October 16, 20191st2nd3rdFinal
Western Caro.2018180
0.296Hitting Pct.0.114
125Total Attacks105
Esposito - 13
KillsGebel - 9
Arnold - 37
AssistsPrice - 25
Cunningham - 3
AcesGebel - 2
Popovic - 22
DigsVeit - 11
Massey - 5
Esposito - 5
BlocksKeaton - 2
Bucs Top Catamounts in Battle of SoCon Unbeatens
Bucs Top Catamounts in Battle of SoCon Unbeatens
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Cullowhee, N.C. (Oct. 16, 2019) – Two of the three undefeated teams in Southern Conference play faced off in North Carolina on Wednesday night. ETSU’s volleyball team came out on top in a straight-set victory over the Western Carolina University Catamounts (25-22, 25-18, 25-18).

With the victory, ETSU improves to 16-3 (7-0 SoCon) as WCU falls to 10-9 (6-1 SoCon).

Set 1 (25-22 ETSU): The Bucs were down in the first set 7-4 when they began to take control. After a kill from Sara Esposito (Venezia, Italy), Emily Arnold (Louisville, Ky.) stepped behind the service line for four-straight points and ETSU was up 9-7. After that advantage, the Catamounts were unable to regain the lead. The Blue and Gold were able to stretch their lead to seven at 22-15 before WCU began to battle back. The Catamounts went on a 5-1 run to force coach Jenkins to call timeout up 23-22. Kaela Massey (Brentwood, Tenn.) slotted a kill and a service ace out of the timeout to give ETSU the first set 25-22.

Set 2 (25-18 ETSU): The Bucs took the lead from the beginning of the second frame and WCU was able to tie the set just once at 4-4. The Catamounts came close with three straight points to force an ETSU timeout at 13-12. The Bucs closed out the set on a 12-5 run to take a 2-0 advantage in the match. Through two sets, Esposito was hitting .562 with 10 kills.   

Set 3 (25-18 ETSU):  The Blue and Gold held a 9-5 lead and then executed on three straight blocks gave the Bucs a seven-point edge. The Catamounts were unable to come close to the Bucs lead at any point in the set as ETSU carried a lead of five or more throughout the rest of the frame. WCU scored three straight points to cut their deficit to six before Olivia Cunningham slotted two service aces to give the Bucs match point. ETSU used the defense of Esposito and Massey at the net to close out the match on the team’s 14th block assist of the night.

Key stats:

  • Esposito set her career-high with a .571 hitting percentage with 13 kills on 21 attempts and just one error. The sophomore outside hitter added five blocks, three digs and an ace to her line.
  • Cunningham and Massey both tallied 10 kills. Cunningham finished one dig shy of a double-double and slotted three aces while Massey had five blocks (one solo) and an ace.
  • Marija Popovic (Belgrade, Serbia) continued her dominance in the back row in conference play with 22 digs. She has now had 20 or more digs in four straight matches.
  • Lauren Hatch (Homewood, Ill.) logged 11 kills. She has had 10 or more in three straight matches.
  • Arnold finished with a match-high 37 assists. The setter ended with seven digs, two kills, two blocks and an ace.
  • The Bucs combined for just four attack errors in the second and third set on 75 swings.

Inside the numbers:                           

  • The match was Esposito’s third of the season with a hitting percentage of .500 or more and her first since Sept. 6.
  • ETSU has had four players log double-digit kills for the second time this season (Sept. 27 at Furman).
  • The Bucs limited five-time SoCon Defensive Player of the Week to just nine digs, a season low. Meagan Sanchez came in averaging 5.56 digs/set and held a streak of 15 or more digs in five straight matches.
  • With their win in the third frame, the Bucs improve to 15-0 this season when they win the third set.
  • The Blue and Gold hold the SoCon’s longest active win streak at nine straight matches.

ETSU is back to the hardwood on Friday, Oct. 18 to face another team unbeaten in SoCon play. The Bucs travel to Birmingham, Ala. to face the Samford Bulldogs at 8 p.m. EST. Fans can watch the match live on ESPN3.

ETSU fans wanting to receive Buccaneer news, score updates, in-game promotions and much more sent to their mobile device can do so by signing up for “Buc Updates.” Click here to sign up today!

For more information on Buccaneer volleyball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the volleyball page. Also, like us on Facebook at follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ETSUVolleyball.