“It was a tough battle,” Rosenthal said. “It was what we expected. I give credit to our girls. They did a really nice job of battling all of the elements.
“The crowd was loud. The Brooks gym was warm. And the officiating was O.K.”
It was the 28th consecutive regular season conference win for the Lady Bisons. It was also the fifth straight win, all by sweeps. The Lady Bisons have swept 10 of their opponents this season.
Last season ETSU was the only A-Sun team to win more than one set against the Lady Bisons in a match. They lost to the Lady Bisons 3-2 in Johnson City and then fell 3-1 at Allen Arena under the double round-robin format.
The Lady Bisons dominated set one, winning 25-17 behind a .458 hitting percentage. Sets two and three weren’t quite as smooth. In set two the Lady Bisons trailed by four points early and were down by two points at 17-15 before rallying and holding off ETSU the rest of the way for a 25-21 lead.
In set three the Lady Bisons were ahead 6-3 to open the set, but allowed ETSU to make a comeback. ETSU held a 16-12 lead and appeared to be in control of the set. But the Lady Bisons, down 21-19, would not be denied the sweep as outside hitter Kaycee Green and middle blocker Alex Kelly put together a string of kills for a 25-23 set win. Green ended the set and the match with a kill.
“Kaycee struggled all during the match,” Rosenthal said. “She was kind of hesitant through the whole match. We encouraged her to keep swinging. She came up big when we needed her most at the end of the match. I was proud of her.”
Kelly led the Lady Bisons with 17 kills. She was the only player on either team to finish in double figures.
“I never ever question if Alex is going to be ready or what she is going to do,” Rosenthal said. “We needed her in this match.
“I also thought Char Ursell came up with a couple of key kills and a couple of blocks at the right time. But they don’t have her down for any blocks on the stat sheet.”
Middle blocker Katie Rose led the Lady Bisons with 10 digs.
“Our defense as a whole came through at the end,” Rosenthal said. “I thought it was a good effort overall.”
Defensively, Kiley Tamblyn posted a match-high 12 digs for ETSU.
“At the end of the match we were down by three and came back. Dot Dotson served and did a great job of serving tough and getting the job done. It was an anti-climatic finish. I was pretty happy to get the `W’ and get out of there.
“We did a nice job serving. If you look at their distribution it is heavily on the outside because we did a nice job of keeping them off the net. We forced them to take some shots they didn’t want to take.”
The Lady Bisons are 14-5 overall, 3-0 in the conference. ETSU dropped to 15-6, 1-1 in the A-Sun.
The Lady Bisons have little time to rest. The road trip continues Saturday at 2 when the Lady Bisons visit USC Upstate.
“We will be ready,” Rosenthal said. “ETSU was a good wake up call for us. We can’t take a match off.
“Upstate does a nice job of playing with a lot of energy. They are a little bit unorthodox. They can frustrate you because they are so scrappy.”
Written by Mark McGee. Senior Publisker/Director of Media Relations.