Pirates Fall to North Texas in Conference USA Opener

Nicole Willis

Sept. 27, 2013

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DENTON, Texas –The East Carolina volleyball team dropped a 3-0 [13-25, 13-25, 13-25] decision to Conference USA newcomer North Texas Friday night in the league opener. The Pirates struggled offensively in the contest as they hit -.123 in the match.

With the loss the Pirates fall to 7-9 overall and 0-1 in C-USA action, while the Mean Green improves to 9-8 on the year and 1-0 in league play.

“North Texas was a well-coached and aggressive team that will be very successful in Conference USA,” Head coach Julie Torbett said. “We had moments when we could play with them, but 18 unforced errors on our part just shows the need for us to stay focused on improving.”

ECU finished the match with 23 digs, 14 kills and as many assists. Nicole Willis led the team in scoring for the 16th-straight match this season as she recorded five kills to go along with a match-high 11 digs. Junior Zarah Cecich tallied all of the Pirates’ assists and added a block assist in the setback. Sophomore Kierra Lee-Dunson hit a team-leading .400 as she tallied three kills with one error on five attempts and added a pair of block assists and a single dig.

The Mean Green jumped out to a quick lead (7-2) in the first set and never looked back. The hosts led the entire frame as North Texas recorded 13 kills in the game and hit .286, while limiting the Pirates to four kills and a -.227 attack percentage. The Mean Green extended their lead to double digits (19-9) and went on to win the set 25-13.

The Pirates battled early in the second set as they tied the set three times and exchanged leads with North Texas twice. East Carolina went on a 4-0 run to tie the game at 8-all, but a kill by Analisse Shannon would stop the Pirates’ rally and give the Mean Green its lead back, a lead they would not relinquish. North Texas rattled off four consecutive points of its own to take a 12-8 advantage. The Mean Green offense hit .214 in the frame with 14 kills en route to a 25-13 set victory.

After an early 3-3 tie, the Mean Green took advantage of another Pirate miscue and took a 4-3 lead which would lead to a 25-13 win the third and final set. North Texas hit .464 and knocked down 15 kills, while ECU’s offense struggled hitting -.040 with just five kills and six attack errors in the frame.

The Mean Green was led by Carnae Dillard who recorded the match’s only double-digit kill performance with 15. Dillard added three digs, two block assists and an assist while hitting .355. Amy Henard collected 33 assists and a team-leading six digs.

East Carolina will look to snap its four-match losing skid Sunday, September 29, at Rice. First serve is set for 2 p.m. ET. Live stats will be available for the contest.