2003 ECU Volleyball Outlook
2003 ECU Volleyball Outlook
East Carolina found itself in a youth movement in 2002. The Pirates had two seniors and seven underclassmen on their roster. Those underclassmen grew up on the court with on-the-job training in head coach Colleen Munson's system.
"Last year's freshmen were forced to hit the ground running and had extensive playing experience in a very different environment and system of play," Munson said. "This season, our strengths are that the returning players fully understand our program's expectations."
ECU enters the 2003 season having grown up after one season. The Pirates have experience and depth, something they were lacking in 2002. ECU's younger players used the 2002 season to adjust to college competition and started to gel at the end of last season.
Seven letterwinners return, led by senior middle blocker Alexis Jones, a four-year starter. With junior sisters Sarah and Jessica Vick, the Pirates have three upperclassmen to anchor the team in 2003. ECU also returns six of its top seven kill leaders from a year ago along with its top three defensive players in Johanna Bertini, Sarah Vick and Pam Ferris who all registered over 200 digs each.
Entering her fourth season at the helm, Munson has her players understanding the direction the program is headed in. Munson's fast-paced system looks to isolate hitters and blockers and keep opponents guessing, but ECU prides itself on defense.
"Our motto is our offense is our defense," Munson said. "We work hard and play hard."
The Pirates look to do just that in 2003. ECU hopes to return to the Conference USA Tournament in 2003. The Pirates' last trip was in 2001, the first season in the conference.
Krug has experience after playing on very competitive high school and club teams. Sophomore Erica Wilson spent time at setter last season and led the team in assists (563). At 5-11, Wilson now shifts her efforts to a role as an outside hitter.
Outside Hitters/Right Side
As a left-handed hitter, Ferris poses an immediate threat to opponents. She ranked third in kills in 2002 and tied for second on the team in digs (225).
Jannusch recorded 122 kills one season ago and will be expected to improve on those numbers. Wilson and Galimore saw limited time on the outside last season, but both made great strides during spring practices. All of ECU's outside hitters have developed a jump serve, adding versatility to the Pirates' offense .
East Carolina opens up Conference USA play at home against UAB and South Florida. The Pirates look to be successful early, before entering a rigorous C-USA schedule.
The Pirates should find themselves battling the rest of the field for the remaining spots for the conference tournament. The top 12 teams advance to New Orleans for the 2003 C-USA Tournament.
"Every night is going to be a challenge, Munson said. "Everybody has gotten better. There's going to be a lot of young players on teams so it's going to be wide open."