GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina volleyball team could not ride the momentum of a five-set win over UTEP Friday, falling in three (16-25, 14-25, 20-25) to defending Conference USA champion Tulane Sunday at Minges Coliseum. The Pirates are now 9-12 in 2009 and 2-7 against league opponents, while the Green Wave improve to 12-6 overall and 7-2 in conference play.
"We had a good weekend overall and did some good things," head coach Pati Rolf said. "Tulane is a great team with a lot of experience. It was good for us to see a team that features a fast offense and hard hitters. I believe that we are in a good position to improve the rest of the season as we try to snag one of those berths in the league tournament."
ECU hung with Tulane early in the first set, as the teams played to a 9-9 tie. The Green Wave then scored three-straight points to take a 12-9 lead, forcing a Pirate timeout. Tulane wasn't done, however, as it took the next four rallies to establish an insurmountable 16-9 advantage. The lead stretched to 20-13 before the Green Wave scored five of the next eight points to close the set.
Tulane never allowed East Carolina to get anything going in the second frame, jumping out to a 14-5 margin. The closest the home team came within the visitors was 21-13 before four kills and a Pirate service error allowed the Green Wave to clinch the set.
Tulane came out firing in the third interval, establishing a 5-2 lead. ECU had one last push in it, however, as the Pirates tied the set at seven before reeling off a 12-10 run to assume a 19-17 advantage. The Green Wave settled down from there, ending the match on a 7-1 stretch.
Senior Hannah Fenker recorded her team-leading seventh double-double of the season, as she handed out 22 assists to go along with a squad-best 12 digs.
Redshirt sophomore Britney Roper led the offense with seven kills while senior Melissa Zentner and junior Lizzy Bruin contributed six. Sophomore Amanda Lutzow also had a solid showing defensively, collecting eight digs.
Tulane had the better of the hitting, firing at a .281 clip as compared to .086 for East Carolina. The Green Wave also recorded more kills (39-27) and digs (31-28) while notching nine aces. However, the Pirates did get the better of the blocking (8.5-5.0)
ECU will hit the road for its final road swing of the season, starting Oct. 23 in Orlando against UCF. First serve is set for 7 p.m. at the Venue at UCF. East Carolina bested the Knights, 3-1, in Greenville earlier this season.