Sept. 21, 2013
BOONE, N.C. –The East Carolina volleyball team saw its win streak halted at five as the Pirates dropped two matches on the final day of the Black and Gold Challenge to Denver, 3-2 [13-25, 25-16, 25-21, 20-25, 9-15], and UT Arlington, 3-1 [23-25, 17-25, 25-20, 20-25].
Nicole Willis turned in a solid effort for ECU (7-7) as she recorded a double-double with 18 kills and 16 digs to go with two blocks and a pair of assists against Denver (6-6). In the first match of the day, Torre Blake recorded a career-high 13 kills en route to being named to the All-Tournament Team, while Zarah Cecich notched 43 assists, eight digs, three kills, two service aces and one block. Shelby Beasley registered 10 digs, two aces and two assists, while Kierra Lee-Dunson posted seven kills, three digs, one block and hit .286 in the setback.
The Pirates got off to a slow start against Denver as they were limited to a .127 hitting percentage and held to 49 kills and 50 digs in the match. After dropping the first set, 25-13, ECU bounced back and claimed the second set by a score of 25-16 while the defense forced the Pioneers into a negative attack percentage (-.120). The third frame was much like the second as Denver hit -.194 while East Carolina tallied nine kills en route to a 25-21 victory. Leading two games to one, the Pirates were unable to close out the match in the fourth set as Denver’s offense turned in a solid performance tallying 16 kills and hitting .467 as the Pioneers’ defeated the Pirates 25-20 to force a fifth and final set. East Carolina hit .294 in the fifth game, but could not stop the Denver offense that hit .444 with nine kills and just one attack error as the Pioneers went on to take the final set 15-9.
In the second match of the day, East Carolina was led by Willis, Blake, and Cecich offensively. Willis registered a team-high 14 kills to go with eight digs, while Blake notched nine kills, and Cecich dished out a match-best 33 assists. Defensively, Beasley notched 14 digs, while Erika Figueroa added eight. Kierra Lee-Dunson was solid at the net as she put up five total blocks and added four kills and one assist.
Although East Carolina led for most of the first set, UT Arlington (7-6) rallied and managed to pull off a come-from-behind win taking the game by a score of 25-23. The Pirates battled back in the second set, but were unable to overcome a .333 hitting percentage by the Mavericks as they dropped a 25-17 decision. ECU, however, would not go quietly as the Pirates knocked down 10 kills in the third set with just one error to hit .346 and the defense held UTA to just .091 hitting as East Carolina defeated the Mavericks, 25-20. The two teams fought each other in the fourth set. The ECU defense limited the Mavericks to a .143 hitting percentage, while UTA forced the Pirates into 10 attack errors for a .000 attack percentage. Despite the Pirates’ efforts, UTA managed to pull out a 25-20 set victory and win the match in four games.
East Carolina looks to get back on the winning path Tuesday, September 24, when it travels to Washington, D.C., to take on Howard in a mid-week non-conference match. First serve is slated for 7 p.m.