FORT MYERS, Fla. (Nov. 20, 2010) - ETSU earned victories in the first two sets, but Lipscomb rallied to take the next three to claim the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship, 3-2 (25-23, 25-22, 16-25, 22-25, 8-15), Saturday afternoon inside Alico Arena.
Alex Kelly recorded a game-high 20 kills and 19 digs to lead the Bisons to their second straight A-Sun title. The Bisons will now advance to the NCAA Tournament after receiving the automatic bid following the victory. Lipscomb finished the season with an undefeated record in A-Sun play for the second straight year.
Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) recorded a double-double that included a team-high 17 kills and 11 digs. After earning Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year earlier in the week, Devine was named to the Atlantic Sun All-Tournament Team this afternoon. Erin Ryan (Davie, Fla.) finished with 16 kills and nine digs, while Alysa Long (Romulus, Mich.) had 12 kills and five blocks for the Bucs. Long, a First-Team All-Atlantic Sun selection joined Devine on the All-Tournament Team.
Whitney Cogburn (Kingsport, Tenn.) finished with another solid all-around performance as she dished out 46 assists, while also adding four kills, five digs, and five blocks. Kiley Tamblyn (Torrance, Calif.) led the ETSU defense with 16 digs.
ETSU finished the tournament with double-digit blocks in each as they out-blocked the Bisons 10 to 7 this afternoon. ETSU also finished the match with a slight .236 to .235 edge in hitting percentage, but Lipscomb proved to be too much in the end.
ETSU closes out the season with a 26-9 overall record. The 26 victories are the most during the modern era. The Bucs recorded 35 wins in 1975 and 32 wins in 1978, but they also played in 47 and 43 matches.
The Bucs started out the match in complete control to open the first set as they got out to a commanding 10-3 advantage. The Bisons chipped away at the lead and eventually tied the match at 22-22, following back-to-back kills by Kelly. After a Devine kill that put ETSU up one again, Kelly added another timely kill to tie the match once again. Then, the Bucs got a kill from Ryan to bring up set point at 24-23. The Bucs then got a block from Long and Cogburn to give the Bucs the opening set victory, 25-23.
The second set started very similar to the opening frame as ETSU jumped out to a quick 8-3 advantage. Lipscomb quickly answered as they went on a 5-0 run that tied the set at 8-8. The two teams battled back and forth until ETSU reeled off four straight points to take a 21-17 lead. Following an ETSU ball handling error, the Bucs won the next three points to earn set point at 24-18. Lipscomb won the next four points to pull within two, but a kill by Long gave the Bucs the set victory, 25-22.
ETSU went into the locker room full of confidence after taking the first two sets, but it was Lipscomb that came out strong in the third set. The Bisons were in control throughout much of the set and led by as much as nine. Lipscomb maintained the lead and closed out the set with a 25-16 victory.
Lipscomb got off to a quick start once again as they took a 9-4 advantage in the fourth set. ETSU battled back and went on a crucial 5-1 run to pull within one at 19-18. Lipscomb maintained the one point advantage until they led 23-22. The Bisons closed out the set following back-to-back kills from Kelly and Pease.
The deciding set started with Lipscomb jumping out to a 6-2 advantage. The Bucs battled back to take the next three points to pull within one. Lipscomb answered with a 4-0 run of their own to take the 10-5 lead. The Bisons maintained the lead throughout the rest of the set to win 15-8, which also closed out the match.
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