Pirates Host Tulane And Southern Miss In Rematches

UABSPORTS.COM Kelly Derby racked up a career-high 12 digs in her return from injury last Friday at SMU.
Kelly Derby racked up a career-high 12 digs in her return from injury last Friday at SMU.

Oct. 27, 2011

Matches 21-22: vs. Tulane and Southern Miss
Dates Friday, Oct. 28 | Sunday, Oct. 30
Times 7:00 p.m. | 2:00 p.m.
Location Greenville, N.C. (Minges Coliseum)
Match Notes East Carolina Match Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Statistics East Carolina Statistics Get Acrobat Reader | Tulane Season Statistics Get Acrobat Reader | Southern Miss Season Statistics Get Acrobat Reader
Internet Coverage Tulane Gametracker | Tulane Live Video | Southern Miss Gametracker | Southern Miss Live Video
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GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina will help celebrate Homecoming weekend with a pair of matches against Tulane and Southern Miss. The Pirates will square off against the Green Wave Friday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. before welcoming the Golden Eagles to Minges Coliseum Sunday at 2 p.m.

ECU dropped 3-0 decisions at SMU and at home against Tulsa last weekend as the Pirates look to snap a 15-match skid. East Carolina has been swept in five consecutive matches, last taking a set from an opponent Oct. 8 versus Houston. A win this weekend by the Pirates would surpass their 2010 season output for victories as well as secure their first league triumph of the campaign. ECU dropped 3-0 decisions in Hattiesburg, Miss., and New Orleans, La., two weeks ago as the Pirates still look to pick up their first-ever win over the Green Wave.

Tulane has dropped four of its last six matches, but defeated Southern Miss in straight sets at home during that stretch. The Green Wave have thus dropped to 11th place in the C-USA standings with a 3-8 record.

Cori Martone leads the Tulane offense with 228 kills (3.04 k/s) and is second on the squad with 18 aces. Mel Mandelbaum and Lilly Wolfe share the setting duties, having produced assist totals of 471 and 349 respectively. Defensively, Nikki Osuna has racked up a team-best385 digs (4.70 d/s). In the blocking column, Anna Wruck has collected 86 blocks for a 1.02 average. A few weeks ago in the teams' last meeting, Milica Jovic ripped 15 kills on 27 attempts with just two errors for a .481 hitting mark. Cori Martone also hit double-digits in kills with 12. Additionally, Izabella Grot had a fine match, hitting a stellar .611 with 12 kills.

As a team, the Green Wave is hitting .180 and averages 12.35 kills per set. The Green Wave are a decent serving squad, having posted 95 aces (1.13 a/s).

Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles made a big jump in the league standings with two wins last weekend as they downed UCF and home and UTEP in El Paso. Southern Miss is now tied for sixth with the Knights as both teams sport a 5-6 record.

A trio of seniors led C-USA in their respective categories in the last two matches as the Offensive Player of the Week award was given to Ashley Mell, followed by Kelsea Seymour earning Setter of the Week merits and, for the second-straight time, Lisa Knecht was voted Defensive Player of the Week. Mell was a catalyst for the Golden Eagles in their last match with the Pirates, as she put down 16 kills. Knecht also had a fine showing, racking up 18 digs.

Speaking of defense, Southern Miss is tops in C-USA with 18.18 digs per set. The Golden Eagles are 11-12 overall and are hitting .183 collectively. Additionally, Southern Miss is averaging 13.40 kills, 12.78 assists and 2.13 blocks per frame. In the all-time series with East Carolina, the Golden Eagles hold an 11-7 advantage and have not dropped a match to the Pirates since 2007.

The Pirates have been a little shorthanded lately, as middle hitters Jackie Varnum and Kelly Derby are sidelined with a stress fracture and concussion, respectively. Derby returned in the match at SMU last Friday and picked up a career-best 12 digs after playing all six rotations.

ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS Redshirt junior Kelly Derby has been named to three all-tournament squads this season at the Jefferson Cup, UNCW Mayfaire Tournament and the Thunder Invitational. The middle hitter is attacking at a .301 clip this season, a team high, and is second on the squad with 30 total blocks. Additionally, Derby has committed just 12 errors on 146 attempts in 2011.

With the 3-1 victory over UNC Wilmington at Hanover Hall, the Pirates captured their first true road win since defeating Campbell in four sets at Gore Arena on Sept. 22, 2009.

In the three matches against Virginia, Long Island and No. 1 California at the Jefferson Cup, East Carolina out-blocked and committed less attacking errors than all of its opponents, but ended up on the losing side in part to getting out-dug, tallying less kills and siding out at a lower percentage.

Freshman Zarah Cecich played in two sets in the Jefferson Cup, experiencing her first extended action of her collegiate career. She posted two kills and dished out 12 assists to go along with seven digs and three block assists. Cecich also started the first contest of her career at UNC Wilmington, dishing out 25 assists and leading the Pirates to a four-set victory. The Indiana native has served as ECU's setter the last 12 matches.

Head Coach Pati Rolf was selected to referee two major international volleyball tournaments this summer - the Montreux Volley Masters in Switzerland and the FIVB Women's Junior World Championship in Lima, Peru.

Entering this season, Rolf was one of just 46 active Division I head coaches to amass more than 400 wins in her career.

ECU embarks on its final road trip of the season next weekend, traveling to Houston for a pair of matches with Rice. The Pirates and Owls will match up at Tudor Fieldhouse on Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. before competing the two-contest set the next day at 3 p.m.