Bucs take on UNCG, Wake Forest and ECU this weekend in Winston-Salem
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Aug. 29, 2013) – The ETSU volleyball team wrapped up preseason practice earlier this week and now the Bucs turn their attention to regular season play, as the Blue and Gold open the 2013 campaign Friday afternoon in the Deacon Invitational.
The Bucs will play three games in two days inside Wake Forest’s Reynolds Gymnasium, beginning Friday against Southern Conference foe UNC Greensboro at 4:30 p.m. On Saturday, the Blue and Gold take on the host Demon Deacons at 12:30 p.m., before wrapping up the tournament with Conference USA member East Carolina at 4:30 p.m.
A LOOK BACK AT 2012
- The Bucs captured their first-ever Atlantic Sun Championship after going into Lipscomb’s Allen Arena and defeating Mercer, Lipscomb, and North Florida en route to punching their ticket to the 2012 NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Along with winning the conference tournament, the Blue and Gold placed three players on the A-Sun All-Conference Team, while also having a record-high four scholar-athletes selected to the All-Academic Team. Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) was named A-Sun Player of the Year, First Team All-Atlantic Sun, and Tournament MVP, while Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) landed First Team All A-Sun honors and Khadijah Wiley (Columbus, Ga.) took home All-Freshman Team accolades. Hardy, Devine, and Bethany Gesell (High Point, N.C.) were also named to the A-Sun All-Tournament Team. Meanwhile, Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) joined Devine and Hardy on the All-Academic Team.
- ETSU represented the A-Sun in the NCAA Tournament by taking on No. 16 national seed Kentucky in the First Round in Lexington. Despite the setback, the Bucs enjoyed an outstanding season by capturing over 20 wins (23 total) for the second time in the last three years, while also setting program records for block assists (613) and sets played (139), as well as new A-Sun records for total blocks (366.5) and blocks (198.5) in conference only matches.
- The Blue and Gold won 10 of their 11 matches inside Brooks Gym in 2012, including a thrilling five-set win over regular season champion Florida Gulf Coast, which snapped the Eagles’ 15-match winning streak.
A LOOK AHEAD AT 2013
- ETSU returns 11 players from last season’s championship squad. After having only two upperclassmen a year ago, head coach Lindsey Devine’s team features six in 2013 – one senior and five juniors. The Buccaneer coaching staff brought in three new faces – outside hitter Briana Allmon (Flower Mound, Texas), setter Kristen Favre (Plano, Texas) and defensive specialist/libero Renzey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) – all three of which are freshman. In addition, five sophomores return for a second season in the Blue and Gold – Khadijah Wiley, Ashleigh Shain (Geneva, Ill.), Eryn Samuels (Tampa, Fla.), Jessica Schafer (Dekalb, Ill.) and Laura Lawman (Cleveland, Tenn.).
- The Bucs were picked to finish second behind Florida Gulf Coast in the A-Sun Preseason Coaches’ poll, while Megan Devine was tabbed Player of the Year and junior Katie Muey (Alexandria, Ind.) won the fan vote for Libero of the Year. Meredith Hardy also landed on the preseason all-conference team with Devine.
- The Blue and Gold face a tough schedule this season as ETSU plays 17 of its first 20 matches away from Brooks Gym, while four of the Bucs’ first ten opponents played in the NCAA Tournament last season – Liberty (Sept. 6), Kentucky (Sept. 7), Wichita State (Sept. 13) and Tennessee (Sept. 14). However, after playing a plethora of road games to begin the year, ETSU ends the slate by playing nine of its last 13 matches at home.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
- The Spartans finished the 2012 season with an overall record of 13-16 and went 7-9 in the Southern Conference.
- UNC Greensboro returns 10 players from last year’s squad, including five starters and starting libero Katherine Santiago.
- UNCG was picked to finish fourth in the 2013 Preseason SoCon Coaches’ Poll, while senior outside hitter Karrian Chambers was selected to the preseason all-conference team.
- The Demon Deacons are under a new leader as Ken Murczek took over head coaching duties in February.
- Wake Forest went 11-21, 5-15 in the ACC last season, placing the Demon Deacons 10th.
- Wake Forest was picked to finish last in the 2013 Preseason ACC Coaches’ Poll and return eight players from its 2012 team.
- Senior outside hitter Kylie Hargreaves is the team’s leading returner in kills with 289, while sophomore libero Megan Miller led the team with 505 digs last season.
- Like Wake Forest, the Pirates also saw a change at the helm as Julie Tobett was named head coach on Feb. 5.
- ECU returns 10 players from last year’s team that finished 2-25, 1-15 in C-USA.
- Senior outside hitter Nicole Willis led the squad in kills (323), senior defensive specialist/libero Shelby Beasley registered a team-leading 430 digs, and senior middle blocker Virginia Fitch is ECU’s returning blocker after posting 76 a year ago.
BUCS VS. THE FIELD
- ETSU is 14-7 lifetime against UNCG, 6-1 vs. East Carolina and 0-3 against Wake Forest.
- The Bucs last faced the Spartans in 2011 when ETSU defeated UNC Greensboro, 3-1, on Aug. 26 in the UNCG Invitational. Devine finished with a match-high 22 kills and Rice added seven digs, six kills and three service aces.
- ETSU and Wake Forest last squared off in the 2010 Deacon Invitational when the Demon Deacons swept the Blue and Gold. The match against Wake Forest is the only one Devine has missed in her collegiate career.
- The Blue and Gold suffered their only setback to ECU in the last meeting back in the 2008 season-opener in Greenville, N.C. Prior to the loss, ETSU had won the previous six meetings against the Pirates.
- Live stats of the entire Deacon Invitational can be followed via Gametracker, courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics. Click here to access the tournament central homepage.
- Live video will only be offered for the Wake Forest match on Saturday. Click here for the live video link.
- News and updates can also be accessed by following the Bucs on Twitter @ETSUAthletics and @ETSUVolleyball.
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For more information on Buccaneer volleyball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the volleyball page.