Sept. 18, 2009
ECU Volleyball Gameday Central
Match Notes in PDF Format
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The East Carolina volleyball team makes its first foray into Conference USA action this weekend, facing off against Marshall at 1 p.m. on Sept. 19 at the Cam Henderson Center. The Pirates enjoyed a successfull weekend at the Winston-Salem State Lady Rams Invitational, defeating WSSU, UNC Asheville and Savannah State while falling to Wofford. Junior middle hitter Lizzy Bruin was named to the All-Tournament Team, racking up 39 kills and a .387 hitting percentage. Senior Stephanie Turner paces the offense for ECU with 99 kills and a 2.91 per set average. Ranking fifth in C-USA, senior setter Hannah Fenker has given out 345 assists and owns a 9.86 per set mark. Defensively, Turner also holds the edge, having recorded 79 digs (2.32 per set). However, classmate Katie Prast is not far behind with 73.
Looking Back: Many Pirates had fine individual showings at the WSSU Invitational. Sophomore Britney Roper stole the show against the Rams, collecting 12 kills on 18 attempts with no errors for a .667 percentage, representing the highest single-game mark in C-USA this season. Bruin dominated the middle against the Bulldogs, nailing 17 kills on 26 attempts with just five errors (.462) while facing a triple block for most of the match. In the tilt with Savannah State, sophomore Amanda Lutzow served 15-straight points to begin the match, as the Pirates raced out to a 15-0 lead. In that run alone, she recorded a career-high six aces.
Marshall owns the second-best record in C-USA with an 11-2 ledger. The Herd suffered its first two losses of the season last weekend at the Carolina Classic, falling in three sets to Colorado State and Tennessee. Marshall did, however, dispatch of tournament host North Carolina in a three-set decision. Four players have produced kill per set averages of 3.00-plus in Elizabeth Herman (3.23), Katy Schad (3.00), Kristin Marcum (3.11) and Emily Sullivan (3.05). Marcum paces the Herd offense in kills with 140 while Herman has distributed a team-best 496 assists. Another quartet of Marshall players have tallied 100 or more digs on the season as Ryanne Milligan leads the squad with 173 for an average of 3.84 per set.
WAY DOWN LOW
In the match with Savannah State, the Pirates allowed just two points to the Tigers in the first set. It is the fewest given up by East Carolina since rally scoring went into effect in 2001. Only UAB has matched this feat nationally this season, holding Alcorn State to a pair of scores in the first set of a 3-0 decision on Sept. 4 at the Magnolia Invitational in Oxford, Miss.
QUEENS OF THE ACE
Giving opponents trouble this season with their serving, the Pirates have notched an impressive 64 aces for an average of 1.83 per set, a mark which currently leads C-USA and is 31st nationally. ECU has taken advantage of some good placement and poor passing by its opposition, having recorded 11 aces each against VCU and Savannah State.
With a current 5-5 non-conference record, the Pirates have a good chance of sustaining a four-year streak in which they have posted a winning record in non-league contests. East Carolina has two mor chances to record a non-conference triumph, starting next Tuesday at Campbell. Over the past four-plus seasons, the Pirates have garnered a 43-25 ledger outside of C-USA.
FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME
Last season, East Carolina got off the "schnide" and recorded its first-ever win over Marshall in a 3-1 decision in Greenville. The Pirates had tried seven times before to vanquish the Herd, but failed on each occasion. The match was a tense affair, as the squads split the first two sets before ECU eeked out the third and fourth frames by 25-23 scorelines. Turner led a trio of Pirates in double-figure kill efforts wit her 14 while Fenker and Trish Monroe picked up 10 digs each.
ANYTHING BUT EVEN
East Carolina's record may stand at a symmetrical 5-5, but the Pirates have notched more kills (418-365), attempts (1117-1009), assists (381-325), aces (64-48) and points (543.5-479.5) than their opposition. However, ECU's foes own the edge in digs (420-392) and total blocks (66.5-61.5).
A GOOD START IS ESSENTIAL
Just as breakfast is a good start to a day, the Pirates winning the first set of a match has proven quite beneficial. When taking the first frame this season, East Carolina is 4-1.
PLAYING FOR A CENTURY
Seniors Hannah Fenker, Stephanie Turner and Melissa Zentner have all reached the 100-match plateau for their careers. Fenker and Turner passed the milestone against Arkansas while Zenter reached the mark with her play in the contest vs. Savannah State.
Briana Fleener became the final member of the 2009 East Carolina roster to experience match action, as she played four sets at the WSSU Invitational. She enjoyed her best match against Savannah State, recording seven kills on nine attempts with two errors to hit .556. Fleener also picked up a block assist versus the Tigers.
Redshirt sophomore Britney Roper enjoyed one of her finest outings as an East Carolina volleyball player against Winston-Salem State, pounding the Rams for 12 kills. Even more impressively, she hit at a .667 clip on 18 attempts while committing no errors. Additionally, her 20 kills against St. John's represent the third-most by a Conference USA player in a single match this young season and the third-most in a four-set contest.This feat is noteworthy since only Lizzy Bruin reached that plateau last season. Additionally, Roper aced the Red Storm a personal-best five times.
WHO IS THAT BACK THERE??
In an attempt to shake things up in the back row, head coach Pati Rolf has placed senior Katie Prast and sophomore Amanda Lutzow in the libero position to feature their solid passing and defensive skills. The duo has fared well in their new role, combining for 116 digs in 10 matches.
Through the first two weeks of the season, the Pirates have faced a solid slate of competitors, as ECU's opponents have accrued a record of 66-59 (.528).
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.
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.