Nov. 17, 2013
EL PASO, Texas -Senior outside hitter Whitney Campbell led the East Carolina offense with 13 kills, but it wasn't enough as ECU suffered a 3-0 [28-30, 20-25, 23-25] sweep at UTEP to end the season. In the final match of the year, all five seniors earned the start as the Pirates concluded the season with a 13-19 overall record and a 3-11 Conference USA mark as they just missed the conference tournament.
Campbell was the only Pirate to finish with double-figure kills. She also added seven digs, three total blocks and an assist. Senior opposite Nicole Willis recorded nine kills, while senior libero Shelby Beasley led the defense with 12 digs. Junior setter Zarah Cecich turned in a 30-assist performance to go along with three kills, two digs, a pair of blocks, and one service ace. Seniors Andrea Queck and Virginia Fitch also contributed in their final collegiate match. Queck wrapped up her ECU career with three digs and as many assists, while Fitch posted four kills, three digs, and two solo blocks.
"I am proud of this team and all they accomplished this season," Head coach Julie Torbett said. "The seniors had to learn a new way of doing things and trust a new leader. It was an amazing adventure full of ups and downs. I know if I could keep them I would. And I hope they would choose ECU all over again."
East Carolina fell behind, 7-3, early in the first set, but managed to stay close and eventually tie the game at 20. The Pirates took a two-point advantage (22-20) on back-to-back kills from Kierra Lee-Dunson and Campbell to force a UTEP (14-13, 7-7 C-USA) timeout. The Miners fought back and evened the score at 23-all which led to a back-and-forth affair that culminated in eight ties and four lead changes. With the game knotted at 28-28 after a Willis kill, the Miners put the set away 30-28.
As in the first set, UTEP took a 7-3 lead to start the second game. The Pirates, again, stayed close on the Miners' heels. However, the hosts never relinquished the lead as they out-hit ECU .343-.190 in the frame to go on and win by a score of 25-20.
Down two sets to none, the Pirates threw all they had into the third set. ECU took an early 6-1 advantage to start the frame and held the lead for most of the set. However, the Miners continued to chip away at the Pirates' lead and eventually went ahead 22-21 on back-to-back service aces from Dayana Acevedo Rios. East Carolina fought hard, but UTEP managed to complete the comeback with a 25-23 victory en route to a 3-0 sweep.
UTEP was led by Xitlali Herrera's 15 kills and 11 digs for a double-double. She also added four total blocks and a service ace while hitting .257. Taylor Nix (13 kills) and Talia Jones (11 kills) also recorded double-figure kills for the Miners. Malia Patterson set the tone for UTEP as she dished out a game-high 45 assists, while Acevedo Rio added 11 digs.
The Pirates concluded the 2013 season with 13 victories, the most since 2008. Beasley wraps up her collegiate career with 1,410 digs to rank second all-time. Campbell and Willis finish their ECU careers with 646 and 747 kills, respectively.