Pirates Fall in Straight Sets to Southeast Missouri

UABSPORTS.COM Freshman middle hitter Kierra Lee-Dunson
Freshman middle hitter Kierra Lee-Dunson

Aug. 31, 2012

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MILWAUKEE, Wisc. - In just the fourth game of the season, junior Nicole Willis notched her third double-double of the year, however it was not enough as the Pirates fell in straight sets (21-25, 20-25, 13-25) to Southeast Missouri at the Milwaukee Invitational Friday evening. With the loss, East Carolina falls to 1-3, while SEMO improves to 4-2.

ECU put up a tough fight in the first set as it tied the game nine times throughout the set. Although SEMO managed to take a three-point advantage on five separate occasions, the Pirates continued to battle back and eventually knotted the score at 21-all on a kill by freshman Kierra Lee-Dunson. Nevertheless the Redhawks never gave up their lead and finished the set on four consecutive points to win set one by a score of 25-21.

The Pirates refused to quit despite falling behind early in the second set. ECU rallied and rattled off four points on back-to-back kills by Willis and senior Kelly Derby, followed by a pair of SEMO miscues to even the score at 11. With East Carolina hot on their heels, the Redhawks surged ahead and took the second set, 25-20.

The third and final set was hard-fought for the Pirates, but they were unable to overcome eight attack errors and a 36 percent sideout percentage. Southeast Missouri, on the other hand, came out swinging and coasted to a 25-13 victory.

Willis finished the match as the Pirates leading attacker with 12 kills, 14 digs, a .216 hitting percentage, and one service ace. Junior outside hitter Hannah Allgood turned in a solid performance with nine kills and eight digs, while sophomore setter Zarah Cecich accumulated 26 assists, a pair of digs and a single kill. Junior defensive specialist and libero Shelby Beasley came off the bench and posted 11 digs with a pair of assists.

Southeast Missouri was led by Brittney Kalinoski who led the squad with 14 kills, 12 digs, one block assist, and a service ace. Setter Julie Shives tallied 32 assists, with six kills, five digs, and a block assist for the Redhawks.

The Pirates look to get back on the winning track Saturday, Sept. 1, when they go head-to-head with Bradley at noon and host Milwaukee at 8 p.m. to conclude the Milwaukee Invitational.