Sept. 29, 2009
Complete Match Notes In PDF Format
ECU Volleyball Gameday Central
GREENVILLE, N.C. - After splitting a pair of home Conference USA contests last weekend, the East Carolina volleyball team steps out of league play Tuesday night, hosting a match against long-time rival UNC Wilmington. The Pirates (7-7, 1-2 C-USA) put forth perhaps their strongest effort of the campaign in dispatching UCF, 3-1, on Friday before succumbing to a powerful Southern Miss squad in three sets on Sunday. The Seahawks enter the contest at 9-7 overall and 0-1 in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) action, dropping a four-set decision at Georgia State on Sunday. UNC Wilmington is the most frequent opponent in ECU program history, as the two teams have squared off 63 times. The Seahawks have the upper hand in the series, 37-26, but the Pirates have won the last 12 meetings, last losing at Wilmington in five sets during the 1998 season.
Looking Back: In the four-set win over the Knights, two players tallied double-doubles as senior Hannah Fenker handed out 45 assists to go along with 12 digs while junior Lizzy Bruin put down a team-best 15 kills and collected a career-high 13 digs. It was the first double-double of the year for Bruin and third for Fenker, tying senior Stephanie Turner for the team lead. Turner (12) and sophomore Britney Roper (10) also recorded double-digit kills while sophomore Amanda Lutzow (13) and senior Melissa Zentner (12) picked up double figures in digs. Against the Golden Eagles, Bruin again paced the offense with nine kills while also notching eight digs. Fenker nearly added her third double-double of the week, distributing 27 assists to go along with nine digs. Sophomore Nicole Jones was the lone Pirate to reach double-digits defensively, tallying 10 kills in the three frames. With a week's total of 35 kills, Turner sits just seven away from 10th on the Pirate career ledger. She and Fenker picked up 10 and 35 digs, respectively, to move into ninth (890) and 10th (881) on the program career chart.
About UNC Wilmington: The Seahawks are led by a new head coach this season in Amy Bambenek. In the loss at Georgia State, senior Lindsay Strucko tallied a team-best 14 kills while classmate Ashlyn Morris picked up a squad-high 11 digs. UNCW was out-blocked 7-2 while also suffering 12 service reception errors against the Panthers, the top serving team in the nation. Strucko paces the Seahawk offense with 185 kills in 2009 for an average of 3.25 per set. Defensively, UNCW is led at the net by Kimberly Friedl, who has collected 50 blocks, and in the back row by Morris, owner of 229 digs for a healthy average of 4.02 per set.
Arriving at the Top
With some key performances last week, Stephanie Turner and Hannah Fenker broke into the ECU career digs top 10 ledger. Turner grabbed a total of 10 in three matches to vault into ninth while Fenker picked up an impressive 35 to move to 10th. Additionally, Turner sits just eight kills away from overtaking Gwynn Baber for 10th.
With only two regular season contests falling outside of the weekend this season, the Pirates have a chance to improve upon their recent midweek record. Including last week's 3-1 win at Campbell, East Carolina has compiled a 15-match winning streak in contests that fall between Monday and Thursday. The last loss occurred at home on September 28, 2004, a 3-2 loss to the Camels.
.200 or Better
If the Pirates have compiled a .200-plus hitting percentage in 2009, they have been unstoppable, racking up a 6-0 record. In two of those contests, East Carolina has surpassed the .400 plateau, firing at .442 and .434 clips against Savannah State and Winston-Salem State, respectively.
Ladies Dig...Well, Digs
It is a widely held mantra that defense wins championships. For the Pirates in 2009, it also means winning games during the season as ECU owns a 6-0 mark when out-digging its opponents. In three of the victories, the Pirates have surpassed 40 (UNC Asheville 45, St. John's 58, Campbell 72).
Picking it up on Both Sides of the Net
ECU enjoyed one of its most efficient efforts of the season, collecting 60 kills and 72 digs in the 3-1 triumph over Campbell. The 60 kills match the season hig h set against UNC Asheville while the 72 digs are a new campaign best, smashing the previous high of 58 versus St. John's.
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 77 aces for an average of 1.54 per set, a mark which currently leads C-USA. 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 6-6 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 the streak-decider tonight when it hosts UNCW in its final non-conference tilt. Over the past four-plus seasons, the Pirates have garnered a 44-25 ledger outside of C-USA.
Anything But Even
East Carolina's record may stand at a symmetrical 7-7, but the Pirates have notched more kills (607-550), attempts (1687-1548), assists (555-499), aces (77-64), blocks (96.0-92.5) and points (780.0-706.5) than their opposition. However, ECU's foes own the edge in hitting percentage (.183-.180) and digs (660-622)
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 6-1.
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 Zentner 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 collegiate match action, as she played four sets at the WSSU Invitational. She enjoyed her best effort against Savannah State, recording seven kills on nine attempts with two errors to hit .556. Fleener also picked up two blocks at Marshall.
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. That percentage is the second- highest mark by a Conference USA player this season.
Who is that Back There??
In an attempt to shake things up in the back row, head coach Pati Rolf has placed sophomore Amanda Lutzow in the libero position to feature her solid passing and defensive skills. Lutzow has begun to excel in her new role, picking up double-digit digs in four of her last five matches.