Pirates Outlast SMU 3-2 For First Conference Win
Sept. 23, 2007
GREENVILLE, N.C. - After falling behind SMU 2-1 and in danger of dropping to 0-2 to start conference play, the East Carolina volleyball team rallied in a big way, eventually taking the match in five games Sunday afternoon in Minges Coliseum. The Pirates improve to 10-7 on the season and 1-1 in conference play while the Mustangs dip to 10-6 overall and 0-2 in Conference USA.
The teams traded points to begin the match until SMU edged out to a 16-13 advantage. The Mustangs would call a timeout when ECU cut the deficit to 18-17 but the game would stay close. With the scored tied at 25, SMU rattled off two points, forcing the Pirates to burn a timeout but it proved ineffective as the Mustangs closed the game 30-27 to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
ECU raced ahead in game two, inducing a SMU timeout while leading 11-4. The Mustangs would find their way back in the frame, forcing two Pirate timeouts with scores of 12-8 and 17-14. ECU inched back ahead 22-8, causing SMU to call its last timeout. The Mustangs would get within 26-25 but a 4-1 run gave the Pirates the frame 30-26.
In game three, it was SMU that caused two early ECU timeouts with leads of 10-7 and 15-8. However, it would not matter as the Mustangs closed the frame with relative ease, coasting to a 30-22 win.
The Pirates found new life in game four, jumping out to leads of 8-4 and 18-10. The Mustangs would not reach 20 points in the frame as ECU forced a fifth game with a 30-18 victory.
The tense fifth game favored SMU early as the Pirates called a timeout down 4-2. The Mustang lead would stretch to 7-4 but ECU scored four-consecutive points to ease ahead 8-7 as the teams switched benches. The Pirates would not be denied on their home floor, out-scoring SMU 7-5 and sealing the match with a thunderous stuff block by sophomore Peyton Thompson.
Senior Kelley Wernert topped the offense, recording her second double-double of the weekend and ninth of the season, smashing 26 kills on a career-best 78 attempts with 17 digs. Sophomore Stephanie Turner also tallied a double-double, her fourth of the year, as she put down 14 kills and added 18 digs. Defensively, junior Trish Monroe matched her career-high in digs with 29 while sophomore Hannah Fenker also reached double-digits with 11. Monroe's 29 digs are the most in a C-USA match while the team's total of 86 also qualifies as the highest for a C-USA contest. ECU also was a force at the net, out-blocking the Mustangs 18-8. Those 18 stuffs tie the high-mark for a conference match.
The Pirates will hit the road this weekend as they travel to Orlando and Hattiesburg for a Friday contest against UCF and a Sunday matinee against Southern Miss. The match against the Golden Knights is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start inside the new UCF Arena.