Oct. 18, 2013
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. –Senior Nicole Willis tallied her team-leading 13th double-double of the year, but it was not enough as East Carolina dropped a 3-0 [19-25, 18-25, 18-25] sweep at Marshall on Friday night in the Cam Henderson Center. With the loss, the Pirates fall to 10-13 on the year and 1-5 in Conference USA action, while the Thundering Herd improves to 11-11 overall and 5-2 in league play.
Willis and senior Whitney Campbell led the offensive attack for ECU as the duo each knocked down 10 kills in the contest. An opposite hitter out of Raleigh, N.C., Willis added 13 digs, one block and one assist for 10.5 points. Campbell finished the match one dig shy of a double-double with nine and a block assist also totaling 10.5 points. Zarah Cecich chipped in 23 assists and five digs, while Shelby Beasley led the defense with a match-high 17 digs, and Erika Figueroa contributed 10 digs for the Pirates.
ECU struggled offensively as the Pirates hit .145 in the match with 32 kills and 27 assists. Defensively, East Carolina collected 58 digs and 4.0 total team blocks. Marshall out-hit the Pirates as the Thundering Herd posted a .202 attack percentage to go along with 42 kills and 39 assists. The Herd added 56 digs and 3.0 blocks, with eight service aces.
Marshall started game one with back-to-back kills and never looked back as the Thundering Herd ran out in front with an 11-4 lead forcing an ECU timeout. The Pirates came back from the break and were unable to get into an offensive groove as the Herd pushed their lead to double-digits (15-5) on an ace from Sammie Bane. Marshall controlled most of the set, but the Pirates refused to quit as they chipped away at the Thundering Herd’s lead and cut the hosts’ lead to single-digits (21-12) on a kill off the hands of Willis. Despite ECU’s efforts, the Pirates fell to Marshall by a score of 25-19.
East Carolina opened up the second set on a kill from Virginia Fitch, but the lead was short-lived as Marshall used a 4-0 run to go ahead 5-2. The frame remained close early on, but the Herd opened up the game on an 8-1 run to take a 14-8 lead. The Pirates called a timeout, but it did not deter Marshall as the hosts went on another run (6-1) extending their lead to 20-11. As in the first set, ECU would not back down and managed to cut the Herd’s lead to six (23-17). However Marshall closed out the second set with a 25-18 victory.
The Pirates stayed close throughout the third set as they never trailed by double-digits in the frame. ECU came within two (19-17) after taking advantage of a setting error by the Thundering Herd. However, Marshall would turn things around and close the set and match on a 6-1 run to win the game, 25-18, and complete the sweep.
Marshall was led by Laura Der’s match-high 13 kills. Dorothy Rahal led the Thundering Herd with 15 digs, while Elyse Panick added 10. Bane finished the match with 37 assists, while Sacha Byous-McConnell added a pair of solo blocks.
East Carolina’s next action will be on Sunday, October 20, when the Pirates take on Conference USA reigning champion Tulsa at 1 p.m., in the Reynolds Center. Live stats will be available on ECUPirates.com.