East Carolina Drops Five Set Battle to Coastal Carolina

UABSPORTS.COM Sophomore setter Zarah Cecich
Sophomore setter Zarah Cecich

Sept. 15, 2012

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Box Score | 2012 Pirate Invitational

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Junior Shelby Beasley was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Pirate Invitational after registering 18 digs in East Carolina's 3-2 (25-14, 25-18, 21-25, 22-25, 8-15) loss to Coastal Carolina Saturday night.

The Pirates (1-11) dominated the match to start as they hit .250 in the first set while limiting the Chanticleers (2-7) to a -.158 attack percentage. Beasley was solid on defense as she controlled the ball in the back row and paced East Carolina with her consistent and hard-nosed style of play. Offensively, the Pirates recorded nine kills in the first frame and cruised to a 25-14 win after taking the lead, 8-7 on a Beasley service ace and never looked back.

The smooth and confident energy ECU played with in the first set rolled over into the second, as the Pirates controlled the game hitting .333 as a team and held the Chants to a mere .143 hitting percentage. The Pirates also posted a 77-percent sideout ratio, their highest in the match. Junior Nicole Willis stepped up on offense and slammed a match-high 23 kills and added 13 digs for her sixth double-double of the year as she helped the hosts take set two by a score of 25-18.

After the 10-minute intermission, Coastal Carolina seemed to put the previous two sets behind it and fought hard to avoid the sweep. The Chanticleers did just that as they posted 14 kills in the frame and hit .282. Coastal's Meghan Laffin led the offense with a total of 19 kills and hit .368 on the night. Her balanced attack game helped the Chants even the score 13 times and battle back from dropping the first two frames and eventually win set three, 25-21.

East Carolina did not bat an eye at the setback; the Pirates jumped right back into game four and took a 4-1 lead. Setter Zarah Cecich controlled the ball well setting up 33 balls for as many assists on the evening. Despite falling behind, Cecich's steady hands helped the Pirates stay within striking distance and ECU eventually knotted the score at 22-all taking advantage of a Coastal attack error. However, the Chants would regain the lead and lay down three consecutive points to win the set, 25-22, and force a game five.

Having won the first two sets and letting the next two slip out of their fingers, the Pirates were determined and started the fifth and final set with a kill by Willis to make it 2-1, Coastal Carolina. Despite ECU's drive, the Chanticleers' defense was on point and held the Pirates to a -.048 attack percentage. The East Carolina offense began to struggle as well and was only able to notch four kills in the frame as it fell, 15-8.

Despite the loss, the Pirates turned in a solid overall performance and held the edge on sideouts with a 59-percent, while the Chants posted a 58-percent. Senior Kelly Derby helped set the tone for the Pirates as she recorded her fourth-straight match with nine total blocks. The Chapel Hill, N.C., native also added six kills and four digs for ECU. Junior Virginia Fitch led the Pirates with a .455 hitting percentage as she recorded five kills on 11 attacks without committing an error. Hannah Allgood was consistent once again as she tallied 14 digs, eight kills, and added a pair of blocks in the contest. In addition to 18 digs, Beasley also contributed a team-best four service aces and three assists. Willis added to her double-double performance with five block assists, while Cecich added seven digs, three kills on nine attempts for a .333 hitting percentage and a pair of block assists to go along with her 33 assists.

East Carolina travels to Southern Methodist on Friday, Sept. 21, to begin conference action. The Pirates and the Mustangs will square off at 8 p.m. (ET) time.

Pirate Invitational All-Tournament Team
Meghan Laffin, Coastal Carolina
Shelby Beasley, East Carolina
Sherelle Walker, UMBC
Mallory McIntyre, UMBC
Katy Schad, Marshall
Sacha Byous-McConnell, Marshall
Dorothy Rahal, Marshall (MVP)