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) collected her 1,000th career kill in the fourth set, while senior Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) and junior Khadijah Wiley (Columbus, Ga.) combined for 27 kills and nine blocks. Hardy, the reigning SoCon Defensive Player of the Month, tallied a match-high 18 kills and totaled six blocks, whereas, Wiley hit .467 (9-2-15) and totaled three blocks.
Sophomore Renzey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) and senior Katie Muey (Alexandria, Ind.) combined for seven of ETSU’s 10 service aces, marking the second time this season the Blue and Gold have posted double-digit aces in a match. Riced ended with a career-high four and Muey notched three and led all players with 28 digs.
As a team, ETSU hit a season-high .271 (53-17-133) and the Bucs never trailed following the opening set as the Blue and Gold outscored the Blue Raiders, 75-43, to close out the match.
Furman (11-4, 4-0) has won five straight and 10 of its last 11 matches.
The Paladins are tied with Samford for first-place in the SoCon standings at 4-0.
As a team, Furman leads the SoCon in attack percentage (.229), while ranking second in kills per set (12.95) and blocks per set (2.12).
Sophomore middle blocker Ashton Gregory leads the conference in blocks per set (1.22), ranks fifth in attack percentage (.302) and sixth in kills per set (3.00), while junior setter Jo Wilks is third in assists per set (10.56).
The Paladins are 3-0 at home this season and have swept two of their last four opponents.
ETSU VS. FURMAN
Furman holds a slight 25-21 all-time series lead after sweeping ETSU last month in Johnson City.
Despite their setback, the Bucs have still won four of the last five in the series, while this marks ETSU’s first trip to Furman since 2006 when the Blue and Gold won in five sets.
ABOUT WESTERN CAROLINA
The Catamounts (7-11, 0-4) have dropped four straight and Western Carolina has been swept in four of its last five setbacks.
Senior outside hitter Caitlin Piechota ranks fifth in the SoCon in kills per set (3.15) and fellow senior outside Jordan Timmermann is seventh (2.98). Meanwhile, junior libero Elyssa Mulheron is fourth in digs per set (4.62) and Cristina Nazario is third in service aces per set (0.42).
Five of Western Carolina’s seven wins have come in three sets, while the Catamounts are 2-0 in five-set matches.
ETSU VS. WESTERN CAROLINA
Saturday marks the 57th all-time meeting with the series being tied at 28-28.
The Bucs have won five of the last seven in the series, including a 3-0 victory in the last meeting back in 2012 in Brooks Gym.
Meredith Hardy ranks second among active NCAA Division I players in blocks with 558. The 558 blocks are also an all-time ETSU record, while she has recorded at least one block in 112 straight matches. Hardy also broke ETSU’s record for total blocks in a three-set match when she finished with 12 in the win against George Mason on Sept. 5. The 12 blocks are the most by a Division I player in a three-setter this season.
Katie Muey has played in 455 career sets, which ranks second among active players … Grambling’s Kayla Lewis leads the country with 456 sets played. Muey has also totaled 1,539 career digs, placing her third all-time the Buccaneer record book. The ETSU senior libero is 55 digs shy of passing Jennifer Garriga (1990-93) for second in program history.
This season, Muey ranks 12th nationally in total digs (377) and Hardy is 37th in total blocks (84).
Muey has totaled three 30-plus dig matches this season, while finishing with a career-high 37 in the five-set win over Radford. The 37 digs are tied for the 11th highest by a player in a five-set match this season.
During their four-match win streak, the Bucs are averaging 13.6 kills (232 total), 2.35 blocks (40 total) and 1.88 service aces (32 total) per set. Individually, Hardy is hitting .336 (71-22-146) and averaging 4.18 kills and 1.41 blocks per set during this run. Sophomore Kristen Favre (Plano, Texas) is posting 9.94 assists per set, while Muey is averaging 6.41 digs per set and has 12 of ETSU’s 32 service aces during this span.
Meredith Hardy and Khadijah Wiley have combined for 81 kills and 22 blocks in the Bucs’ first three conference games. Hardy has totaled 44 kills and 14 blocks and Wiley has tallied 37 kills and eight blocks in SoCon play.
As a team, the Bucs lead the SoCon in blocks per set (2.33) and opponent hitting percentage (.190).
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