Cullowhee, N.C. – Despite the influence of a raucous home crowd, the Western Carolina volleyball team dropped a 3-0 decision to ETSU in Southern Conference action on Wednesday evening inside the Ramsey Center. The Bucs won by scores of 25-20, 25-18, and 25-18.

ETSU improves to 16-3 overall and 7-0 in league games while Western Carolina drops to 12-8 and 6-1. The loss snaps a 10-match winning streak for the Catamounts.

Merry Gebel led the Catamount offense with nine kills with MaKenzie White and Aleah Keaton credited with six kills each. Abigail Veit had 11 digs followed by Meagan Sanchez and Caroline Perret with nine each. Hannah Price dished out a team-best 25 assists. Keaton had one solo block and one block assist as Gebel, Veit and Price each recorded block assists.

Sara Esposito led four ETSU players in double figures with 13 kills. Lauren Hatch tallied 11 kills followed by Oliva Cunningham and Kaela Massey with 10. Marija Popovic had a match-best 22 digs. ETSU had six service aces but also had 10 serving errors.

The Catamounts took a 7-4 lead in the opening set before the Buccaneers scored the next five points to claim a 9-7 advantage. ETSU pushed its lead to 17-11 before the Catamounts pulled within four, 18-14, on a block by Price and Keaton. The Buccaneers scored four of the next five points and clinched the opening set with a Massey service ace.

ETSU led the second set 3-1 before the Catamounts evened the frame at 4 with a Gebel kill. The Buccaneers enjoyed a 12-8 lead before the Catamounts went on a 4-1 run, pulling to within a point on a Gebel kill. With the visitors leading 14-13, ETSU went on a 4-0 run to lead 18-14 only to see the Catamounts pull back within two. WCU got no closer as the Buccaneers scored six of the next seven points to take control of the set.

The Buccaneers scored four of the first five points in the third set and used a 3-0 run to extend their lead to 11-5. Western Carolina pulled within five, 15-10, after an ETSU error but got no closer for the rest of the way.

The Catamounts look to start a new winning streak on Saturday, traveling to Samford for a 6 p.m. Eastern Time match.

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