CHARLESTON, S.C. AND MACON, Ga. (Nov. 13, 2014) – The ETSU volleyball team wraps up regular season play this weekend as the Bucs play at The Citadel Friday night (6 p.m.) and take on Mercer Saturday afternoon (1 p.m.).
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE BUCS
ETSU (15-15, 9-5 SoCon) sent off its seniors in style as the Bucs defeated Samford in four sets (25-19, 21-25, 25-20, 29-27) on Senior Day last Saturday inside Brooks Gym.
The wins marked ETSU’s ninth straight home win and fourth straight overall.
Seniors Bethany Gesell (High Point, N.C.), Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) combined for 44 of the Bucs’ 56 kills, while fellow seniors Katie Muey (Alexandria, Ind.) finished with a match-high 28 digs and Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn.) added 15 assists and three blocks. Gesell led the Blue and Gold with 17 kills and posted five digs, Hardy recorded 14 kills and five blocks and Rice registered 13 kills and hit .312 for the match.
As a team, ETSU hit .245 (56-21-143) and was plus-5 in kills, while sophomore Kristen Favre (Plano, Texas) accounted for three of the Bucs’ seven service aces.
ABOUT THE CITADEL
The Bulldogs are coming off a three-set loss at Furman last Friday and sit 8-23, 0-14 on the campaign.
Junior Bailey Kernodle leads the team with 229 kills (2.52 per set), while junior Rachel Keefer has totaled 793 of The Citadel’s 1,033 assists. Keefer is averaging 8.01 assists per set this season.
Opponents are hitting .258 against the Bulldogs, while holding The Citadel to a .147 clip.
Three of The Citadel’s eight wins have come at home, but the Bulldogs have been swept 19 times on the year.
ETSU vs. THE CITADEL
ETSU is a perfect 12-0 all-time against the Bulldogs.
The Bucs swept The Citadel back on Oct. 21 inside Brooks Gym. Hardy hit .583 (15-1-24) and totaled seven blocks in the win, while Rutledge added 21 assists, three blocks and two digs for the Blue and Gold. Overall, ETSU hit .337 (40-8-95) and out-blocked the Bulldogs, 11.5-2.0.
This marks ETSU’s first trip to The Citadel since sweeping the Bulldogs back on Oct. 24, 2003.
Mercer has won five of its last eight and enters Saturday’s match at 10-18, 5-9.
The Bears are led by junior Molly Locke as she ranks third in the SoCon in kills (3.39) and tenth in digs per set (3.11). Red-shirt sophomore Hannah Noon and freshman Claire Walizcek highlight Mercer’s two-setter system as Noon is averaging 5.75 assists per set and Walizcek is at 5.46 assists per frame.
As whole, Mercer ranks fourth in the conference in service aces (1.37) per set and fifth in attack percentage (.208) and digs per set (15.11).
Five of Mercer’s 10 wins have come in three sets.
ETSU vs. MERCER
The Bucs have won nine of the last 11 matches over the Bears and lead the all-time series, 12-5.
ETSU defeated Mercer in four sets last month in Johnson City as Hardy and freshman Rylee Milhorn (Kingsport, Tenn.) combined for 32 of the Bucs’ 57 kills. Hardy hit .516 (19-3-31) and totaled six blocks, while Milhorn collected a double-double by finishing with 13 kills and 10 digs. Muey also recorded her first collegiate double-double (19 digs/10 assists).
ETSU has won four straight and seven of its last nine matches.
During this four-match win streak, Meredith Hardy is averaging 3.72 kills per set, while Katie Muey is posting 6.17 digs per set. Kristen Favre has 129 of ETSU’s 223 assists and 11 of its 27 service aces during this stretch as well.
The Bucs lead the SoCon in opponent hitting percentage (.185) and blocks per set (2.29). Nationally, ETSU ranks 19th in team blocks (267.5), 24th in team digs, 1,807, 25th in service aces (1,436) and 30th in team kills (1,436).
Seniors Katie Muey and Meredith Hardy are among the national leaders in digs and blocks. Muey ranks third nationally in total digs (626) and Hardy is 18th in total blocks (134). Muey is also ETSU’s all-time leader in digs (1,788) and Hardy holds the Buccaneer career records for total blocks (608) and block assists (523).
Muey has also played in 499 career sets, which tops all active NCAA Division I players, while Hardy is the only active player to register over 1,200 kills and 600 blocks. Overall, Hardy has compiled 1,296 career kills.
This season, ETSU has swept the SoCon Defensive Player of the Month award as Hardy won the honor in September and Muey followed up by receiving the accolade for October. Between the two, Hardy and Muey have also won five SoCon Defensive Player of the Week awards.
Saturday’s match at Mercer will have live stats via MercerBears.com.
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