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Derby Shines in Senior Day Victory Over Tulane, 3-1

Go Tigers! Nicole Willis
Go Tigers!
Nicole Willis
Go Tigers!

Nov. 11, 2012

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Box Score

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Kelly Derby led the East Carolina volleyball team with 14 kills in the Pirates’ 3-1 (25-20, 14-25, 25-19, 25-14) conference victory over Tulane on Sunday afternoon at Minges Coliseum. The win marks ECU’s first conference victory since Nov. 24, 2010 when the Pirates edged Marshall in five sets.

Derby was outstanding on Senior Day as she knocked down a team-high 14 kills and hit a team-best .591 in the match. In addition, the lone senior tallied four total blocks and finished the contest with 16.5 points. Nicole Willis recorded a 12-kill performance and contributed seven digs, with three service aces and a block assist. Zarah Cecich set the tone for ECU with 33 assists, eight digs, a block assist and two aces, while Shelby Beasley paced the defense with 12 digs. Virginia Fitch led the Pirates with five total blocks, while Whitney Campbell chipped in three block assists, five digs, and six kills.

The first set was close throughout as the two teams battled through 11 ties and seven lead changes. After forcing Tulane into an error to take a 13-12 advantage, the Pirates pushed their lead to four (16-12) on two Campbell kills and a Beasely ace which forced the Green Wave to call for a timeout. After the break, ECU held the lead for the remainder of the set taking the first frame, 25-20.

Tulane fought back in the second game and after taking a 2-1 lead on a service ace from Cori Martone and never looked back. The Green Wave led the rest of the set and went on to win, 25-14.

With the match even at one game apiece the Pirates came out in the third frame determined to notch a victory. A kill off the hands of Derby broke a 5-5 tie and seemed to give East Carolina the momentum it needed to surge ahead. The Pirates led by as many as seven points and forced Tulane into a pair of timeouts as they took a 22-16 lead on a Cecich service ace. With the game going the Pirates way, ECU closed out the set forcing the Green Wave into an attack error to end the game. The Pirates won the frame by a score of 25-19.

For the first half of the fourth set the game was a back-and-forth affair. The two teams tied the set eight times in the first 16 points and exchanged leads twice. The third and final lead chance came on a Hannah Allgood ace to put the Pirates up 9-8. From there East Carolina held a slight edge on the Green Wave and Tulane called for a break in action after the hosts went up by four (13-9) on a Willis kill. Following the timeout, the Pirates went on a 12-5 run to end the set and match. East Carolina won the fourth and final set by a score of 25-14 which snapped the Pirates’ 24-match losing streak and gave ECU its first conference victory in almost two years.

Tulane was led by Marotne and Izabela Grot who each chipped in 16 kills. Martone notched a double-double with 17 digs and added two block assists, one assist and an ace.

The Pirates conclude the 2012 season with a 2-25 mark and a 1-15 conference ledger, while the Green Wave ends their season at 6-21 overall and 4-12 in Conference USA action.