ETSU volleyball rips Radford; Bucs secure spot in A-Sun Tournament
Tuesday, November 4, 2008

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 4, 2008) - The ETSU volleyball team used a total team effort to bounce back on track, as the Buccaneers swept Radford Tuesday night inside Brooks Gym, 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 28-26). In addition, the Bucs received help from conference foe Florida Gulf Coast, because the Eagles 3-1 victory over Stetson secured a spot for ETSU in the Atlantic Sun Tournament, which will be contested later this month in Macon, Ga.


Every Buccaneer player that suited up tonight contributed to the victory; which ETSU now looks to carry the momentum into a critical conference weekend.


"Our team was very relaxed and we knew how important getting a victory tonight would give us a confidence booster heading into a critical conference weekend," added head coach Lindsey Devine. "Now it's all about preparing for the conference tournament and challenging our opponents. It has taken all 13 players to win these matches, and its going to continue to take a total team effort if we want to make a run in conference play."


With the win, ETSU pushed its mark to 9-17 overall, and the Buccaneers have now won 22 of the 29 matches over the Highlanders. Radford has lost six of its last eight matches and fall to 9-15 on the campaign.


The Bucs blasted their way out of the gates to start the night, as ETSU's Amanda Youell (Middleburg, Fla.) and Mallory Kiley (Palm Harbor, Fla.) posted a perfect hitting percentage in the first set. The Florida duo combined to go 6-for-6, and helped the Buccaneers cruise out to an early 8-3 lead. However, ETSU was not done building to its advantage, as the Bucs used a brief 5-2 run to expand the lead to, 13-5. From there, Radford scored three straight points, but an impressive 7-3 spurt gave ETSU all the momentum they needed as they went ahead 20-11. Youell and Kiley went on to tally three of the next five Buccaneer kills, and ETSU walked away with the first set victory, 25-14.


In the second set, ETSU opened up a three point advantage, 10-7, but Radford would not go away as they grabbed its second lead of the set, 12-11, on Megan McWhorter's kill. The game continued to hover around one point for both teams, but with the set tied at 16, the Bucs rattled off five consecutive points to take charge, 21-16. The Highlanders would clip the deficit to two, 23-21, but a service error by Radford's Kiley Kent, then one of five kills by Jamie Stancliff (Advance, N.C.), gave the Buccaneers a quick two-set advantage.


Radford made things interesting in the third and final set by jumping out to a blistering 11-2 run. Fortunately, for the Bucs, they used past experiences to their advantage by claiming 10 of the next 13 points to cut the Highlander mark to 14-12. The rest of the set was a see-saw battle as both teams combined for eight ties, but with the game tied at 26, sophomore Erin Ryan (Davie Fla.) used her strength to blast one past the Highlander defenders, forcing Radford to call a timeout. Following the break, the Highlanders' Leigh Myers hit one straight into the net, giving ETSU its first sweep in over a month.


ETSU never gave up in the third set and used some critical runs to fight its way back into the match, which coach Devine praises her team for using the past to benefit them in a big way tonight.


 "I think the girls realized they have been in this situation earlier this season, and they finally drew upon those experiences to battle back in the third set. We needed to win that set to gain some confidence, as well as, to carry momentum into play this weekend."


As a team, ETSU mounted a season-high 45 kills (in a three-set match) on the evening, with nine of those coming from the strong arm of local Kingsport native, Whitney Cogburn. Youell posted an outstanding .857 hitting percentage and tallied a season-best 32 assists in three sets.


Following the match the Buccaneers learned they secured a spot in the 2008 Atlantic Sun Tournament after Florida Gulf Coast eliminated Stetson from competition, 3-1. Since joining the league in 2005, ETSU has made postseason play in all four seasons.


The Buccaneers return to action this Friday night when they host in-state conference rival Belmont. Game time is set for 7 p.m. inside Brooks Gym.