ETSU’s blocking game flourishes in five set win over Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (October 11, 2017) – The ETSU volleyball team won an intense five-set battle over Chattanooga (18-25, 25-18, 25-16, 23-25, 15-12) on Wednesday night at Maclellan Arena. As a team, the Bucs recorded 18 blocks, ten coming from sophomore Kaela Massey (Brentwood, Tenn.) who picked up a new career-high. Marija Popovic (Belgrade, Serbia) also recorded a new career-high of 32 digs.

Set 1: Chattanooga took a 3-0 lead to begin the set, but the Mocs were called for a double contact and being in the net to put the Bucs within one. ETSU tied the set at three after libero Marija Popovic (Belgrade Serbia) was all over the court diving for balls. ETSU kept it within one as Leah Clayton (Danville, Va.) produced back to back kills before the Mocs took a 13-9 lead. ETSU was eager to get their points back as AJ Lux (Shelbyville, Ind.) came out firing with a kill, followed by a Rylee Milhorn (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Braedyn Tutton (Courtice, Ontario) block. Milhorn put the Bucs within one after her kill as well. Chattanooga continued to attack and built a four-point lead. Clayton came up big again to put ETSU within three by smashing the ball into open space against Chattanooga, but the Mocs continued to build and go on a run, securing the first set with a kill.

Set 2: The Mocs took a 2-0 lead before ETSU produced three kills in a row; one by Lux and back to back kills by Milhorn. Another Milhorn kill and Chattanooga attack errors gave the Bucs a nice 3-0 run. Kalee Vanderhorst (Raleigh, N.C.) slammed the ball over the net to give ETSU a 9-4 lead. Kaela Massey (Brentwood, Tenn.) increased their lead with a solo block and soon after Clayton come through tapping the ball over the net. Chattanooga kept it close with their powerful kills. Defensive efforts by Marija Popovic helped the Bucs increase their lead. Popovic used her body and took a lot of hard balls, but kept them all in play. Kills by Milhorn and Clayton continued to help the Bucs. Braedyn Tutton and Leah Clayton combined to deny the Mocs at 23-18, followed by a Clayton kill. AJ Lux and Tutton once again denied the Mocs with their blocking efforts to finalize the first set 25-18.

Set 3: Braedyn Tutton and AJ Lux fired the Bucs up with a block. Milhorn put the Bucs ahead early after she completely blasted the ball at the Mocs that went into the stands. Massey followed the trend and gave the Bucs another point with a kill. ETSU’s blocking game really came alive as they were denying the Mocs. Massey, Lux, Tutton, and Milhorn were dominant in this set with their blocks. Milhorn and Vanderhorst gave the Bucs back to back kills to strengthen their lead. The Bucs gained control of the entire match. Massey gave the Bucs a 22-12 lead after her kill. There was nothing that was going to stop the Bucs as Clayton picked up her ninth kill to win the set 25-16.

Set 4: The Mocs took a 4-0 lead before AJ lux stopped their run with a kill. Hailey Aguilar (Chicago, Ill.) gave ETSU another point with her service ace. Chattanooga’s kills gave them a 10-4 lead before ETSU called timeout. Milhorn came out of the timeout pounding the ball with a kill and Massey and Clayton came up with a block. Leah Clayton persistently hit the ball with a kill to keep the Bucs close. Chattanooga continued to lead with dominant kills, but ETSU kept it close with their intense blocking game. The Mocs had a six-point lead, but the Bucs came back and pushed a hard battle. They tied the set twice nearing set point, but the Mocs won the set.

Set 5: Braedyn Tutton started things off for the Bucs with a block. Clayton and Milhorn gave the Bucs back to black blocks. Chattanooga took a 4-3 lead, but ETSU tied it at four after a kill by AJ Lux. Four attack errors in a row by the Mocs gave the Bucs a 9-5 lead. Masssey extended their lead with a kill before the Mocs called timeout. Back to back kills and a service ace put the Mocs within two at 10-8. Milhorn and Clayton put the Bucs ahead 12-9. Chattanooga kept fighting with their kills, but Lux gave ETSU set point and Braedyn Tutton finalized the match with a kill.

KEY STATS: Alyssa Kvarta (Crown Point, Ind.) notched her seventh double-double with 30 assists and 14 digs. Lexie Libs (Floyds Knobs, Ind.) had 22 assists.

Braedyn Tutton finished with eight blocks, which ties her career high. Tutton also added seven kills.

Milhorn had the team-high of 18 kills, followed by Clayton who had 15 and Lux who finished with 11.

Hailey Aguilar added in ten digs as well.

Up Next: ETSU will head to Spartanburg, S.C. on Friday, Oct. 13 to take on Wofford.

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