Pirates Snap Skid In Thrilling 3-2 Fashion
Oct. 16, 2009
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina volleyball assured itself of victory for the first time in five matches, as it toppled UTEP, 3-2 (27-25, 22-25, 25-22, 17-25, 17-15), Friday evening at Minges Coliseum. The Pirates improved to 9-11 overall and 2-6 against Conference USA foes while the Miners drop to 9-12 in 2009 and the same 2-6 in league play.
"This was a great team win for us tonight," head coach Pati Rolf said. "I am glad to see that we were able to use different lineups and people in unfamiliar spots. We did some really mature things out there on the court tonight, especially with our blocking, and we can only get better as a team from tonight's match."
With the first set tied at six, ECU reeled off a 5-0 run to force a timeout from the UTEP sideline. When an Irma Blanco attack error helped the Pirates extend their lead to 18-11, Miner head coach Ken Murphy called for his second timeout of the set. The respite proved effective as UTEP eventually took the lead at 22-21. The Miners then earned two set points at 24-22, but East Carolina had the answer, responding with a Melissa Zentner kill to even the score at 24. UTEP fought off set point down 25-24, but Lizzy Bruin and Hannah Fenker notched two-straight kills to seal the frame for the home team.
The Miners came out the aggressors in the second set, taking a 14-11 advantage and drawing a Pirate timeout. ECU struck back with a 6-1 run before extending the lead to 19-16. UTEP pulled within 22-20 and completed the comeback with five-straight points to clinch the frame and tie the match.
The Pirates enjoyed a 10-5 margin early in the third interval, but the Miners rallied with an 8-1 run to take a 13-11 advantage. East Carolina fired right back, however, with a 4-1 stretch of its own to re-obtain the lead at 15-14 After the advantage stretched to 22-17, UTEP tried to get back into things by scoring the next two points, but the Pirates shut the door by matching the visitors point-for-point and taking the middle frame.
An 11-4 lead for the Miners in the fourth set proved to be enough breathing room, as UTEP never let ECU into the proceedings. The Miners stretched the margin to 17-9 and 22-15 before sending the contest to a fifth and deciding frame.
3-1 and 6-3 advantages helped the Pirates take an 8-6 lead in the final set as the teams traded benches. However, UTEP scored three-straight times to go ahead for the first time in the interval at 9-8. East Carolina forced Miner timeouts leading 12-11 and 14-13, but UTEP found the set-tying kill from Patty Jarmoc. Jarmoc then put down an ace before Melissa Zentner found the floor for a kill that tied things again. Fenker set the ball to Zentner again on the next rally and her strike was true, giving the Pirates a match point. Preseason All-C-USA Team member Amy Sanders had a chance to knot the score once more, but her offering sailed wide, securing the win for the home squad.
Fenker notched her team-leading sixth double-double of the season, picking up 11 digs to go along with 56 assists.
Britney Roper continued her recent offensive prowess, joining with Bruin as the duo put down 17 kills each to lead the ECU offense. Zentner fell just behind her teammates with 16 while Bobbie Jo Stall sat just one behind her career high with eight.
Three Pirates pulled in double-figure dig totals in the five sets, as Stephanie Turner contributed 13 and Lutzow joined Fenker with 11.
At the net, redshirt freshman Briana Fleener set a new career high with five blocks while Zentner matched her personal best with seven and Bruin met her season high of six.
The Miners out-hit East Carolina .190-.165, but the Pirates got the better of the blocking, recording a team season-high 14.5 stuffs as compared to 11 for UTEP, the top-rated blocking team in the league. The Miners also enjoyed a 66-51 margin in digs.
ECU returns to Minges Coliseum Sunday for a contest with defending C-USA champion Tulane, which played at Marshall this evening. First serve between the Pirates and Green Wave is set for 12 noon.