Junior Outside Hitter Nicole Willis
Sept. 21, 2012
DALLAS, Texas – Nicole Willis recorded 10 kills in East Carolina’s 3-0 (17-25, 22-25, 13-25) loss to Conference USA foe SMU at Moody Coliseum Friday night.
Willis was the only Pirate to reach double-figure kills in the setback. Her 10 kills marked the fourth straight match in which she notched double-figure kills. She also recorded eight digs, a pair of assists and a blocks. Senior Kelly Derby notched five kills on 13 attempts without committing an error for a .385 attack percentage. The middle hitter added six digs and two block assists in the contest. Junior Shelby Beasley led the squad with 12 digs in the back row. She also tallied a pair of assists. Junior Kasey Kavanaugh and sophomore Zarah Cecich each contributed nine assists at setter.
East Carolina (1-12, 0-2 C-USA) kept the game close in the first set as it remained within a few points. It was not until SMU (4-10, 1-1 C-USA) went on a 4-0 run that put the Mustangs up 14-10 that the Pirates found themselves in a hole they were unable to dig themselves out of. From there SMU’s offense surged and the Mustangs went on to take the first set, 25-17.
Despite falling behind early in the second frame (0-3), the Pirates knocked down 11 kills and hit .219 to take the lead (10-9). The Pirates continued to put the ball away and jumped out in front by as many as four points (19-15) forcing an SMU timeout. The break in action helped the Mustangs regroup as they came back and knotted the game at 20-all. The hosts took advantage of back-to-back attack errors by the Pirates to take a 22-20 lead and eventually stole the set from the Pirates by a score of 25-22.
SMU’s Maddie Lozano posted a match-high 12 kills, three service aces, and two block assists. Setter Olivia Bailey notched 36 assists and six digs for the Mustangs.
The Pirates will travel to the Sooner State to take on Tulsa in a Conference USA affair on Sunday, Sept. 23. Match time is set for 2 p.m.