Pirates Fall Twice To End Thunder Invitational
Sept. 17, 2011
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - East Carolina's nonconference slate came to a close Saturday as the Pirates fell to Central Michigan (22-25, 12-25, 26-24, 16-25) and George Mason (21-25, 21-25, 13-25) to end the Thunder Invitational at the Cam Henderson Center. The Pirates now stand at 2-8 overall.
Against George Mason, Kelly Derby and Britney Roper paced the offense with seven kills each while Shelby Beasley picked up a team-best 10 digs. Jackie Varnum also added two service aces and three block assists.
The Patriots outhit the Pirates .243-.082 and also out-blocked ECU 10.0-4.0 as East Carolina was outblocked for just the third time this year. The Pirates did pass well, committing just two reception errors.
George Mason established a 9-1 advantage to begin the first frame, but a Kelsey Bohman attack error capped a 6-2 run for ECU as the Pirates closed to 12-7. East Carolina could not sustain the momentum, however, allowing the Patriots to take six of the next nine rallies and take an insurmountable 18-10 advantage. The Pirates were able to cut the deficit to 24-21 with a Tori Price offensive miscue, but Laura Spencer posted a kill on the next play to end the frame.
The serving of Hannah Allgood propelled ECU to a 6-1 advantage in the second interval, but George Mason fought back to tie the proceedings at seven. A Jackie Varnum ace seemed to put the Pirates in control of the set with an 18-13 lead. However, GMU answered with an 8-3 stretch to tie the score at 21. The Patriots kept rolling, capturing the next four rallies to complete an improbable comeback and take a 2-0 match lead.
George Mason scored the first three points of the third frame before keeping ECU at arm's length by scoring six of the next nine points. A pair of Derby kills could not stop the Patriots' momentum, as they established a 15-5 advantage and forced the second and final timeout from the Pirate bench. East Carolina cut the deficit to seven at 17-10, but that was as close as the Pirates would come. GMU would end the matchup with an 8-3 run.
Varnum was the offensive leader for the Pirates against the Chippewas, downing eight kills while Derby chipped in with six. Beasley paced the back row, collecting 13 digs to go along with seven total blocks and two service aces by Varnum. In total, the senior scored 14.5 points in the contest.
CMU hit .240 as compared to a .065 mark for ECU. Central Michigan also captured advantages in kills (57-28) and digs (57-34) but the Pirates out-blocked the Chips 8.0-6.0.
A kill by freshman Zarah Cecich gave ECU an early 5-3 advantage in the first set before Central Michigan put together a 6-2 run to push in front by two. The Pirates responded by scoring eight of the next 12 points with just one kill to take a 15-13 lead as the Chippewas began to make errors.
The advantage would not last long however, as the CMU ignited and propelled it to a 20-17 cushion while forcing a timeout from the East Carolina bench. The Chippewas would take further control, netting three of the next four points to shut the Pirates down and take the frame 25-22.
Central Michigan established a stranglehold on the second interval quickly, assuming a 9-0 lead. ECU rallied to within 12-5, but it was too late as the Chippewas took advantages of 14-6 and 19-9 on the way to a 25-12 victory and a 2-0 match lead.
The Pirates recovered in the third frame, racing in front 8-4 when sophomore Andrea Queck recorded a service ace to draw a timeout from the CMU bench. A 9-4 run by East Carolina stretched its lead to 17-8, prompting the Chippewas to call their second timeout as Roper posted an ace of her own.
ECU looked to have complete control of the set, but with the Pirates ahead 23-16, Central Michigan rattled off seven consecutive scores to draw even. The Chippewas fended off two set points before East Carolina finally turned them away with a Kasey Kavanaugh kill and a Kelly Maxwell attack error for a 26-24 triumph.
Things looked bleak for the Pirates in the beginning of the fourth frame as CMU established an 11-5 advantage, but a 7-2 run capped off by a Whitney Campbell kill pulled ECU to within one point at 13-12. The Chippewas would eventually recover, allowing the Pirates to score just four more times while netting the last four points of the match themselves to close out the contest with a 25-16 scoreline.
East Carolina closes its 11-match road swing next weekend, traveling first to Memphis and then Birmingham for a pair of Conference USA matchups. The Pirates are slated to face the Tigers at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse Sept. 23 at 8 p.m.