JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 14, 2016) – Fresh off its three-set win over Chattanooga on Wednesday, the ETSU volleyball team remained red-hot, as the Bucs cruised to their fourth straight win after sweeping Wofford in straight sets on Friday night inside Benjamin Johnson Arena.
The Bucs used a well-balanced attack to secure the road win as five different players finished with at least five kills on the night. Senior Briana Allmon (Flower Mound, Texas) and sophomore AJ Lux (Shelbyville, Ind.) tied a match high with 11 kills, while senior Kristen Favre (Plano, Texas) and sophomore Alyssa Kvarta (Crown Point, Ind.) quarterbacked the offense by combining for 38 of ETSU’s 43 assists. Favre totaled a match-high 23 assists, while Kvarta added 15 assists and eight digs.
As a unit, the Blue and Gold were fluid on offense as they hit .374 (46-9-99), marking their second-highest attack percentage on the season. ETSU also dominated at the net as they out-blocked the Terriers, 9-3, while the Bucs’ back row were plus-5 in digs (43-38). Sophomore libero Hailey Aguilar (Oswego, Ill.) and junior outside hitter Rylee Milhorn (Kingsport, Tenn.) were responsible for 22 of ETSU’s 43 digs. Aguilar led all players with 12 digs and Milhorn chipped in with 10 digs, five kills and two blocks. Freshman Kaela Massey (Brentwood, Tenn.) paced the Bucs with six blocks and registered a .600 attack percentage (6-0-10).
With the win, ETSU – who has swept its last three opponents – improved to 13-6, 5-2, while Wofford dipped to 11-10, 4-3. The Terriers had won four of their previous five matches prior to Friday’s setback.
“Wofford is a talented team that pushed us to work extremely hard tonight. When Rylee and Hailey share passing responsibilities and keep us in system, our setters have so many offensive weapons,” said head coach Lindsey Devine. “Kristen (Favre) and Alyssa (Kvarta) continued to be phenomenal and ran our court, as they created many 1-on-1 hitting opportunities. It’s a great night when we can out-block, earn sideout percentages of 76-and-80 and hit .374 as a team.”
The opening set was tightly contested as the teams combined for 11 ties and four lead changes, but with ETSU leading 20-19, the Bucs won five of the final six points to earn the 25-20 win. Play went back-and-forth midway through, but with the score knotted at 14, the Bucs rattled off three straight points to take a 17-14 advantage following back-to-back attack errors from Bijonae Jones. From there, ETSU never relinquished its lead, while Massey and Lux stuffed Catie Cronister at the net to cap off the win in the opener. The Bucs were nearly flawless in the first set as they hit .484 (16-1-31) and out-blocked Wofford, 4-0. Lux and Allmon both tallied four kills, while Massey, Lux and Allmon combined for the four blocks.
Like the first set, play was nip-and-tuck in the second, but the Bucs mounted an 11-4 run to gain some breathing room and held on for the 25-22 victory. With the Terriers ahead, 8-7, ETSU used its spurt to take control of the frame as the Bucs went ahead, 18-12. From there, Wofford rallied to pull even at 21, but ETSU flexed its muscle and closed the set out on a 4-1 run to secure the three-point win. Again, Lux was unstoppable as she hit .571 (5-1-7), while Allmon, Massey, Braedyn Tutton (Courtice, Ontario, Canada) and Mariah McPartland (Boone, Iowa) each totaled two kills. Seven Bucs also accounted for the 20 digs in the set.
After playing a pair of close sets to open the match, the Bucs never trailed in the third and finished off the Terriers with a 25-19 win. ETSU opened up the stanza on a 5-2 run and built a 10-6 lead, which forced Wofford to burn its first timeout. From there, the Bucs remained in control as the Terriers only inched within two points (10-8), but ETSU eventually opened four five-point cushions before a ball handling error from M.E. Eberhardt ended the match with the six-point win. Again, Wofford had no answer for ETSU’s balanced attack as the Bucs hit .467 (17-3-30) in the set, while Allmon led the charge with five kills and McPartland added four.
The Bucs wrap up their brief two-game road swing on Saturday night as ETSU heads to Western Carolina. First serve is set for 6 p.m. in Cullowhee, N.C.