“This is a great opportunity for ETSU,” Devine said. “It’s going to be a challenging match, but I think that our girls are ready to embrace this moment. You never know what can happen. We just have to play hard and with heart. We want to make our community and ETSU very proud of us.”
The Bucs are given them reason to be proud so far. They have posted a 19-11 overall record and went 12-4 in the Southern Conference regular season. They weren’t seriously challenged in the league tournament, posting 3-0 sweeps over Western Carolina, UNC Greensboro and Wofford.
It is the first meeting of the teams since the Wildcats eliminated the Bucs from the 2012 NCAA tournament with a 3-0 sweep.
This bunch of Wildcats went 26-3 in the regular season and were 17-1 in the SEC, tied with Florida for the league title.
Leah Edmond, a 6-foot-2 sophomore from Lexington, leads the way with 465 kills and 36 aces. It comes a year after she was named SEC freshman of the year and a third-team All-American.
Other Kentucky leaders include Madison Lilley with 1,236 assists and Ashley Dusek with 345 digs.
ETSU counters with Rylee Milhorn, a 5-foot-10 senior from Kingsport, who leads the team with 395 kills and 47 aces. Fellow senior Leah Clayton has 346 kills, while other leaders are Marija Popovic with 467 digs and Alyssa Kvarta with 660 assists.