Bucs Advance To First A-Sun Final in 3-1 Thriller

Friday, November 19, 2010

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Third-seeded ETSU knocked off second-seeded Kennesaw State, 3-1 (25-21, 25-23, 28-30, 25-22), to advance to its first-ever Atlantic Sun title game in the second semifinal of the Atlantic Sun Volleyball Championship at FGCU’s Alico Arena on Friday night.

The third-seeded team has been to the championship game three times in the last five years. Last season, FGCU fell to top-seeded Lipscomb, while Belmont fell to No. 1 FAU in 2005. Jacksonville, as the three seed in 2007, lost in the title game to No. 4 Lipscomb. ETSU has made it to the A-Sun semifinals three times in its history in the conference, but has never advanced to the final game.

Read the Atlantic Sun Insider Column: Bucs Sail into Title Game Riding Wave of Momentum

Kennesaw State was a little rusty after earning the bye to the semifinals falling in the first set quickly as ETSU built up a five-point lead at 16-11. The Owls came within three at 16-13, but the Buccaneers rallied with a 6-2 run to lead 22-15. Despite Kennesaw State answering back with five points of its own, the Bucs took the set on a final kill from Erin Ryan.

The Owls built up an 18-15 lead before ETSU evened the score four more times throughout the set with the final tie coming at 22-all. The Bucs took three of the last four points to give them a 2-0 lead heading into the short intermission.

ETSU opened the third set with a three-point lead at 7-4, before Kennesaw State proved it wasn’t ready to go home from its second-ever A-Sun Championship game. The Owls went on a 7-4 run to even the score at 11-11 on a kill from all-conference second team outside hitter Alyssa Lang. The third set saw 12 more ties before Kennesaw State pulled ahead to take its first set of the day.

The final set saw the two teams battle to 10 ties to sit at 22-22. ETSU recorded two kills and a final error by Kennesaw State gave the Bucs all they would need to head to their first-ever A-Sun title game.

Lauren Baufield and all-conference second team setter Whitney Cogburn each recorded a double-double for ETSU. Baufield posted 17 kills and 12 digs, while Cogburn had 45 assists and 12 digs. Freshman of the Year Megan Devine and all-conference first team middle blocker Alysa Long recorded 15 and 10 kills, respectively. Along with Cogburn posting double-digit digs, Erin Ryan had a team-high 16.

Kennesaw State, led by a double-double from Lang off a match-high 21 kills and 16 digs, also had two players reach double figure kills. All-Atlantic Sun First Team selection Sabrita Gulley had 18 kills, while Grace Hoyt added 11.

For the match, the Bucs hit .248 to the Owls .167, but ETSU also took the block battle, recording 11 to Kennesaw State’s four.

The championship game between Lipscomb and ETSU game can be viewed on ASun.TV for free and followed on live stats at AtlanticSun.org.