FORT MYERS, Fla. (October 15, 2011) – Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) recorded a career-high 26 kills, but the Florida Gulf Coast duo of Jessica Barnes and Jelena Simic combined for 45 scores to lead the Eagles past ETSU in a wild 3-1 (31-29, 26-24, 31-33, 25-21) contest on Saturday night at Alico Arena.
ETSU drops to 10-12 overall and 3-4 in the A-Sun with the loss, while Florida Gulf Coast improves to 12-8 overall and 6-1 in the A-Sun.
Devine eclipsed her previous career-high of 22 kills in which she accomplished four times in her career. Her 26 scores came on 62 attempts with a .274 attack percentage. Devine also added nine digs and two blocks.
Meanwhile, Barnes recorded 25 kills to lead four players in double-digit kills for the Eagles. Simic recorded 20 scores and 19 digs. Gigi Meyer dished out a match-high 61 assists in the match.
Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Kayla Williams (El Paso, Texas) combined for 56 assists. Meanwhile, Kiley Tamblyn (Torrance, Calif.) was just one dig away from recording 30 digs for the second time this week. Her 29 digs on the night were a match-high. McKayla Barber (Columbus, Ind.) and Bethany Gesell (High Point, N.C.) each recorded eight kills for the Bucs.
Florida Gulf Coast out-hit ETSU .282 to .199, while also gaining a 70 to 62 advantage in kills. ETSU held advantages in service aces, digs and blocks.
The wild opening set was back and forth throughout its entirety. With the score tied at 23, a Florida Gulf Coast service error gave ETSU a set point opportunity at 24-23. FGCU responded by getting a kill from Jill Hopper to tie the score. The two teams would battle back and forth even though the Eagles had set point on a number of occasions. ETSU finally put some pressure on FGCU after earning set point on a service ace by Barber at 29-28, which forced a FGCU timeout. After the timeout, Jessica Barnes tied the match back up with a kill to make the score 29-29. A kill by Hopper gave the Eagles set point once again and this time they capitalized with a set clinching kill by Barnes.
Florida Gulf Coast had all the momentum from the opening set victory and the Eagles came out strong in the second frame. The Eagles built a 21-13 lead in the set and looked like they were in complete control. ETSU made sure that FGCU would not run away with the set by going on a 5-0 run to cut the lead to three at 21-18. FGCU won three of the next five points to take a 24-20 lead to gain set point. ETSU rallied once again to reel off four straight points to tie the match at 24. The Bucs went on an incredible 11-3 run to rally back and eventually tie the score. After an ETSU attack error, FGCU got a service ace from Kaitlin Holm to take the set, 26-24.
The wild match would continue into the third set as FGCU held an advantage for the majority of the stanza. With Florida Gulf Coast in front 20-17, a Holm kill extended the advantage to 21-17. The Bucs quickly answered after they got a kill by Krista Hughes (Williamsburg, Va.) and two straight FGCU errors cut the lead to 21-20, forcing an Eagles timeout. After the timeout, ETSU won the next three points to take the 23-21 lead. After a FGCU kill, ETSU earned set point after an Eagles attack error. However, FGCU won the next two points to tie the match at 24 apiece. The set was eerily similar to the opening set as each team had numerous set point opportunities, but the set kept getting extended. With the score tied at 31, a Devine kill gave ETSU set point once again at 32-31. The Bucs finally converted the set point opportunity as Devine recorded her second straight kill to take the set, 33-31.
It looked as if ETSU had the momentum after the thrilling victory in the third set, but FGCU took the quick lead. The Eagles went on several small runs to extend their advantage as ETSU could never mount a rally. With FGCU in front 20-16, the Bucs went on a 3-0 run to cut the lead to just one. That was as close as ETSU would get. The Eagles took five of the next seven points to take the set, 25-21. Florida Gulf Coast registered a .515 attack percentage with just one error in the set.
The Bucs return to action on Tuesday with a non-conference match at Presbyterian. The first serve is set for 6 p.m.
For more information on ETSU volleyball please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the volleyball link.