The ETSU Volleyball team brought a new experience to Brooks Gym for their season opener this past weekend — the team hosted their very own tournament.
This is the first time the Bucs have hosted a tournament since 2010 and the first time ETSU has started a season 3-0 since 2012. The DoubleTree Hotel Buccaneer Challenge began on Friday, Aug. 26 and included ETSU, Austin Peay, USC Upstate and Troy.
“Having our own home tournament is a great feeling,” said Head Coach Lindsey Devine. “It’s a great feeling having the athletic department behind us and the belief that this is a great event. Being home on your first weekend is exactly where we wanted to be.”
This is also Devine’s 14th season as head coach and she comes in with a 223-192 record with the Bucs.
The Bucs first faced Austin Peay to kick the tournament off. Austin Peay stood no chance. ETSU swept the Governors 3-0, defeating them 25-19 in the first set, 25-10 in the second and 25-16 in the final.
Rylee Milhorn (Kingsport, Tenn.) kept the pace for the Bucs as she ended with the team-high in kills (12), six of them coming from the final set.
It was a good way to head into day two for the Bucs.
Day two consisted of two games. The team went against Troy at noon and later played USC Upstate at 5 p.m.
Troy gave the Bucs a good fight, but failed to close the first two sets. The Bucs swept Troy also 3-0, defeating them 25-22 in the first set, 27-25 in the second and 25-17 in the final set. This is the first time the team has ever beaten Troy.
Milhorn had another dominant performance, leading the team with 16 kills on 31 attempts. Teammate Kristen Farve (Plano, Texas) helped out a lot also as she finished with 22 assists.
“We have a great back row,” Milhorn said. “It makes being on the front row easier. Our setters can have great execution and our middles can pull blocks. So it makes it a lot easier to get a hit or two and to be successful.”
In their last match against USC Upstate the Bucs were lighting it up, they hit .343 as a team, which is the second-highest for ETSU in the past two seasons. The effort resulted in a 3-0 sweep to end the tournament for the Bucs, 25-21 in the first set, 25-15 in the second and 25-20 in the final round.
Briana Allmon (Flower Mound, Texas) ended with 10 kills, Braedyn Tutton (Courtice, Ontario, Canada) and AJ Lux (Shelbyville, Ind.) who ended with eight kills each.
Lux, Farve and Milhorn all earned All-Tournament honors. Milhorn received the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award.
“Having a good team behind me really gives me the confidence that I can do what I need to do,” Milhorn said.
The Bucs will next head to Lynchburg, Virginia on Sept. 2 to enter the Liberty Invitational. The team will face Hampton to start the tournament at 4:30 p.m.