JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 2, 2015) - The East Tennessee State volleyball team hits the road again this weekend to compete in another non-conference tournament. ETSU will compete in the Trojan Invitational, which is being hosted by Troy University. The Buccaneers will take on Alabama State, CSU Bakersfield and Troy during the Invitational.
Scouting the Buccaneers
ETSU’s record sits at 1-2 after one weekend of action. The Buccaneers defeated LIU Brooklyn, 3-1, while falling to Virginia Tech and Washington State by identical 3-0 scores at the VT/Radford Invitational last weekend.
The Buccaneers have been led by a mix of returning and new players this season. Upperclassmen Khadijah Wiley (Columbus, Ga.) and Briana Allmon (Flower Mound, Texas) pace the team with 29 and 24 kills, respectively, while newcomers Alyssa Kvarta (Crown Point, Ind.) and Hailey Aguilar (Oswego, Ill.) lead the way in assists per set (8.20) and digs per set (3.00).
Scouting the Opponents
Alabama State: The Lady Hornets, who are 1-2 so far in 2015, are looking to make their third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament this season. Alabama State has a veteran laden team with eight seniors on its roster. Among the eight seniors, five were named to the preseason All-SWAC team. One of those seniors, Kimeko Bennett, was named to the All-Tournament team after recording 21 kills in last weekend’s Kennesaw State Tournament.
CSU Bakersfield: Like Alabama State, CSU Bakersfield was also a participant in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The Roadrunners are still searching for their first win of 2015 after three consecutive losses to open their season in the San Francisco Invitational last weekend. The Roadrunners are led this season by a pair of 2015 Preseason All-WAC selections in Luiza Martins and Kelsee Sawyer. Sawyer ranks ninth in program history with 1,059 kills, while Martins has 1,368 assists at CSUB after transferring from Western Nebraska CC prior to the 2014 season.
Troy: Troy is 1-2 after its opening its season at the Chattanooga Classic. Troy knocked off Eastern Kentucky but fell to Chattanooga and Valparaiso. Ali Dowdall has been Troy’s top player thus far after being named to the Chattanooga Classic All-Tournament team. Dowdall averaged 5.55 digs per set and notched 61 digs overall with no reception errors during the tournament.
Senior Khadijah Wiley was named to the All-Tournament team at the VT/Radford Invitational last weekend. It marks the fourth consecutive season that the Buccaneers have had a player named to an All-Tournament team.
ETSU had six players make their team debut over the weekend. Two of the six players started at least one match for the Buccaneers.
This season ETSU will try to accomplish something that it has only done one other time during its history and that is have a winning record for four consecutive seasons. The only other time the team did that it reeled off seven straight winning campaigns from 1987-1993.
ETSU has outblocked its opponents 28.5 to 21 so far this season and has held the edge in blocks in each of its three matches. Over the last two seasons, the Buccaneers have outblocked their opponents in 24 of the last 36 tilts.
The Buccaneers were picked to finish fourth in 2015 SoCon Preseason Poll. ETSU has been picked to finish fourth or higher in four consecutive preseason conference polls.
Series History vs. Opponents
The Buccaneers have an all-time record of 1-2 against the teams they will face this weekend. ETSU holds an 1-0 record against Alabama State and a 0-2 mark against Troy. The victory against Alabama State came in five sets in 2012 season, while the pair of matches against Troy occurred in the 1998 and 2002 seasons, respectively.
Saturday’s matchup against CSU Bakersfield will be the first ever meeting between the the two schools.