There is no question that ETSU volleyball has enjoyed it share of success in the last few years. But there was that last obstacle, a hurdle that brought the Bucs to the point of, "Enough is Enough."
The Bucs have been in the A-Sun Volleyball Championship semifinals in five of the last six years. They played for a title two years ago, falling in five sets to Lipscomb. They have had recorded more than 23 wins in two of the last three seasons, and this year they have nice non-conference wins over Marshall, Charlotte, Akron, and Temple along with 13 wins over A-Sun opponents.
But, particularly in the A-Sun Championship, after a while being so close just doesn't cut it.
The Bucs released some of that frustration in the fifth set against North Florida on Saturday, jumping out to a 6-0 and leading 9-2 before winning the set 15-12.
"There were really calm today, there was a great sense of confidence from everybody," said ETSU head Coach Lindsey Devine. "To get here is a lot of preparation, a lot of hard work, and the girls realized that there are a lot of people who have supported us and counted on us, and we don't want to let anybody down."
"Now that we have gotten to this point, it is a belief that everyday that you look at scouting reports or you bring a recruit in or work hard with the team, everyday is worth it. For me personally it is the culmination of a lot of time, work, but really no more than anyone else in this program has done, from the players, staff, athletic department, trainers, etc. It is everyone wanting the same thing."
In 2010 the Bucs lost to Lipscomb in five sets in the championship final. But this year, Devine says that even when the match stretched again to a fifth set, the look in the eyes of this team was not of one that was going to lose.
"A part of me was thinking, 'Ok, I've been here, and Megan has been here, but no one else has. They have heard about the last final, but they weren't a part of it. When I looked into their faces, I just saw this look of 'we've come so far, we are not going to hand it over.' Regardless of the outcome we were going to battle, and put it all out on the floor."
This has also been a special year for Devine's daughter Megan. She began the season as the A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year, then claimed the honor just a week ago. She has been ranked among the nation's top 50 most of the season in kills and points per set, and tonight along with earning Tournament MVP honors, she helped her team get the monkey off her back.
"This is an unbelievable feeling, just to be back her again and get that win and to be a part of this ETSU team," said Megan Devine. When the match went to a fifth set, Megan's thoughts did not drift to the 2010 loss, but rather reflected a mindset that seemingly has pervaded this team all season.
"I thought the same thing that we've thought all year – we can do this, we just have to put our mind to it. We took it point by point. UNF is playing as a great team, but when we play our game we are unstoppable."