Volleyball Battles Golden Hurricane But Falls
Oct. 24, 2008
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Playing at home for the first time in nearly two weeks, the East Carolina volleyball team fought hard against Tulsa but eventually fell, 3-1 (25-23, 25-21, 23-25, 25-22) on Friday night inside Minges Coliseum. The loss moves the Pirates' overall record to 11-14 and 1-9 in Conference USA. With the victory, the Golden Hurricane improves to 19-6, including a 6-4 mark in C-USA matches.
The Pirates trailed 3-1 early in the opening set but forced a 3-3 tie before Tulsa ran off five straight points to take an 8-3 lead. Following a timeout, East Carolina won seven of the next 10 points to trail by just one, 11-10. With the Pirates behind 15-13, back-to-back attack errors by the Golden Hurricane deadlocked the score at 15 each. ECU then went on to hold two point advantages at 20-18 and 22-20, only to see Tulsa comeback and tie the score at 22-22. A Beth Hodge kill put away the set for the Golden Hurricane, as the team won 25-23. Lizzy Bruin led the way for the Pirates on offense in the first set, tallying six kills. Stephanie Turner paced the defense, collecting three digs while Erica Banning picked up two blocks.
To begin the second set, neither team was able to gain a sizable advantage until Tulsa went on a three point run and took an 11-8 lead. The Golden Hurricane then stretched the lead out to six points at 16-10 before the Pirates rallied. ECU was able to close to gap to three points at 18-15 and then knotted the set at 19 points each. After that brief tie Tulsa regained control and put away the set, 25-21. During this set, Turner finished with five kills and Bruin added three of her own. Amanda Lutzow led the back row, finishing with four digs, and Katie Koop picked up three.
East Carolina again found itself in a hole to start the third set, trailing 6-3. The Pirates clawed back, winning four of the next five points to even the score, 7-7. After exchanging points resulted in a 12-12 score, the Golden Hurricane took a 16-12 lead. Tulsa extended the lead out to five points at 19-14 before ECU again fought back. The Pirates went on a 5-1 run, tying the score at 20-20. Tulsa responded by winning the next two points and seemed to have the set, and match, under control until East Carolina won three points in a row to take a 23-22 advantage. The Pirates then held on to win the set, 25-23. Bruin again led the offense in the set, pounding home five kills while Hannah Fenker added four and Turner three. Trish Monroe played her best set of the night, finishing with a team-high six digs.
In the fourth set, ECU held a 3-2 advantage before Tulsa came back and took a 6-4 lead. The teams alternated points until the score was 12-9 in favor of the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa then went on to win four of the next five points to claim a 16-10 advantage. East Carolina did not give in, however, closing the gap to four points at 20-16. The Pirates then trimmed the deficit down to two points at 24-22, but could not complete the comeback and fell 25-22.
For the match, Bruin finished with a team and career-high of 20 kills. It is the first time a Pirate has reached the 20-kill plateau since Kelley Wernert tallied 24 against SMU in the Conference USA Tournament on Nov. 15, 2007. Turner finished her night with 14 kills and 11 digs, good for her fourth double-double of the year while Fenker collected a career-high 12 kills playing as an outside hitter for the first time this season. Koop helped run the offense on the night, collecting a season-high 47 assists.
On defense, Monroe finished the match with 16 digs, leaving her just nine shy of fifth-place on the Conference USA digs in a career leaderboard. Banning paced the blocking with four, and has now recorded at least one in the last 18 matches she has played.
The Pirates will take tomorrow off and finish this weekend's C-USA action on Sunday with a match against SMU, which is scheduled to begin at noon.