Sept. 26, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. –The East Carolina volleyball team is looking to snap a three-match losing skid as the Pirates travel to Denton, Texas to open Conference USA action at North Texas on Friday, September 27. First serve is set for 8 p.m. ET.
The contest marks the first-ever meeting between the Pirates (7-8) and the Mean Green (8-8) in program history. The match is both teams’ conference opener.
The Pirates are looking to get back on the winning track after dropping three consecutive matches to Denver (2-3), UT Arlington (1-3), and Howard (1-3). East Carolina’s four-set loss to Howard came Tuesday night in Washington, D.C. The contest was close throughout as there were a total of 41 ties and 17 lead changes during the contest. Senior opposite hitter Nicole Willis recorded her team-leading eighth double-double of the season with a match-high 20 kills and team-best 14 digs. She added three assists, one block assist, and hit .341 in the match. Sophomore middle hitter Kierra Lee-Dunson notched a career-best nine kills with three block assists to hit a team-leading .471. Senior outside hitter Whitney Campbell also added nine kills was as many digs to go along with two block assists, while junior setter Zarah Cecich dished out 37 assists, six digs, five kills and three blocks assists. Senior libero Shelby Beasley collected 13 digs, while sophomore defensive specialist Erika Figueroa added seven.
The East Carolina defense has been consistent all year as the Pirates are limiting opponents to just .175 hitting to rank third in Conference USA. ECU has also tallied 796 digs to average 15.31 per set which is good for fourth in the league. Offensively, the Pirates average 11.96 kills per set to go along with 11.29 assists per game.
ECU is led by Willis’ 222 kills which average 4.27 kills per set to rank fourth in the conference and 31st in the NCAA. The Raleigh, N.C., native’s 4.77 points per game average is also good for third in the league and ranks 30th in the nation. Beasley has been solid for ECU in the back row as she sets the standard with 198 digs to average 3.81 per set. Cecich has accumulated 404 assists this year to average 8.60 per set. Kierra Lee-Dunson leads the squad with 41 total blocks to average 0.84 per set. She also owns 73 kills, nine digs, and two assists.
North Texas owns a 5-1 home record with the Mean Green’s only home loss coming to Utah (1-3) at the North Texas Invitational. Most recently, the Mean Green swept Stephen F. Austin in a mid-week non-conference contest Wednesday night.
Carnae Dillard leads the Mean Green offense with 205 kills to average 3.87 per set and ranks seventh in Conference USA. Amy Henard is North Texas’ setter as she owns 621 assists for an average of 11.09 per set which is good for fourth in the league. Shelby Tamura leads the squad with 228 digs to average 4.15 per set which places her eighth in the conference. Courtney Windham is the Mean Green’s leader in blocks with 57 to average 1.10 per set which ranks her eighth in C-USA. Windham is second on the team with 122 kills (2.35 per set) and adds 11 digs, four aces and a pair of assists. As a team, North Texas is hitting .228 and averages 13.57 kills per set with 14.55 digs per set, and 12.61 assists per set.
Live stats and video will be available for the match.