NC A&T outlasts ECU volleyball in five sets in season finale

ECU volleyball defeats UNC
ECU volleyball defeats UNC(WITN Sports)
Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 9:30 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU) – NC A&T defeated ECU volleyball for the first time in nine tries Friday afternoon, rallying for a 3-2 (20-25, 14-25, 28-26, 25-14, 17-15) non-conference victory inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.

The Pirates end their first season under head coach Adler Augustin at 4-8 while the Aggies improve to 9-1 with one regular season match remaining.

Fatimah Shabazz paced the visitors with 25 kills while Edie Brewer tallied a double-double of 32 assists and 13 digs. Bri Wood led ECU with 15 kills and a career-high 23 digs in her final appearance as a Pirate. Natalie Tyson and Sydney Kleinman followed with 13 and 11 kills respectively and Camryn Allen capped her short stint at East Carolina with 22 digs.

The Pirates hit below .200 in four of the five sets, finishing at .143 efficiency. Conversely, A&T swung at a .184 clip with a 60-53 advantage in kills. ECU did notch more digs (77-67) and total blocks (7.0-5.0).

The teams battled to a tie at 14 in the first set before a pair of errors and a Kleinman ace helped the Pirates establish some breathing room at 17-14. The Aggies drew within 21-19 following an East Carolina ball-handling error, but the Pirates scored four of the final points to seize early control in the match.

After a bad set by A&T setter Addy Warfield afforded ECU a 9-6 lead in the second stanza, the Aggies called a timeout to regroup. The Pirates just pulled further ahead, building as much as a nine-point cushion at 18-9 before closing out the set by 11 to take a 2-0 cushion into the intermission.

Brewer put down a kill to give the visitors a 16-10 lead in the third frame, but a strong serving run by Wood equaled 10-straight East Carolina points as a service ace made the score 19-16. Kleinman added a kill to put the Pirates up by four, and a block by S’mara Riley and Kaiya Heyliger-Powell put ECU at match point, 24-21. East Carolina could not close A&T out as the Aggies rallied to win the set in extra points to extend the match.

North Carolina A&T rolled in the fourth set, limiting to Pirates to a negative hitting percentage (-.027) in forcing a decider. The Aggies raced out to an 8-3 edge in the fifth, forcing ECU to call for time. However, the Pirates chipped away and eventually knotted the score at 10 thanks to an A&T attack error. Both sides had match points down the stretch, but the Aggies had the last word, breaking a 15-15 deadlock with an East Carolina attack error and a service ace.

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