Pirates Down Seahawks
Sept. 17, 2008
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Having been swept twice to end the Black & Gold Challenge on Saturday might have provided some motivation for the East Carolina volleyball team, as it bounced back with a win on Wednesday night. The Pirates recorded their 10th victory in a row over UNC Wilmington, downing the Seahawks 3-1 inside Minges Coliseum. The victory ups ECU's record to 9-4 while also handing UNC Wilmington its first loss of the season against an opponent from the state of North Carolina.
The Seahawks began the match by gaining a quick 3-1 advantage before the Pirates tied the score at 5-5. The teams traded points and were deadlocked at 10 each before East Carolina stormed ahead 18-13. UNC Wilmington then rallied to force a 20-20 tie before ECU notched the 25-21 win. The Pirate offense was led by sophomore middle blocker Lizzy Bruin, who collected four kills, and 13 assists from junior setter Hannah Fenker. Conference USA Defensive Player-of-the-Week Trish Monroe again anchored the back row, tallying seven digs while freshman outside hitter Amanda Lutzow collected five.
In set two, the teams traded points throughout as 16 ties occurred and neither team ever led by more than two points. The Pirates pulled out the hard-fought 25-23 victory as Bruin again had the team-high in kills with five. Junior right side hitter Stephanie Turner pounded home three kills in the set and Monroe added five more digs.
UNC Wilmington would not go down easily, however, as it won the third set 25-19. Again, the Pirates got behind early, but this time they could not catch up. East Carolina trailed 8-3, 10-4 and 12-6 before cutting the Seahawk lead to just one at 16-15. The Pirates were never able to force the tie, however, and UNC Wilmington won nine of the next 13 points to win the set.
From the start of set four, a more focused Pirate team was on the floor and took control early, leading 9-5 before forcing a Seahawk timeout. UNC Wilmington came back on the floor and shrank the Pirate lead to just one point at 11-10 before the Pirates pushed the lead back to five at 17-12. East Carolina led 18-14, and the outcome was still in doubt, before three straight Erica Banning kills put the set out of reach, leading the team to a 25-15 victory in the final set.
Offensively for the Pirates, the night belonged to Bruin, whose 16 kills were one shy of her season and career-high. Her 16 kills came in just 32 attempts and she committed only one error, leading to an outstanding .469 hitting percentage. Banning also made it into double-figures in kills with 10. Monroe topped the dig chart with 20 while Lutzow finished with 10.
The Pirates return to action on Friday, hosting the East Carolina Invitational. The first match of the day is set to begin at 4 p.m. and features Morgan State taking on North Carolina State. In the nightcap, ECU opens the Conference USA portion of the season by facing Marshall at 7 p.m.