Volleyball Starts ECU Invitational With A Hit
Sept. 19, 2008
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina volleyball team opened the Conference USA portion of the season tonight against Marshall inside Minges Coliseum; and it could not have gotten off to a better start. For the first time in eight meetings, East Carolina defeated the Thundering Herd, winning 3-1. With the victory, ECU improves to 10-4 (1-0 C-USA), while Marshall dips to 5-4 (0-1 C-USA).
"We had talked before the match and said that it was going to be a fight to the finish. And we fought all the way, from point one to the end," head coach Chris Rushing said after the win. "It was a total team effort tonight."
The start of the match could hardly have been more closely contested, as neither team was able to gain more than a two point advantage in set one. Marshall held a 3-1 led before the teams traded points until the Herd was again ahead by two, at 15-13. Action again created alternating points and ECU forced ties at 23, 24, 25 and finally, at 26 points. Back-to-back kills by Marshall's Jalicia Ross and Elizabeth Fleming then gave the Herd the hard-fought 28-26 victory. In the opening set, East Carolina was led by Amanda Lutzow and Stephanie Turner, who each had four kills. On defense, Trish Monroe and Hannah Fenker both tallied five digs in the set to pace the team.
Unlike in the first set, the second set featured the Pirates controlling the action early and often. After the set was tied 2-2, ECU won eight of the next 11 points to grab a 10-5 lead, which the team would not relinquish. East Carolina held leads of 13-5, 16-8 and 20-12 during the set and won 25-15.
Again in set three, the action was close and the excitement high, as each team's biggest lead was just three points. The Pirates were ahead 12-9 before Marshall forced a 13-13 tie and then went ahead 20-17. The Pirates would not give up, however, as they won the next three points to tie the score at 20 points apiece. The score would also be tied at 21, 22 and 23 points. This time, it was ECU who got the next two points, winning the set 25-23. Turner pounded home five kills in the set while Melissa Zentner added four.
In the final set the score was tied 5-5 before Pirates went on a 9-5 run, giving the team a 14-10 advantage. East Carolina pushed the lead out to 17-13 before a Herd rally closed the gap to just one point at 17-16. With the score deadlocked at 20, an Elizabeth Herman kill followed by two ECU attack errors gave Marshall a 23-20 advantage. Again, there was no quit in the Pirates, as Zentner pounded home a kill and Herman had two attack errors of her own to knot the score again, 23-23. Zentner again rose to the occasion, tallying the final two kills of the set, giving East Carolina the 25-23 victory.
For the match, the Pirates had three hitters reach double-figure kills, with Turner's 14 leading the way. Zentner added 13 kills and Lutzow picked up 12 on the night. Setter Hannah Fenker had 44 assists and also chipped in with 10 digs, good for her second double-double of the season. Zentner and Erica Banning each had three block assists to lead the team.
"This was the first time that East Carolina has beaten Marshall, and it showed from the celebration after the final point," Rushing added. "You could just tell how badly the team wanted this win, and to start conference play at 1-0."
The Pirates do not have long to celebrate the victory as they return to the court tomorrow at 1 p.m. against Morgan State and then again at 7 p.m. for a nightcap against intrastate rival N.C. State.