Volleyball Opens 2013 Campaign at Wake Forest Deacon Invitational

UABSPORTS.COM Head Coach Julie Torbett
Head Coach Julie Torbett

Aug 29, 2013

Match Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Wake Forest Deacon Invitational

The Last Meeting
East Carolina0
Wake Forest3
September 11, 2010
Winston-Salem, N.C.
Volleyball Falls To 0-9 In 2010
The East Carolina volleyball team fell twice by 3-0 scores to West Virginia (11-25, 14-25, 26-28) and Wake Forest (10-25, 18-25, 22-25) to close out play at the Wake Forest Black/Gold Invitational Saturday at Reynolds Gymnasium.

GREENVILLE, N.C. –The East Carolina volleyball team kicks off the 2013 season in Winston Salem, N.C., at the Wake Forest Deacon Invitational. The four-team tournament features ECU, UNC Greensboro, East Tennessee State and host, Wake Forest. The tournament will begin Friday, August 30 and conclude Saturday, August 31.

Head coach Julie Torbett will begin her first year at East Carolina when the Pirates open the season Friday, August 30 against Wake Forest at 6:30 p.m. In the final day of the tournament, ECU will battle it out with UNCG and East Tennessee State Saturday, August 31 at 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., respectively.

ECU Opens 2013 at Wake Forest Deacon Invitational
The Pirates kick off the 2013 campaign in Winston Salem, N.C., at the Wake Forest Deacon Invitational. The tournament features East Carolina, UNC Greensboro, East Tennessee State and host Wake Forest. ECU opens the invitational against Wake Forest on Friday, August 30 at 6:30 p.m., before battling it out with UNCG and East Tennessee State on Saturday at 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., respectively.

The Series vs. Wake Forest
The Pirates and the Demon Deacons will meet for the 20th time in program history and Wake Forest leads the all-time series 14-5. The last time the two teams faced each other, the Demon Deacons swept the Pirates in 2010 at the Wake Forest Invitational. East Carolina will be looking to defeat Wake Forest for the first time since 1980, when the Pirates held off the Demon Deacons 15-3 and 15-10 at the ECU Pirate Invitational.

The Series vs. UNCG
East Carolina and UNC Greensboro will go head-to-head for the 31st time in program history. The Spartans hold the edge on the Pirates 17-13 in the all-time series. The two squads will meet for the first time since 2008, when UNCG defeated ECU, 3-2, at the High Point Classic. The Pirates were last victorious over the Spartans in 2007 when they won in four sets.

The Series vs. East Tennessee State
ECU and East Tennessee State will square off for the 13th time in program history and the Buccaneers lead the all-time series 9-3. The meeting marks the first time the two teams will face off since East Carolina swept East Tennessee State in 2008 to open the season. The Buccaneers last defeated ECU in 1992 when they edged out the Pirates in five sets at the Winthrop Invitational.

About the Pirates
East Carolina comes into the 2013 season with a new coaching staff led by Julie Torbett who looks to turn things around after the Pirates finished the 2012 campaign with a 2-25 overall record and a 1-15 Conference USA ledger. ECU returns senior opposite hitter Nicole Willis who led the team in kills (323), kills per set (3.76), attacks (1075), points (370), points per set (4.30), service aces (22), and service aces per set (0.26). Last season, Willis set the ECU single-match record with 32 kills at Southern Miss and went on to lead the Pirates with 10 double-doubles and 16 double-figure kill performances. Senior libero Shelby Beasley will return to the court for the Pirates after setting the standard in digs with 430 to average 4.34 per set. She tied Willis for the team lead in service aces (22) and was named to the All-Tournament Team at the East Carolina Classic as well as the ECU Pirate Invitational. Beasley recorded a career-high 34 digs versus Southern Miss to set the ECU school record for most digs in a single match. Additionally, ECU returns 10 letterwinners from last season including five starters.

Scouting the Demon Deacons
Wake Forest opens the 2013 campaign with eight returning letterwinners and a new head coach in Ken Murczek. Last season the Demon Deacons posted an 11-21 record and finished 10th in the ACC with a mark of 5-15. Senior outside hitter Kylie Hargreaves returns to the court for the Demon Deacons after recording 289 kills (2.51 per set) and 295 digs (2.57 per set). She will be joined by junior setter Danae Rosendall who led the squad with 1135 assists (10.04 per set) and added 207 digs (1.83 per set) and sophomore defensive specialist/libero Megan Miller who led the Demon Deacons with 505 digs to average 4.35 per set. Wake Forest will also welcome four newcomers including Matalee Reed a sophomore transfer from Pepperdine.

Scouting the Spartans
UNC Greensboro is coming off a 2012 season in which the Spartans put together a 13-16 record and finished fourth in the North Division of the Southern Conference with a 7-9 league record. Head coach Patrick Nicholas will begin his fifth season at the helm of the UNCG volleyball program as he welcomes back 10 letterwinners and five starters. Senior Karrian Chambers, last year’s team leader in kills (400) and points (436.0), will be back on the court for the Spartans. She completed the 2012 campaign averaging 3.64 kills per set, 2.61 digs per set and 0.32 blocks per set. Kellie Orewiler the Spartans’ senior libero who led the team with 534 digs (4.49 per set) will also return to UNCG for the 2013 season as will junior setter Emily McMurtrey who boasted a team-best 716 assists to average 7.46 per set.

