Volleyball Continues C-USA Slate At UAB

UABSPORTS.COM Junior Amanda Lutzow leads ECU in kills and kills per set in 2010
Junior Amanda Lutzow leads ECU in kills and kills per set in 2010

Sept. 30, 2010

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The East Carolina volleyball takes to the road for the first time in conference play Friday, traveling to meet UAB at Bartow Arena at 8 p.m. ET before returning to Minges Coliseum for a matchup with Memphis Sunday.

The Pirates dropped two matches to UTEP in Greenville last weekend, both by 3-0 scores, to open the league slate. Juniors Britney Roper and Jackie Varnum posted 11 kills each in the two contests to pace the offense while freshman Kasey Kavanaugh dished out 45 assists. Senior Marina Gusman-Brown anchored the back row as the libero picked up 22 digs for an average of 3.67 per set. As a team, ECU hit just .026, recording 54 kills, 83 digs and eight blocks during the weekend.

SCOUTING THE COMPETITION: UAB enters the weekend at 3-11 overall and 0-2 in the league after suffering a pair of sweeps at the hands of SMU in Birmingham. Jordan McDonald and Sam Serley have combined for 286 kills to lead the offense while setter Allison Woods owns an average of 6.64 assists per set (332 total). Serley has led the charge at the net, racking up 41 blocks to compliment 274 digs by Heather Thomas. As a team, the Blazers are hitting .162, picking up 17.08 digs per set and tallying 1.54 blocks per set. Meanwhile, Memphis is 9-5 overall and 0-2 in C-USA action as Tulsa traveled to Memphis and garnered two 3-1 victories. Altrese Hawkins has a team-high 192 kills while setter Hajnalka Molnar has distributed 386 assists (8.21 per set). Katie Meyer has the most blocks for the Tigers with 40 (a 0.77 average) and Christine Bach is showing at 3.52 digs per set with 183 total.

THE SERIES WITH UAB: The Blazers have won 11 of 16 meetings with the Pirates. East Carolina's last victory over UAB occurred in 2006 in four sets at Minges Coliseum.

THE SERIES WITH MEMPHIS: The Pirates have picked up just three victories over Memphis in 15 meetings. The Tigers have won six straight in the series as ECU has not topped Memphis since 2006 on the road (four-set win).

LOOKING FOR A BETTER START: ECU is 0-2 in league play for the first time since the 2006 season. The Pirates would stop that streak at three after taking out SMU in four sets in Dallas.

WELCOME TO THE STAFF: Jackie Simpson, a two-time AVCA All-America setter and University of Wisconsin alumna, has joined the staff as a volunteer assistant coach for the remainder of the season. She finished her career in a Badger uniform ranked second all-time in career assists and ranks in the top 10 on the career charts for the Big Ten Conference. As the four-year starting setter, she led Wisconsin to a pair of Elite Eight appearances and a Sweet Sixteen showing.

SPEAKING OF BLOCKING...: In a 2010 season full of frustration, one positive has remained constant for the Pirates - team blocking. In defeating the Bearcats, East Carolina owned a 17-5 advantage at the net. So far this season, ECU is averaging nearly two blocks pet set (1.89) while its opponents have just 1.83 per frame. In the league rankings, the Pirates are fourth in blocks accrued and the same in least stuffs allowed.

UP NEXT FOR ECU: The Pirates travel to UCF for their second weekend of back-to-back matches with the same opponent. The teams will play at 7 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 9-10, at the Venue at UCF. The teams split a pair of meetings last season with each squad picking up a win on its home floor.