Volleyball Splits To Begin 2009 Season
Aug. 28, 2009
RICHMOND, Va. - After falling victim to a three-set comeback by Wright State and losing 3-2 in the opening match of the 2009 season, the East Carolina volleyball team responded with a solid 3-1 win over 2008 Big East regular season co-champion St. John's Friday at the VCU Invitational at the Siegel Center. The Pirates stand at 1-1 on the young season while the Red Storm fall to 0-1 to start its campaign.
In the first match and set, ECU and Wright State matched each other point for point until the Raiders pulled ahead at 17-14. The Raiders then established a 19-15 lead off of a kill by Becca Awaa, but the Pirates put three-straight kills together to pull within 19-18. After a Nicole Jones service error gave Wright State a 22-20 advantage, East Carolina fought back, taking a 24-23 lead before Hannah Fenker killed a ball into the deep right corner to give the Pirates the 25-23 set victory.
ECU out-hit the Raiders .288-.188 in the frame while also holding the edge in kills, 17-12.
After a tight beginning to the second set, the Pirates used a Wright State attack error to establish a 10-7 margin. Katie Prast followed with a kill to force a Raider timeout. With ECU winning 13-8, Wright State responded with a 5-0 run to tie the set. However, a nice serving run by Nicole Jones resulted in five consecutive points for the Pirates as they re-established the five-point cushion. The Raiders did not threaten again, as East Carolina closed out the interval, 25-20, to take a 2-0 match lead.
The Pirates only hit .088 in the set, but held Wright State to a -.071 and just seven kills.
Looking to close out the match, ECU racked up a 16-14 lead in the third set before the Raiders put together a 6-0 run to take command. Wright State would out-score the Pirates the rest of the way, taking the frame 25-18. The Raiders out-hit East Carolina .212-.185 while recording 16 kills to the Pirates' nine.
With the fourth set tied at 12, Wright State produced an 8-3 run to establish a comfortable 20-15 advantage. However, ECU pushed back, tying the score at 22-22 on a Raider attack error. Wright State put itself on the verge of winning the frame, 24-23, but the Pirates fought off three set points before the Raiders finally received the kill they needed to close out ECU, 28-26.
Wright State played well in the set, tallying 19 kills and hitting .295 while the Pirates notched 12 kills for a .205 percentage.
ECU held a 7-6 lead in the deciding set, but it would be its last advantage, as the Raiders out-scored the Pirates 9-3 to complete the comeback win. Wright State committed just one error in the frame, hitting .333 as compared to .217 for East Carolina.
Stephanie Turner led the Pirates with 17 kills, just one off of her career high, while producing a career-best 44 attempts and recording 14 digs for her first double-double of the season. Melissa Zentner also finished just one kill short of her personal best, as she tallied 15. Defensively, Nicole Jones produced her career-standard with 17 digs while Zentner and Kelly Derby, experiencing her first collegiate action, shared the team lead with seven blocks each.
ECU edged the Raiders in hitting percentage, .199-.144 but Wright State took over the match with its defense, enjoying a 77-51 margin in digs while also producing nine service aces.
In the second match of the day, St. John's jumped out to an 11-8 lead in the first set and would extend it to 19-14 on a Kun Song kill. The Pirates would pull within three multiple times, but could not complete the comeback, losing the frame 25-20.
East Carolina recorded more kills (13-10) and digs (25-19) in the set, but the Red Storm enjoyed a 5.5-2 advantage in blocking. Roper led the Pirates with six kills while Jones notched nine digs.
ECU pushed out to an 8-5 advantage in the second set, and with the score at 9-7, Fenker put together a nice service run to force a St. John's timeout with the Pirates leading 13-7. East Carolina would hold the Red Storm at arm's length the rest of the way, as Roper stuffed Ruisa Scheffel to end the frame and give the Pirates the 25-20 win.
ECU hit brilliantly in the frame, notching a .314 percentage on 15 kills and just four errors.
The teams played an even start to the third interval, with level scores at 4, 7 and 11 before the Pirates crept ahead 17-13, forcing a St. John's timeout. The Red Storm would get no closer than four for the remainder, as East Carolina shut down the set at 25-19.
The Pirates continued to hit well, doling out a .298 percentage as compared to .088 for St. John's while also holding an 18-6 margin in kills.
In the fourth set, the teams traded service errors before Turner served seven-straight points to give ECU an 8-1 advantage. The Pirates then took advantage of poor passing by the Red Storm to push out to a 17-5 lead and would cruise from there, closing out the contest 25-13 while hitting a blistering .526.
Roper set a career high in kills with 20 to lead all hitters for ECU while Turner tallied her second-consecutive double-double with 12 kills and 13 digs. Fenker also notched her first double-double of the season, handing out 46 assists and collecting 11 digs. Jones paced all Pirate defenders, turning in 15 digs.
East Carolina held the advantage in hitting percentage (.241-.098), kills (58-33) and digs (58-46), responding from a tough first set.
The Pirates continue the season tomorrow, closing out their participation in the VCU Invitational with a contest against the host Rams at 6 p.m.