Volleyball Battles Charlotte In 2010 Opener
Aug. 26, 2010
EAST CAROLINA CLASSIC SCHEDULE
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina volleyball team, which features eight newcomers, begins the 2010 season at home Friday as it hosts Charlotte at 7 p.m. in the second match of the East Carolina Classic. Cleveland State and Liberty face off at 4 p.m. to kick off the tournament.
Friday's opener serves as Military Appreciation Night as veteran and active military are invited to the game and will receive a complimentary t-shirt and pizza. All Student Pirate Club members present at the contest will also enjoy free pizza.
The 49ers amassed a record of 15-17 last season while finishing in sixth-place in the Atlantic 10 Conference by virtue of a 6-9 league ledger. Charlotte fell to Xavier 3-1 in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. Five starters return for fourth-year head coach Chris Redding.
Following the graduation of seniors Hannah Fenker, Katie Prast, Bobbie Jo Stall, Stephanie Turner and Melissa Zentner, as well as the departure of juniors Lizzy Bruin and Kylie Gilmore, the 2010 ECU roster has a new look but does not lack in experience. Many of the returners were among the team leaders in a number of statistical categories a year ago.
Redshirt junior Britney Roper returns after ranking second on the squad in 2009 with 2.55 kills per set and will hold down the right side of the attack, a position at which Stephanie Turner excelled the last four seasons. As the tallest member of the squad this year, Roper's height should prove an asset and cause problems for the opposing block.
After having to perform back row duty last campaign, junior Amanda Lutzow will slide up to the front looking to duplicate her freshman season output. In 2008, she put down 185 kills in 31 appearances and collected double-digit kills in eight matches. Lutzow is also a defensive stalwart, leading the squad in 2009 with 2.41 digs per set and setting a career best with 22 against in-state rival UNC Wilmington.
Redshirt Junior Nicole Jones played 92 sets for the Pirates last season, averaging 2.18 digs per set and was third on the squad with 201 - a 169-dig improvement from her initial season with the program. She set a career high in the first match of 2009 against Wright State, collecting a team-best 17. Jones also recorded double-digit digs eight times, including two of her last three matches.
East Carolina looks for a victory in its opening match for the first time since 2008 when it swept East Tennessee State at home. That year, the Pirates began 5-0 and did not drop a set during the stretch.
ECU will match up with both Cleveland State and Liberty Saturday at 1 and 7 p.m., respectively.
IN SEASON OPENERS: East Carolina has enjoyed success in its recent string of season openers, holding a record of 5-3 in the last eight campaigns. The Pirates have split their last four while suffering a 3-2 loss against Wright State last season after leading the match 2-0. ECU is 16-20 when beginning a new year.
SOME FAMILIARITY THERE: The Pirates will face a familiar foe in its opening match of the tournament as East Carolina and Charlotte square off for the 25th time. In the most recent meeting, which occurred in 2005, the Pirates captured a 3-1 victory as part of a 20-11 record - the last time the program won 20 matches in a campaign. ECU trails the series with the 49ers 14-10.
A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: East Carolina will battle Cleveland State for the first time program history in match two of the East Carolina Classic. The Vikings hail from the Horizon League and have appeared in the conference tournament championship game the past three years. CSU won the event in 2007 to qualify for its first-ever NCAA Tournament.
BRING THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER: The Pirates are looking to defeat Liberty for the first time after dropping all four previous meetings between the schools. Most recently, the Lady Flames dispatched ECU in four sets during the 2003 season at the Liberty Invitational.
HAVE WE MET?: Having said goodbye to five seniors from last year's squad, the Pirates welcome the future of East Carolina Volleyball in 2010 as eight newcomers join the roster. Six freshman and a junior transfer will don the purple and gold while former Pirate softball standout Marina Gusman-Brown will finish her time at ECU as a spiker.
A HISTORY LESSON: This season's East Carolina Classic will be the third since the event's inception in 2006. The Pirates hold a 5-1 record in tournament history with its lone loss at the hands of Conference USA foe Marshall. ECU won the Classic in 2008, sweeping East Tennessee State, Howard and High Point. The Pirates' other two wins in 2006 were 3-0 decisions against Wisconsin-Green Bay and Grambling State.