Bucs blank Catamounts in battle of top contenders

Published 12:09 pm Monday, October 10, 2022

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ETSU volleyball remains atop SoCon with two-game lead

CULLOWHEE, N.C. – In a matchup of top Southern Conference teams on Saturday, ETSU volleyball made a statement with a 3-0 win over Western Carolina to close a four-game road swing in Cullowhee, N.C.
Despite nine lead changes — three in each set — and 21 tied score scenarios, the Bucs recorded their fourth sweep in the last five matches and season-highs in attack percentage and kills with a .327 clip on 50 kills. Meanwhile, WCU finished with 35 kills and a .187 percentage.
The Bucs have now separated from the pack with a two-game lead in the SoCon standings, sitting at 12-6 overall and 6-0 in conference matches. Across the net, Western Carolina remains second in the league with a 4-2 record, while owning an 11-7 overall record. The loss was WCU’s first home defeat this season.
Through the first six conference matches, ETSU has won 18 of 20 sets. The Bucs also continue a seven-game win streak and have won 12 of the last 13 matches.
ETSU had four players with at least 10 kills for the first time since the team’s initial win over East Carolina on Sept. 3. True freshman Brianna Cantrell (Appleton, Wis.) led that charge with 13 kills, followed by sophomore Amanda Lowe (Blacksburg, Va.) with 11 kills.
Senior Lundyn Coffman (Nolensville, Tenn.) and true freshman Kimani Johnson (Southfield, Mich.) joined the fun with 10 kills each, while protecting the net front with 11 combined blocks.
Sophomore setter Caroline Dykes (Flower Mound, Texas) had her highest three-set assist total of the season with 45 in the match and 16 in each of the first two sets. She also continued her assist streak of at least 20 in every match this season, including at least 35 assists in five of the six conference games so far.
Graduate libero Taylor Roberts (Sneads, Fla.) also had a big game with 20 digs, tying her season-high and nearly doubling all other players across the net. Dykes and sophomore Haley Sanders (Brentwood, Tenn.) each kept the ball alive with seven digs.
ETSU brought the power and had a 16-9 advantage in kills in the first set, taking the lead midway through and holding it for the rest of the set. With a 24-17 lead, Western Carolina made things interesting with a pair of points, but Coffman and Johnson shut it down with an emphatic block.
The Catamounts jumped ahead in an electric second set, but the Bucs never trailed by more than three points and eventually took the lead at the media timeout, 15-14. WCU later regained a 21-18 lead and looked destined to tie things up, but ETSU scored seven of the last eight points to snatch back the set. Both teams hit at least .400 in the second set, led by Lowe with five kills and a .714 percentage. Freshman Whitley Rammel (Ft. Recovery, Ohio) landed all four of her attacks in the frame.
The Bucs sealed the deal in the third set with more impressive numbers, out-hitting WCU .312 to .091 in the final frame. Cantrell and Lowe each had four kills in the set, while Roberts had nine digs in the final set alone.
The Blue and Gold return home for their next two matches, starting with a Wednesday night showdown against in-state rival Chattanooga on Oct. 12. First serve is set for 7 p.m. inside Brooks Gym.
For more information on Buccaneer volleyball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the volleyball page.

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