No. 1 California Pushes Past ECU, 3-0
Sept. 3, 2011
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - East Carolina closed out its participation in the Jefferson Cup at Memorial Gymnasium with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-18) loss to the nation's No. 1 team California Saturday on the campus of the University of Virginia. It was the first time in program history the Pirates (1-3) faced the country's top team.
Senior Britney Roper led the offense for the third-straight match, putting down nine kills, while redshirt junior Kelly Derby had yet another efficient hitting effort - recording five kills on 13 attempts with just one error. Senior Jackie Varnum was brilliant at the net, posting a career-best nine blocks (eight assists) as ECU out-blocked the Bears 12-6. Additionally, sophomore Shelby Beasley picked up double-digit digs for the second consecutive match with 10 in the three sets.
Cal held the advantage in kills (44-22) assists (42-20) and digs (57-40). However, East Carolina committed two less errors than the Bears, 20-18. In terms of sideout percentage, Cal was also better, siding out at 62 percent as compared to a 44 percent mark for ECU.
With the score tied at four in the first set, Cal put together a 6-1 run to force a timeout from the Pirate bench. The Bears then raced to their largest lead when Adrienne Gehan recorded a kill to make the score 16-8. ECU responded with one more run, cutting the deficit to 20-15 before Cal took five of the next eight rallies to close out the frame.
Roper posted four kills in the set on 13 attempts while Jones was the leader on defense with four digs. The Bears hit a solid .225 but committed eight attack errors while the Pirates fired at a .129 clip with seven kills on 31 attempts. Cal also out-dug ECU 19-12.
The Bears jumped out to a 5-1 lead but an Amanda Lutzow kill cut the deficit to 7-4. Varnum kept East Carolina close with a kill to make the score 12-9, but Cal put together three-straight scores to draw a timeout from the Pirates. With the Bears ahead 18-11, ECU made one last push as freshman Zarah Cecich came in to set. ECU would draw within 21-15 on a Roper kill but Cal went on a 4-2 stretch to close out the interval.
Roper and Derby posted three kills apiece in the set while Kavanaugh went to work defensively and racked up four digs. The Pirates also out-blocked the Bears 4-3 in the frame.
A 5-1 advantage for Cal quickly turned into a 10-3 deficit for East Carolina as head coach Pati Rolf called the team's first timeout of the set. The teams traded points as Christina Higgins kept the Bears in front 15-7 with a high jump and powerful kill from the left. Cal would then take leads of 20-14 and 23-15 on the way to the 25-18 match-clinching score.
For her efforts over the weekend, Derby was named to the Jefferson Cup All-Tournament Team.
ECU will continue its campaign Friday, September 9 when it takes on host UNC Wilmington in the second match of the Hilton Garden Inn Mayfaire Tournament. First serve at newly-renovated Hanover Hall is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.