Volleyball Hosts Houston For Pair Of League Matches
Oct. 7, 2011
GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina closes out a four-match homestand with a pair of league contests against Houston. The Pirates and Cougars are set to square off Saturday, Oct. 8 at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. with both matches occurring at Minges Coliseum.
ECU brings a nine-match losing streak into the weekend and has been swept five-straight times. The Pirates are 2-12 overall and 0-5 in C-USA action after dropping three-set decisions to UCF and UTEP at home last weekend. The contest against the Miners was close during the first two frames, but UTEP ultimately edged out East Carolina 25-23 in each interval to seize a 2-0 lead going into the intermisison.
Senior Britney Roper leads the Pirate offense with 110 kills in 44 sets played for an average of 2.50 per frame. Running that offense has been the underclassmen tandem of sophomore Kasey Kavanaugh and freshman Zarah Cecich. The latter has started the last six contests as ECU's setter and has amassed 103 assists (5.42 a/s). Sophomore Shelby Beasley has excelled defensively, owning a digs/set average of 4.06. In C-USA play, the mark is even better at 4.38 a set. She is one dig away from 200 for the season and 190 from matching Melanie Richards for the 10th most in a single year. Redshirt junior Kelly Derby is the most consistent offensive threat, putting up a .256 hitting mark with just 25 errors through 14 matches.
In looking at the Conference USA standings, Houston sits in a tie for third place with UCF, UTEP, Rice and Memphis after five league contests as each team sports a 3-2 mark. The Cougars are 10-5 overall and have dropped two-straight matches to Tulsa and SMU on the road. However, UH has captured five of its last seven decisions and started league play with three consecutive victories. Individually, the Cougars boast three players with 150-plus kills - led by Katie Norris' 164. Lucy Charuk and Stephanie Nwachukwu fall just behind with 159 and 153, respectively. Charuk also serves as the team's top blocker, having racked up 74 - good for 1.32 per set. Defensively, Natalie Keck paces the back row with 248 digs for an average of 4.51 per set. Houston resides in the top half of the league in a number of statistical categories, including hitting percentage (.242) and blocks per set (2.38).
If the Pirates are able to emerge victorious over Houston Friday, they would surpass their 2010 season output for victories as well as secure their first league win of the campaign. ECU trails in the series with the Cougars 11-1 with its only win occurring Oct. 22, 2006 in Greenville via a four-set decision. Houston has won five-straight meetings, including three by the way of a sweep.
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