Pirates Snap Skid In Win Over SMU
Oct. 26, 2008
GREENVILLE, N.C. - After putting forth strong efforts but falling short in its last two matches, the East Carolina volleyball team turned the corner and got the victory it was looking for on Sunday inside Minges Coliseum. The Pirates downed SMU 3-2 (13-25, 25-22, 16-25, 25-23, 15-13). With the win, East Carolina improves to 12-14 overal, including 2-9 in Conference USA action. SMU falls to 12-13 overall and 4-7 in the conference. The win also halts a 10 match losing streak for ECU, as the team had not won since defeating Morgan State on September 20, and is the first for the Pirates in a five-set match this season.
Play in the first set resulted in a 3-3 tie before SMU was able to gain a five point advantage at 10-5. The Mustangs went on to double the Pirates' score at 12-6, 16-8 and 20-10 before a late ECU rally made the final score 25-13 in favor of SMU. Hannah Fenker led the offense with two kills while Trish Monroe paced the defense with six digs.
The second set went much more the way of the hosts. After trailing the Mustangs 3-1 to begin, East Carolina forced a 4-4 tie before taking a 12-5 lead. SMU answered the Pirate surge winning seven of the next eight points to close the gap to just two points at 13-11 before forcing a deadlock at 15. The match was also knotted at 16, 17, 18 and 19 points each, after which the Pirates took a narrow 21-19 advantage. ECU held onto the slim lead for the rest of the set and won 25-22. Melissa Zentner and Katie Prast each finished the set with four kills, while Lizzy Bruin tallied three. Monroe kept up her fine defensive play, digging out seven more balls.
East Carolina found itself down early in the third set, 5-0, but fought back to trail by just one, 6-5. The teams alternated points and SMU led 11-10 until winning six of the next eight points to establish a five point lead, 17-12. The Mustangs continued to push points, going on an 8-4 run to close out the set winning 25-16. The Pirates managed just four kills total in the set and hit -.216. Monroe again led the defense with four digs and Amanda Lutzow also picked up three.
A tight score was how the fourth set started, as the largest lead either team held at the start of the set was three points by SMU at 7-4. The Mustangs extended their advantage to four at 10-6 before ECU made a comeback. The Pirates fought to tie the score at 11 before taking a two point lead of their own at 15-13. SMU answered the Pirate rally, knotting the score at 17 points each. After a 19-19 score, a Zentner kill gave the Pirates a lead they would not let go of, despite the Mustangs closing to within one at 24-23. A Bruin and Fenker block gave ECU the final point it needed in winning the set 25-23. Zentner pounded down five kills in the set and Erica Banning recorded three while Monroe and Fenker tied for the lead in digs with five each.
In the final set the score was tied at points one through nine until ECU won three points in a row to grab a slim 12-9 advantage. SMU won the next point to make the score 12-10, but East Carolina responded by again winning back-to-back points, establishing a 14-10 lead. Not giving in, the Mustangs took two points of their own to make the score 14-13 in favor of the hosts. One final kill by Bruin gave the Pirates the last point and the set victory 15-13.
It was indeed a team effort for the Pirates in the match as Zentner was the only player to record double-digit kills, with 12. Bruin and Prast each tallied eight and nine of the 11 players in the match recorded at least one kill. Monroe finished her day with 23 digs and is now in fifth-place on the Conference USA digs in a career leaderboard. She has now recorded 1,761 digs over her four year career. Katie Koop also finished with 10 digs and 40 assists, giving her two double-doubles on the season. Bruin also helped the defense, collecting seven total blocks, including four solos.
East Carolina takes a break until Friday, when it resumes play with a match at UAB. First serve is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.