Sept. 4, 2009
East Carolina Match Notes in PDF Format
ECU Volleyball Gameday Central
BLACKSBURG, Va. - After a 1-2 opening weekend at the VCU Invitational, which featured a 3-1 win over 2008 Big East regular season co-champion St. John's, the East Carolina volleyball program returns to the Commonwealth State for the 2009 Virginia Tech Tournament.
The Pirates will face the host Hokies, Arkansas and Norfolk State in the two-day event. Virginia Tech swept its home tournament last weekend, defeating Montana, UNC
Greensboro and Liberty while the Razorbacks went 1-2 at the TCU Invitational and the
Spartans collected a 1-2 mark at the UTEP Sun Bowl Invitational.
In addition to the win over St. John's in Richmond, the Pirates fell to Wright State, 3-2 and could not overcome host VCU, dropping a 3-1 decision on Saturday evening.
Senior Stephanie Turner notched two double-doubles on her way to selection to the
VCU Invitational All-Tournament Team. Senior Melissa Zentner also earned designation
to the all-tournament squad, tallying 15 kills each against the Raiders and the Rams. Additionally, sophomore Britney Roper smashed her career-high mark for kills in a match with 20 in the contest with the Red Storm (her previous best was 13).
There Is Some Potential There
If the East Carolina volleyball team's performance at the VCU Invitational
is a sign of things to come, Pirate fans can certainly look forward
to the future. Besides knocking off St. John's, the 2008 Big East regular
season co-champion, the Pirates nearly recorded a sweep over Wright
State, who received votes in the preseason Top 25 AVCA Poll before
stretching a solid VCU team to 25-23 in the fourth set on its home floor.
ECU will have another chance to impress this weekend, facing ACC foe
Virginia Tech and SEC rival Arkansas at the VT Tournament in Blacksburg.
Redshirt sophomore Britney Roper
enjoyed her finest outing as an East
Carolina volleyball player against St. John's, pounding the Red Storm
for a career-high 20 kills. Even more impressively, she hit at a .424 clip
on 33 attempts while committing just six errors. Those 20 kills represent
the second-most by a Conference USA player in a single match this
young season and the second-most in a four-set contest. This feat is
noteworthy since only Lizzy Bruin
reached that plateau last season.
Additionally, Roper aced St. John's a personal-best five times.
Senior outside Stephanie Turner produced a solid effort on opening weekend,
recording two double-doubles and notching three double-digit kill
efforts on her way to selection to the VCU Invitational All-Tournament
Team. With 17 kills against Wright State, she fell just one short of her
career high set on Sept. 1, 2006 against, ironically enough, the Raiders.
After sitting out her true freshman season with an injury, Kelly Derby
showed what the Pirates were missing last season with a solid performance
at the VCU Invitational. She produced 12 total blocks, good for
the early team lead, while also picking up a squad-best hitting percentage
of .412, putting down 17 kills on 34 attempts with just three
Zentner With A Zing
Along with Turner, senior outside Melissa Zentner earned a nod to the
VCU Invitational All-Tournament Team, as she contributed 38 kills on
100 attempts with 13 errors to hit .250 for the weekend. That mark
currently ranks second on the squad behind Derby while Zentner is also
second in attempts, just 18 behind Turner.
Just Get To The Second Set
One anomally from this past weekend was that the Pirates won the second
set in each match they played. In fact, it was the only frame in which ECU
won at least twice in the three contests.
But Avoid A Slow Start
If the Pirates can transfer their second set success to the first frame,
they will be tough to beat this season. In two of the three matches last
weekend, East Carolina dropped the first set by a combined 14 points.
Queens Of The Ace
Giving opponents trouble all weekend with their serving, the Pirates
notched an impressive 26 aces for an average of 2.00 per set, a mark
which currently leads C-USA. Despite dropping the contest with VCU,
ECU took advantage of some poor Ram passing to collect 11 aces in the
Who Is That Back There?
In an attempt to shake things up, head coach Pati Rolf placed senior
Katie Prast in the libero position to feature her solid passing and defensive
skill. Prast fared very well in her new role, racking up a careerhigh
15 digs against VCU.
We Have Seen This Before
The fact that the Pirates have started the season with a 1-2 record is
not an unfamiliar sight. Including this season, East Carolina has begun
a campaign by dropping two of its first three matches four out of the
last five years. However, in 2005 and 2006, the Pirates produced a
The East Carolina volleyball team returns six starters and 12
letterwinners from the 2008 squad. The Pirates also compete this
season without any true freshmen.
Welcome To Greenville
Coaching veteran Pati Rolf is in her first season with ECU and boasts
a career record of 413-269 in her 22nd season. For the past 21
years, she has led the programs at Minnnesota-Duluth and former
C-USA member Marquette. Rolf also represents one of just 15 certified
female international officials for volleyball in the world.
East Carolina has taken part in six of the last eight C-USA Tournaments.
The only two seasons that the Pirates have not participated
in the event are 2002 and 2003, as the squad became volleyball
members of the league in 2002. Begin with the 2009 season, only
the top eight teams in the standings qualify for the tournament.