November 13, 20191st2nd3rd4thFinal
Western Caro.252122181
0.171Hitting Pct.0.205
164Total Attacks176
Gebel - 16
KillsCunningham - 19
Price - 43
AssistsArnold - 46
Gebel - 2
AcesCunningham - 4
Sanchez - 35
DigsPopovic - 29
Keaton - 5
BlocksCoffman - 7
Bucs Top Catamounts 3-1 in Defensive Battle
Bucs Top Catamounts 3-1 in Defensive Battle
Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Massey and Popovic move up in the record book

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 13, 2019) – The ETSU volleyball team secured the series sweep over the Western Carolina Catamounts on Wednesday evening with a 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-18) victory in Brooks Gym. Kaela Massey (Brentwood, Tenn.) moved into third place all time in block-assists, while Marija Popovic (Belgrade, Serbia) logged her 1,500th career dig.  

With the victory, ETSU improves to 23-4 (14-1 SoCon) as WCU falls to 17-11 (11-4 SoCon).

Set 1 (25-23 WCU): The first set featured seven ties and three lead changes between the two squads. WCU got ahead early, up 13-9, but the Blue and Gold prevailed to retake the lead, 17-15. The Catamounts came back late ending the set on a 5-2 run to take the frame, 25-23. By the end of the first set, both liberos had ten digs.

Set 2 (25-21 ETSU): The second frame was nearly as competitive, but once the Blue and Gold held a 6-5 advantage, they never gave it up. Their lead only touched as many as five, up 18-13, but the Catamount offense was limited to a .152 hitting percentage and was unable to reach the Bucs’ score. Olivia Cunningham (Knoxville, Tenn.) logged seven kills in the second set on 15 attempts with no errors.

Set 3 (25-22 ETSU):  The third frame was the most competitive of them all with eight ties and five lead changes. Like the second frame, Cunningham led the way with seven digs. WCU took the lead early, up 5-2 but ETSU came back to retake the lead up 12-11. The Catamounts tied the match three times in the middle, but were unable to gain an advantage.

Set 4 (25-18 ETSU):  The fourth set was the strongest for the Blue and Gold with WCU never catching up to their lead. The Bucs held as large as an eight-point advantage late in the set. WCU finished the set on a 4-2 run with four straight points served by Caroline Perrett, but were ultimately unable to go ahead. In the fourth frame, ETSU hit .217 and held the Catamounts to a .150 attack clip as a team.  

Key stats:

  • Cunningham led match with 19 kills on 53 swings for a .302 attack clip. The freshman outside hitter logged a career-best 17 digs.
  • Lauren Hatch (Homewood, Ill.) and Sara Esposito (Venezia, Italy) combined for 22 kills and six blocks with both of them finishing with more than 10 kills. The duo also each tallied six digs defensively.
  • Popovic was dominant defensively setting a season-best with 29 digs.
  • Emily Arnold (Louisville, Ill.) continued her quarterbacking duties of the team with 46 assists. The freshman setter also recorded two blocks, two aces and a kill.
  • Kaela Massey (Brentwood, Tenn.) and Lundyn Coffman (Nolensville, Tenn.) totaled eight kills each. Coffman led the match with seven blocks while Massey had four and two aces.
  • Sydney Cherney (Knoxville, Tenn.) came off the bench and was perfect in the serve receive with no errors on 21 targets.
  • The Bucs outhit the Catamounts .205-.171 and out-blocked WCU 11-7.

Inside the numbers:                           

  • In the first set, Popovic recorded her 1,500th career dig. She is one of four Bucs to accomplish that feat. Her 29 digs in the match marked a season-best for the junior.
  • Massey’s three block assists moved her into third place all-time with 332 in her four-year career with ETSU.
  • Cunningham’s 17 digs are the best for the freshman and are the most since she tallied 16 against Furman on Oct. 25.
  • ETSU is now 19-0 in matches when they hit above .200 and have done so in 12 of the 15 SoCon matches this season.
  • The Bucs have now won the last four matches against the Catamounts.

ETSU is back to the hardwood on Saturday, Nov. 16 to take on the Samford Bulldogs in what will determine the number one overall seed in the conference tournament. With a win on Saturday, or a Bulldogs loss on Friday, ETSU can clinch a share of the regular-season title.  

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 and click on the volleyball page. Also, like us on Facebook at follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ETSUVolleyball.