The ETSU volleyball team is the Southern Conference’s reigning regular season champions with a 13-3 record and have been nominated as favorites to repeat that feat with 63 first place votes.
Head Coach Lindsey Devine, who won the 2016 SoCon Coach of the Year last season, plans to lead the Buccaneers to another strong season. The Bucs finished last year 22-8 with a perfect 11-0 record at home.
Rylee Milhorn (Kingsport, Tennessee) and AJ Lux (Shelbyville, Indiana) were both named to the Preseason All-Conference Team.
The Buccaneers kicked off their 2017 season in the LUV Invitational this past weekend in Nashville against Lipscomb, Wichita State and No. 24-ranked Arizona. Each one of their opponents they faced this weekend played in the 2016 NCAA tournament.
“We have the athleticism and skill set to compete with the top teams,” Devine said. “And I think it is important for us to see what it takes to know where we need to be come November.”
Arizona was the highest ranked team the Bucs faced this past weekend and elevated their game to match the skill set of the Arizona Wildcats. In response, Devine said, “We showed relentless mindsets, had a great game plan and executed well.”
ETSU fared well against the tougher opponents but fell short in all three of the matches in Nashville.
“It lets the team know where we are and where we need to be,” Lux said. “I also think it will set us up for the conference tournament.”
The Bucs individually had a great tournament with three players recording over 20 kills. Lux recorded 22 kills over the weekend.
“My teammates did a really good job keeping the ball alive, passing and setting the ball up,” Lux said.
The other two players with 20 plus kills were Rylee Milhorn with 29 and Leah Clayton with 24 kills respectively.
The Bucs travel to Boone, North Carolina, on Friday to compete in the Appalachian State Invitational, where they will start the tournament taking on the Virginia Cavaliers at 4 p.m.