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Hardy and Wiley lead ETSU offensive attack with 18 kills apiece
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 3, 2014) – After taking the first two sets (25-20, 25-13), the ETSU volleyball team fought off a subsequent UNC Greensboro rally to win set four (29-27) to come away with a 3-1 match victory on Friday night inside Brooks Gym.
With the win, the Bucs improve to 7-11 on the season and 2-1 in Southern Conference play while UNCG drops to 9-6 on the year and 2-1 in league action.
Coming off of a tough, 3-2 home win over Radford on Tuesday night, the Blue & Gold looked to protect home court for the second time this week when it welcomed its conference partner from Greensboro, N.C.
ETSU started fast, accumulating a 9-5 lead off of a UNCG attack error before a Spartan timeout. The Bucs stayed in control thereafter before UNCG went on an 8-2 scoring run to take a 19-17 lead. The Blue & Gold then responded with a run of its own, an 8-1 burst to take set one, 25-20, off of a UNCG attack error.
The Bucs fell behind early in set two but quickly clawed back to take control. Following a 2-2 tie, ETSU used a 7-2 streak, capped by a Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) kill to take command of the set. The Blue & Gold never looked back in the set and efficiently increased its advantage throughout. ETSU concluded the dominant set with an Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) kill to take set two, 25-13.
Facing a sizeable 2-0 match deficit, UNCG fired back in set number three. Starting hot out of the gate, the Spartans took an early 8-4 lead off of a kill by Sara Hohman. The Bucs then answered with a 6-2 burst to pull even at 10 apiece before UNCG bounced back with four-consecutive kills to pull ahead, 14-11. Back-and-forth action persisted for the remainder of the set with five additional ties, capped by the score being deadlocked at 22 as a result of a Spartans rotation violation. ETSU took advantage and captured the next point off of a Bethany Gesell (High Point, N.C.) kill, but UNCG charged back to take the set, 25-23, following two kills and an ETSU attack error.
Looking to take back the momentum, the Bucs got off to a quick start in set four. The Blue & Gold jumped out an 8-3 advantage off of a UNCG attack error which then led to a Spartans timeout. ETSU held a firm lead over the next several sequences, but the Spartans were not going to go away without a fight. UNCG took its first lead of the set, 21-20, off of a Kelsey Sidney kill and followed with another kill after an ETSU timeout to take a two-point advantage. The two teams then responded to the other’s advancements with a rally of its own to keep the score neck and neck. After repeated answers from UNCG on the Bucs’ match-point attempts, the Blue & Gold used the energy from the raucous crowd to win set four, 29-27, and capture match victory, 3-1.
ETSU was led by 18 kills apiece from Hardy and Khadijah Wiley (Columbus, Ga.) as well as 27 digs from Katie Muey (Alexandria, Ind.) and 47 assists from Kristen Favre (Plano, Texas). As a squad, the Bucs held a 60% (52-86) team attack percentage and nine total team blocks.
The Spartans were paced by 12 kills from Ashley Muench, 17 digs from Katherine Santiago and 45 assists from Sarah Hohman. UNCG recorded a 51% team attack percentage and posted five team blocks.
The Blue & Gold will be back in action on Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 6 p.m. when it hosts Middle Tennessee State inside Brooks Gym.
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