Volleyball Slips Against Southern Miss
Oct. 3, 2008
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The East Carolina volleyball team carried a three match losing streak into Friday night's clash with Southern Miss. After letting a two set lead slip away, the Pirates were handed their fourth loss in a row, falling to the Golden Eagles 3-2 (17-25, 23-25, 25-16, 25-12, 15-8) inside Reed Green Coliseum. With the loss, ECU falls to 11-8 overall and 1-3 in Conference USA action and Southern Miss moves to 11-6 overall and 1-3 in C-USA. The Pirates also have yet to win a match that has gone the full five sets this season, as the squad is 0-5 in such matches.
Play was even to beginning the match, as the teams were tied at points one through five in the opening set before the Pirates pulled out to a slim 6-5 lead. From that point on, East Carolina would not trail throughout the remainder of the set. With ECU leading 15-12, the Pirates then won the next five points on the way to building a 20-12 advantage. The teams then traded points for the rest of the set, before the Pirates put away the 25-17 opening-set victory. Right side hitter Stephanie Turner paced the offense in set one, pounding down four kills while middle blocker Erica Banning tallied three.
In set two the Pirates jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead before Southern Miss rattled off five straight points of their own to take the 6-5 advantage. The score remained tight and was deadlocked at 13 points until the Golden Eagles won four of the next five points to take the 17-14 lead. The USM lead would then build to four points, at 19-15. The Pirates would not give in, though, and, on the strength of three consecutive kills by Melissa Zentner and a block by Katie Koop and Banning, forced a 19-19 tie. The set went right down to the wire, as the teams were tied at 22 and 23 points apiece before two more Turner kills gave the Pirates the 25-23 victory.
Despite the tough loss in set two, the Golden Eagles came out clawing for points in the third set. After playing to a 5-5 tie to begin the action, Southern Miss took the 9-6 lead and then turned it into a 12-7 advantage before the Pirates called a timeout to regroup. After closing the margin to four at 13-9, ECU could not keep up the pace, and saw the Golden Eagles score the next five points to build their lead to 18-9. This time, the deficit was too much and the Pirates could not muster another late-set rally, and fell 25-16.
The fourth set saw the teams again keep the score very close at the beginning, as the score was knotted at one, two, three and five points. The Golden Eagles were then able to forge ahead to a 10-6 lead before forcing a Pirate timeout. ECU then pulled to within two points at 11-9, but could not force a tie. Southern Miss then went ahead 14-9 and 19-11 before winning 25-12.
As the fifth set began, momentum was clearly on the side of the Golden Eagles, and they kept it rolling all the way to the 15-8 victory. USM jumped out to a 9-3 lead in the set before eventually holding 12-6 and 14-7 advantages.
On the night, ECU was led on offense by Turner's 15 kills and outside hitter Amanda Lutzow chipped in with 10. Defensively, Trish Monroe turned in yet another 20-plus dig performance, as she tallied a team-high 23 on the night. Turner also collected 15 digs, giving her the second double-double of her season. Banning was also her usual wall, providing four blocks for the defense. Setters Hannah Fenker and Koop passed out 26 and 22 assists, respectively.
Using tomorrow as a day to travel and regroup, the Pirates resume action on Sunday afternoon, completing their weekend southern swing with a 1 p.m. match against UCF.