Southern Miss Blanks Pirates, 3-0
Sept. 27, 2009
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Plagued by a poor hitting performance, the East Carolina volleyball team dropped a 3-0 decision to Southern Miss on Sunday at Minges Coliseum. The Pirates fall to 7-7 overall and 1-2 in conference play while the Golden Eagles are now 14-3.
"Southern Miss really showed us where we are not at this point in the season," head coach Pati Rolf said. "They are probably one of the top four teams in our conference. They possess a lot of power and really keep the ball in play well. We had a great performance against UCF on Friday but need to come out with that same effort every night."
After a 9-9 tie in the first frame, the Golden Eagles edged ahead 15-12 on an Ashley Mell kill which forced an ECU timeout. The Pirates would rally, knotting the score at 15-15. However, Southern Miss ripped off four-straight points to draw a second timeout from the East Carolina sideline. The Pirates could not recover, as the Golden Eagles took the set, 25-19.
The teams matched each other nearly point-for-point to start the second interval, and when ECU finally established some breathing room at 12-9, Southern Miss called timeout to settle things down. The respite proved effective, as the Golden Eagles went ahead 18-16. However, the Pirates had the answer, pulling to within 19-18 on an attack error by Caitlin Clark. The Golden Eagles would not budge, out-scoring East Carolina 6-3 to clinch a 25-21 victory and a 2-0 contest lead.
Mell put Southern Miss ahead 7-4 in the third frame, and the lead would only extend from there, ballooning to 13-7. The Golden Eagles had no trouble putting the home team away, taking leads of 15-8 and 20-9 on their way to a 25-14 margin and the match triumph.
Junior Lizzy Bruin led the Pirate offense with nine kills while Turner fell close behind with eight. At the net, senior Melissa Zentner provided four blocks, helping ECU edge Southern Miss 5-4 in the category. Defensively, sophomore Nicole Jones collected 10 digs while Hannah Fenker added nine in addition to 27 assists. Bruin also nearly completed a double-double with eight defensive pickups to go along with her nine kills.
The Golden Eagles held the edge in hitting, out-slugging the Pirates .254-.054 while also coming up with 46 digs to ECU's 44. Southern Miss also led in kills (41-28) and assists (37-27).
The Pirates close out their three-match homestand on Tuesday evening, as in-state rival UNC Wilmington travels to Greenville for a 7 p.m. first serve.