Scouting the Buccaneers
East Tennessee State enters the Wake Forest Demon Deacon Invitational after registering a 23-13 overall record last season which included an 11-7 mark in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Last season, the Buccaneers were led by head coach Lindsey Devine’s daughter, senior outside hitter, Megan Devine, who notched a team-best 547 kills to average 3.94 per set. Additionally, she led the squad with 466 digs (3.35 per set) and 39 service aces (0.28 per set). Junior setter Jamie Rutledge was the Bucs’ leader in assists with 1003 to average 9.04 per set. Rutledge also added 203 digs to average 1.86 per set. Junior libero Katie Muey finished the season second on the team with 436 digs (3.14 per set) and added 37 service aces (0.27 per set).

ECU in Season Openers
Since the program’s inception in 1977, the East Carolina volleyball team has put together a 16-20 record in season openers. During the Pirates’ inaugural season, they defeated UNC Greensboro, 3-2, to kick off the year. Most recently, ECU dropped a five-set match to Campbell in 2012. This season, the Pirates will be looking for their first season-opening victory since they defeated Gardner-Webb, 3-1, in 2011.

New Leader
Head volleyball coach Julie Torbett, who was hired in February, will be the 12th head coach in ECU volleyball history. Torbett will look to earn her first win as a Pirate and the program’s first win under a new leader since 1990 when Martha McCaskill took the reigns to open the season. McCaskill’s Pirates earned a 3-0 victory over Pembroke State to kick off the year and Torbett’s Pirates look to begin the 2013 season in the win column as well.

Welcome Back
2013 brings back 10 Pirate student-athletes from last season including senior opposite hitter Nicole Willis and senior defensive specialist/libero Shelby Beasley. Willis, was the team’s leader in almost every offensive category as she finished the year with 3.76 kills per set, 2.65 digs per set, 0.51 blocks per set and 0.26 service aces per set. Beasley led the Pirates with 430 digs to average 4.34 per set and added 22 aces (0.22 per set). Also returning to the friendly confines of Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum is senior outside hitter Whitney Campbell who registered 122 kills (1.34 per set), 126 digs (1.38 per set), 37 total blocks (0.41 per set) and 146.0 points as a junior. Junior setter Zarah Cecich is another of the Pirates’ 10 returnees. The Crown Point, Ind., native concluded her sophomore season with a team-best 395 assists to average 7.31 assists. Cecich also added 52 digs, 30 kills, 11 total block and eight service aces.

The Freshman Class
The Pirates signed four incoming freshman over the off season in Bella Borgiotti, Dayna Kramer, Ashley McRae, and Halee Wright. Borgiotti comes to Greenville after playing four years at George C. Marshall High School where she was named the team MVP as a senior setter. She also gained experience playing club volleyball for the Virginia Elite Vipers. Kramer is a three-time district champion out of Ronald Reagan High School in San Antonio, Texas who plays opposite. She is a four-time academic all-district honoree and led the Rattlers to the Pearland Championships in her senior year. McRae is a middle hitter out of Bethesda Chevy Chase High School were she posted 117 kills as a senior to rank second on the team. After concluding the 2012 season with 50 solo blocks and a .389 hitting percentage, McRae was nominated for the County’s Senior All-Star game and was a Gazette Honorable Mention selection. Wright, a defensive specialist, played four years at Reynold High School and garnered first team all-conference honors as a senior. She was also named MVP at the end of her senior season.

All in the Family
There are a few East Carolina family connections on the roster again this season. Sophomore Torre Blake, who saw action in 45 sets last season, is the daughter of Jeff Blake who played football at ECU and proceeded to enjoy a lengthy NFL career. Additionally, Kierra and Sierra Lee-Dunson return to the Pirates this season after Kierra played in 29 sets and Sierra redshirted last year. 2013 marks the first season East Carolina will have a pair of twins on the court since Sarah and Jessica Vick donned purple and gold from 2001-03.

The “New” Conference USA
Conference USA was one of the many conferences that saw realignments over the summer. July 1, 2013 marked the addition of Charlotte, FIU, Florida Atlantic, LA Tech, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Old Dominion, and UTSA to C-USA. While the conference expanded with the eight new member institutions, it also parted ways with Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF as all four joined the American Athletic Conference. 2013 will also mark the last year of ECU’s affiliation with Conference USA as the Pirates will join the American Athletic Conference beginning next season.

Coming Up...
Following East Carolina’s season-opening tournament, the Pirates will return to Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum for their home opener. ECU will host the East Carolina Classic from Friday, September 6 - Saturday, September 7. The tournament includes The Citadel, Morgan State, and Loyola Chicago. The Pirates will take on The Citadel on Friday, September 6, at 7 p.m., before hosting Morgan State and Loyola on Saturday, September 7, at 12:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.