Oct. 20, 2013
TULSA, Okla. –Senior Whitney Campbell led East Carolina with her third double-double of the season, but the Pirates dropped a hard-fought battle to conference leader Tulsa, 3-1 [17-25, 22-25, 29-27, 11-25], on Sunday afternoon at the Reynolds Center. ECU falls to 10-14 on the year and 1-6 in Conference USA play, while the Golden Hurricane improves to 18-4 overall and a perfect 7-0 in league action.
Campbell was the only Pirate to record double-figure kills with 11, while adding a team-best 14 digs, four total blocks, and one assist. Shelby Beasley also posted 14 digs for ECU to total 1,262 for her career to move into third on the East Carolina career list. Freshman Halee Wright came off the bench and tallied a career-high 11 digs to help pace the back row. Junior Zarah Cecich controlled the East Carolina offense as she dished out a match-high 31 assists, nine digs, three kills, and one block assist. Torre Blake turned in a strong performance with a team-best five total blocks and as many kills.
“We played hard today against the top team in the conference,” Head coach Julie Torbett said. “I thought Halee Wright stepped in and played well in the back court. Whitney Campbell carried most of the load offensively. Shelby Beasley moved into third place all-time in digs over the weekend and has been doing a nice job of anchoring our overall defensive strategy. We blocked well as a team and held Tulsa under .200 hitting. We still have a lot of work to do with 26 unforced errors.” East Carolina hit .058 in the contest while the Pirate defense limited Tulsa to a mere .134 attack percentage. The Pirates were efficient in the front row as they collected 11.0 total team blocks in the setback.
The Pirates came into Tulsa and did not allow the first-place Golden Hurricane push them around. ECU took an early 2-0 lead on back-to-back kills by Virginia Fitch and Nicole Willis, however, Tulsa was quick to counter and even the score at 2-all. The two teams battled early on, but a 7-0 run by the Golden Hurricane put the hosts up 13-6 and they never looked back as Tulsa claimed a 25-17 victory.
East Carolina and Tulsa continued their battle into set two as the conference foes fought through six ties and two lead changes. The Pirates used a 7-2 run to take a four-point advantage (14-10) over the Golden Hurricane forcing Tulsa to call a timeout. Following the break in action, ECU managed to hold a slight edge over Tulsa, but the hosts began to chip away at the Pirates’ lead and eventually tied the game at 18. Over the next few points, the Pirates and Golden Hurricane rallied back and forth until the set was evened at 21-21. Tulsa knocked down three consecutive points to push the frame to set point and eventually won set two, 25-22.
Following the intermission between sets two and three, East Carolina and Tulsa took off right where they left off as set three saw 14 ties and seven lead changes. The Pirates knocked down 12 kills in the frame, while the Golden Hurricane collected 13. The league rivals battled each other point for point until ECU and Tulsa were deadlocked at 27-all. East Carolina came away with the win as the Pirates took advantage of back-to-back attack errors from the Golden Hurricane as ECU won set three, 29-27, forcing a fourth set.
The fourth and final set was all Tulsa as the Golden Hurricane hit .237 in the frame while holding the Pirates to a -.083 attack percentage. ECU was limited to just four kills in the game and Tulsa knocked down 15 en route to a 25-11 win.
The Pirates will return to Minges Coliseum to host Conference USA newcomer FIU on Friday, October 25, at 7 p.m. Live stats and video will be available on ECUPirates.com.