The East Carolina volleyball team used a 9-2 advantage at the net as it defeated UTEP 3-0 in front of a Minges Coliseum crowd of 613 Friday evening. The Pirates raise their record to 12-8 overall and 3-2 in conference play while the Miners drop to 6-11 on the season and 0-6 in C-USA. It was UTEP’s tenth-consecutive loss. Sophomore Peyton Thompson led the charge at the net, matching her career-high with seven blocks.
The teams battled neck and neck at the beginning of game one until ECU edged ahead 13-10. The lead grew to 19-15, forcing the Miners to call timeout. Another UTEP timeout with the Pirates leading 26-22 proved ineffective as ECU closed out the frame 30-27.
The Pirates maintained a healthy lead throughout game two, taking advantages of 9-5, 16-7 and 25-14 on their way to a 30-21 win and a 2-0 match lead.
With ECU leading 10-7 in game three, the Miners mounted a charge, taking the advantage back with a 10-3 run. The Pirates would respond, tying the frame at 18 and 20 before eventually pulling ahead 22-20 and forcing a UTEP timeout. ECU scored four of the next seven points to take a 26-23 and induce another timeout from its opposition. The Miners fought off two game points but the Pirates prevailed 30-27 to complete the sweep.
Senior Kelley Wernert continued her streak of double-digit kills as she notched 17 on the match. It marks the 18th-straight contest and the 48th match of her last 52. The Illinois native is now just 28 kills shy of setting the school record. Wernert just missed a double-double, tallying nine digs. Thompson also turned in a double-digit effort, contributing 10 kills. Junior Trish Monroe paced the defense, digging up 19 balls. Freshman Katie Koop handed out 37 assists in the match while also recording seven kills on nine attempts with two errors, a percentage of .556, her second-highest of the year.
ECU out-hit UTEP .224-.094 while topping the Miners in kills 51-39 and out-digging them 53-49. The Miners hit under .200 in all three frames.
The Pirates will remain inside Williams Arena for their next contest, a Sunday tilt against Tulane, which suffered its first conference loss tonight at Marshall. First serve is set for 1 p.m.