GREENVILLE, N.C. – The East Carolina volleyball team won its final home match of the season, defeating Southern Miss 3-0 inside Minges Coliseum Sunday afternoon. With their third-straight win, the Pirates improved their record to 15-14 overall while moving to 6-8 in conference play. The Golden Eagles suffered their 10th-consecutive loss as they dropped to 10-20 on the season and 1-13 in C-USA. East Carolina’s victory avenged a 3-2 defeat in Hattiesburg on Sept. 30, the only conference win for Southern Miss.
Behind the serving of Peyton Thompson, the Pirates blitzed the Golden Eagles, scoring the first nine points of the game. Southern Miss would never recover as ECU took leads of 13-4, 19-9 and 27-16 on its way to a 30-19 win.
A quick 2-1 advantage in game two for the Golden Eagles forced Pirate head coach Chris Rushing to take a timeout. An 8-3 run by East Carolina then induced a timeout from Southern Miss. A seemingly comfortable 18-12 lead for the Pirates rapidly evaporated as the Golden Eagles rallied to tie the frame at 20. However, ECU was able to out-score its opposition 10-3 to close out the game with a 30-23 win.
The Pirates jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the final frame but Southern Miss responded to take a 9-7 advantage. East Carolina used an 8-3 run to regain the lead at 15-12 and induced a timeout from the Golden Eagles as it stretched the advantage to 17-14. A quick 4-1 run by the Pirates forced Southern Miss to take its final timeout. With ECU holding match point at 29-23, the Golden Eagles rallied to pull within 29-27 but a Thompson kill slammed the door as the Pirates took the game 30-27.
Senior Kelley Wernert combined with sophomore Melissa Zentner to provide 30 of East Carolina’s 48 kills. Thompson just missed double-digits as she put down nine. Sophomore Hannah Fenker was the top defensive contributor as she notched 10 digs. Freshman Katie Koop had another strong performance, hitting 1.000 with three kills and no errors while dishing out 41 assists.
The Pirates out-hit Southern Miss .318-.180 while also winning the blocking battle (12-8). The Golden Eagles edged ECU in digs 34-31 but committed 23 errors to only 14 for the Pirates.
East Carolina will close the regular season this weekend as it hits the road to Memphis and Birmingham. The Pirates and Tigers will square off at 8 p.m. on Friday inside the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
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