ECU women’s volleyball downs Davidson in five sets

Published: Mar. 21, 2021 at 11:36 PM EDT
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DAVIDSON, N.C. (ECU) – East Carolina put four players in double figures in the kill column Sunday afternoon, holding off a late charge from Davidson to record a 3-2 (25-27, 25-14, 25-16, 22-25, 15-10) non-conference victory inside Belk Arena.

The Pirates improve to 4-7 while the Wildcats dip to 2-10.

Senior outside hitter Sydney Kleinman racked up a team-high 19 kills and completed a double-double by adding 12 digs. Classmate and right side Bri Wood also tabulated a double-double of 14 kills and 11 digs while junior outside hitter Natalie Tyson notched a double-double of her own to the tune of 13 kills and 11 digs. Joining the double-double brigade was setter Janiece Jefferies who exploded for 29 assists and a match-high 25 digs.

Hattie Rodriguez led Davidson with 19 kills and 15 digs while Malia Kay finished with 16 kills and 14 digs. Bella Brady paced the back row with 23 digs.

Both teams racked up 12 total blocks, but the Pirates had the better of the offensive statistical categories. ECU collected more kills (67-55) and out-hit its hosts .203 to .104. The Pirates also held the upper hand in digs by a 94-86 count. Redshirt junior middle blocker Sydney Hall and redshirt sophomore middle blocker S’mara Riley combined for 11 total blocks, including five of the solo variety by Hall.

A solo block by Davidson’s Hattie Rodriguez saw the home team claim a 19-13 advantage in the opener. East Carolina began to chip away at the deficit, eventually knotting the score at 23 via a Tyson kill. The teams went back and forth into extra points before the Wildcats used a kill and a Pirate attack error to clinch the set.

ECU responded with a vengeance in the second frame, racing out to an 8-0 advantage. The lead grew all the way to 20-8 on a kill by Kleinman before the Pirates closed it down by 11.

The teams played to a 6-6 deadlock in the third. At that point, East Carolina began to assert itself. A Davidson attack error capped an 11-3 Pirate run that saw the Purple and Gold coast to the win and a 2-1 lead in the match.

East Carolina found itself in front 8-3 early in the fourth, looking to close out the match. The Pirates weren’t able to hold the Wildcats off as they surged ahead 18-15 before eventually winning the frame by three to force the decider.

Leaving little doubt, ECU built an 8-2 edge in the fifth as Riley began to take over the match. Davidson made a late run to draw within 11-9, but the Pirates closed the match on a 4-1 run.

Up Next: East Carolina closes out the 2021 spring campaign Friday with a home match against North Carolina A&T.

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