Volleyball Wins, Ties Best Start In History
Sept. 12, 2008
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Facing a team that went to the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament could have proved to be a daunting task for East Carolina's volleyball team. However, in the team's opening match of the Black & Gold Challenge inside Reynolds Gym in Winston-Salem on Friday afternoon, East Carolina played like the more experienced and talented team in sweeping Delaware 3-0. The victory pushes ECU's record to 8-2 for the first time since 1997 and only the second time ever.
With the win, ECU now has seven sweeps on the year after recording just eight throughout the 2007 season. The victory is also the program's first ever against the Blue Hens and handed Delaware its sixth loss of the season, one more than the team had all of last season.
After a brief 3-3 tie to begin set one, the Pirates won 12 of the next 16 points to pull out to a 15-7 lead. ECU continued to pour on the points as the team led 21-12 before a Blue Hen rally made the final score 25-17. Defense was the story in the opening set, as Delaware was held to a minuscule .108 hitting percentage. Offensively, the Pirates were led by freshman outside hitter Amanda Lutzow's seven kills and junior setter Hannah Fenker's 13 assists.
Set two started off well for the Blue Hens as freshman outside hitter Meghan Bonk recorded two kills at the start, giving Delaware a quick 2-0 lead, before stretching out the lead to 6-1. Until midway through the set, whenever ECU made a run, the Blue Hens had a response and did not let the Pirates get closer than two points. With Delaware leading 14-13, East Carolina then tied the score at 15 and went ahead 20-17 before another late Blue Hen rally knotted the score at 22 each. The teams then traded points until the Pirates' junior right side hitter Stephanie Turner and sophomore middle blocker Lizzy Bruin pounded home back-to-back kills, leading ECU to the 28-26 victory.
Trading points was the way the third set began until Delaware was able to take a three point lead at 8-5. Back-and-forth the action continued as no team established a lead of larger than four. With the score deadlocked at 16, the Pirates surged out to a 19-16 lead before the Blue Hens narrowed the score to 19-18. The final set again went down to the wire as the score was even at both 20 and 21 apiece. After an attack error by Zentner allowed Delaware to get within one point at 24-23, Turner picked up the final point of the match on a thunderous kill.
For the match, Lutzow led the way with 13 kills while Zentner picked up 11 and Turner eight. Senior defensive specialist Trish Monroe played her regular outstanding defense with 18 digs while junior outside hitter Katie Prast tallied 13. Finally, Bruin led the blocking with four block assists.
Tomorrow ECU returns to action in the Black & Gold Challenge and faces what might be its most challenging day of the season thus far. The Pirates take on the host team at 12:30 p.m. before facing Western Michigan at 4:30 p.m. In that match, the Pirates will see a familiar face behind the bench for the Broncos, as former East Carolina head coach Colleen Munson now leads Western Michigan.