Nov. 10, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Whitney Campbell recorded a double-double and Shelby Beasley collected 29 digs to tie for third in the ECU Single-Game Record Book, but the Pirates were unable to overcome a tough Charlotte team as ECU dropped a 3-2 [25-22, 22-25, 18-25, 25-22, 15-13] decision to Charlotte on Senior Day. With the loss the Pirates fall to 13-17 (3-9 C-USA) on the season, while the 49ers improve to 12-15 (2-10 C-USA).
"The ball bounces your way and sometimes it doesn't," Head Coach Julie Torbett said of the Pirates' loss. "But that's just the way the ball bounces and it was definitely going their way a little bit more tonight. They played well enough to win. We needed to do some different things that would have helped the score. You've got to go after every match. We dug ourselves into some holes and we had to dig our way out. I think they've been fighters the whole year. Trying to turn the program around has been a lot of work and they've certainly done a good job."
Senior Nicole Willis led the ECU offense with 15 kills and tied her career-high with six total blocks. Campbell was the only other Pirate to reach double-figure kills as she notched 12 to go along with 16 digs for her sixth double-double of the year. The senior outside hitter also added three block assists and a service ace. Beasley, a senior libero, led the ECU defense with 29 digs, while sophomore defensive specialist Erika Figueroa added 11. Junior setter Zarah Cecich posted 33 assists, while freshman Bella Borgiotti contributed 14. Freshman Ashley McRae came off the bench and tallied a career-high nine kills and added five total blocks while hitting a team-best .444 in the setback. Seniors Virginia Fitch and Andrea Queck also played in their last regular-season home contest. Fitch finished the match with a pair of kills and a block assist, while Queck contributed a dig and a service ace.
"We were relying on Whitney (Campbell) a lot," Torbett explained. "She played all the way around. To play six rotations and have that pressure on you is tough, but Whitney did a good job. She put us back in that first set. She really has been a very strong player for us down the stretch."
The Pirates and the 49ers battled throughout the match as there were a total of 28 ties and 18 lead changes. East Carolina came out on top 25-22 in the first set, but Charlotte managed to win back-to-back games to take a 2-1 lead in the match. ECU evened the set score at 2-2 after defeating the 49ers 25-22 in the fourth set to force a fifth and deciding frame.
Charlotte jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the fifth set, but East Carolina countered with a 4-0 run to come within one (5-4). The two teams remained within a few points of each other for the remainder of the game, but the 49ers managed to edge the Pirates, 15-13.
Prior to the match, Beasley was honored for collecting 1,000-digs in her career. She currently owns 1,384 and sits in second on East Carolina's all-time list.
"Shelby (Beasley) has been an anchor in the back row," Torbett said of Beasley's defensive efforts. "She's been so consistent and we rely on her so much. It's hard to believe we're going to lose her in a short time." Despite the setback, the Pirates still have a chance of making the Conference USA Tournament.
"We need to win another match (to make it into the C-USA tournament). We were trying to get to four (conference) wins. That would have put us in good shape to get into the conference tournament. We still have two matches left, so it's not over yet."
East Carolina closes out the regular-season in Texas as the Pirates play UTSA on November 15, at 8 p.m. ET, before going up against UTEP on Sunday, November 17, at 2 p.m. ET. Live stats will be available for both matches on ECUPirates.com.