Willis Knocks Down 20 Kills in Pirates' 3-1 Loss to Memphis

UABSPORTS.COM Junior right side Nicole Willis
Junior right side Nicole Willis

Oct. 19, 2012

Box Score

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Nicole Willis pounded out 20 kills and recorded her team-leading ninth double-double, but the East Carolina volleyball team was unable to come away with a victory over Conference foe Memphis. The Pirates fell 3-1 (18-25, 22-25, 25-22, 19-25) to the visiting Tigers Friday night at Minges Coliseum.

Willis turned in a 20-kill, 12-dig performance and hit .333 in the East Carolina (1-19, 0-9 C-USA) setback. The junior right side added a pair of block assists and finished the match with 21.0 points. Her 20 kills were a match-high. Shelby Beasley recorded a match-high 19 digs as she paced the Pirate defense. Beasley also contributed a pair of assists and two service aces. Zarah Cecich notched 37 assists, three digs and had one block assist at setter, while Virginia Fitch tallied nine kills and six total blocks. Kelly Derby turned in another solid effort with seven kills, nine digs, and two total blocks, while Hannah Allgood registered five kills and as many digs for the Pirates.

East Carolina and Memphis (8-16, 3-6 C-USA) battled each other hard throughout the match. Each of the four sets were close contests as the Pirates finished the match with a 56-percent sideout percentage and the Tigers posted a 65-percent margin.

After a 6-6 tie in the first set was broken, the Tigers took the lead and did not relinquish it. However, the Pirates kept the game in reach as they finished the set with eight kills and dropped the contest 25-18.



Despite trailing for most of set two, the Pirates remained within striking distance. Memphis’ largest lead in the set was six (18-12), but the Pirates did not let that stop them. ECU continually battled back and pulled within three (20-23) after a Willis kill. East Carolina was able to muster two more points, but Memphis did as well, and the Tigers took set two, 25-22.

The Pirates would not allow themselves to be swept. After an early 1-1 tie, East Carolina took advantage of a Memphis service error and never looked back. The Pirates pulled out in front 5-1 on a Whitney Campbell kill and forced the Tigers to call for a timeout. The break in action did not stop ECU. The Pirates surged ahead taking a 14-6 lead and watched as Memphis called for yet another timeout. The Tigers tried to bounce back and cut the Pirates’ lead to two (21-19), but East Carolina was determined to come out with a victory. ECU’s stout defense forced the Tigers into three attack errors late in the game and the Pirates took the third set by a score of 25-22.

The fourth set was a battle from the start. The two teams matched each other point for point and tied the set 10 times. Memphis’ Lauren Hawkins laid down a kill to give the Tigers an 11-10 lead and that point would prove to be the game-winner. The Tigers continued to knock down kills and eventually defeated the Pirates, 25-19.

Memphis had four players in double-figure kills in Altrese Hawkins (18), Katie Meyer (12), Lauren Hawkins (11) and Marija Javonovic (10). Veronica Zimmerman and Jaden Louie split time at setter as Zimmerman recorded 28 assists and Louie notched 26. Defensively the Tigers were led by Aleksandra Petronijevic and Viktorija Teivane who each registered 18 digs, while Altrese Hawkins added 13 digs for a double-double.

East Carolina will return to the court Sunday, Oct. 21, for a 1 p.m. conference match with UAB at Minges Coliseum. The Pirates and the Blazers will meet for the 20th time in program history and UAB holds the edge with a 14-5 record against ECU in the all-time series.