With three games remaining in the regular season, ETSU stood at 6-1 in the Atlantic Sun Conference with a chance to claim the overall No. 1 seed in the A-Sun Championship, but the Buccaneers fell to Kennesaw State and Mercer, 3-1, in consecutive matches to drop to the third seed in the postseason tournament.
However, ETSU head coach Lindsey Devine and the Bucs recollected themselves in the season finale to sweep USC Upstate and now have claimed victories in their first two matches against No. 6 UNF and No. 2 Kennesaw State to advance to the program’s first A-Sun Championship Final with a showdown against No. 1 Lipscomb.
“This game of volleyball is all about momentum and I know that if our team plays emotional we will make errors, but if we stay calm and continue to talk to one another we will continue with our great play,” Devine said.
In the A-Sun Semifinal against Kennesaw State, ETSU busted out of the gate to a 2-0 lead against the Owls in search of revenge for their late-season loss to the Owls. After falling in the third set, 30-28, the Bucs regained their composure to rebound for a 25-22 triumph in the fourth set to take down the Owls giving ETSU their vindication with the four-set victory and now also a chance to claim the program’s first-ever title.
“Revenge is sweet,” Lauren Baufield stated of the win over the Owls. “We knew coming into the tournament we would probably face Kennesaw State in the semifinals and as a team we were all ready and the momentum took us past them.”
“I feel that our squad is in such a great spot in regards to the way they are playing it wouldn’t have mattered who was on the other side of the net tonight because the focus, the spirit and competitiveness we showed after falling in the third set really exemplifies our team,” said coach Devine of the exciting third set. “We could have folded after that and lost the match, but we kept competing and came away victorious.”
With only Lipscomb standing in their way for an A-Sun title, the Bucs will need to once again regain their composure and show that same competitive spirit in order to defeat the Lady Bisons, who dismissed Belmont 3-0 in the prior semifinal and enter with a 14-match winning streak.