DURHAM, N.C. – The ECU volleyball team put itself back in the win column Tuesday evening, picking up a 3-0 (25-15, 25-9, 25-19) non-conference victory over N.C. Central inside McDougald-McClendon Arena. The Pirates swept the home-and-home season series with the Eagles after downing NCCU in three sets back on Sept. 19 in Greenville.
Team Records: ECU (16-9) | N.C. Central (3-17)
ECU committed a season-low seven errors and racked up 49 kills to hit a season-best .424 – the fifth-highest single-match hitting percentage in program history. The Pirates also tallied 50 digs and six total blocks while limiting NCCU to 26 kills, 38 digs, two blocks and a .092 hitting mark.
Senior outside hitter Lael Ceriani posted a match-high 11 kills and a .476 hitting percentage while senior outside hitter Ashton Mares and sophomore middle hitter Toya Osuegbu chipped in with 10 kills apiece. Mares also recorded 11 digs for her sixth double-double of the season. Da’Nesha Miller accounted for 11 kills and eight digs to pace the Eagles.
Torbett’s Take: “It was nice for us to step out of conference play and put together a really solid effort. We were able to get everyone some playing time and try some new things. I was very pleased with our offense and how we were able to score consistently. We can take some confidence into a big match Friday against USF.”
Set One: The Pirates came out on fire, scoring the first seven points of the match. The Eagles drew within 10-5 following a service ace, but ECU answered with three straight to establish an eight-point advantage. The Pirate lead grew to 20-10 before the teams split the final two points of the stanza.
Set Two: ECU produced another solid start in the second frame, netting the first three points. NCCU cut the lead to 4-3 after a Pirate attacking error, but the Purple and Gold started to roll from there. With a 12-8 advantage in its grasp, ECU put together a 10-0 run to put the Eagles away and eventually grab a 2-0 match lead heading into the intermission.
Set Three: The Pirates made a few changes to the lineup as the third set commenced, and N.C. Central surged ahead 11-8. The Eagles enjoyed a 16-13 edge later in the frame, but ECU responded with a 6-0 run to take a 19-16 lead and force a NCCU timeout. The Eagles burned their final timeout when the Pirates captured a 22-18 advantage, but ECU clamped down and scored three of the final four points.
News and Notes
The Pirates’ 16 wins surpass last season’s total and are the most in a single campaign since the 2007 squad went 16-17 under former head coach Chris Rushing.
Head coach Julie Torbett matched Alita Dillon for the most wins by an ECU head coach with 71.
The Pirates used their entire available roster in the match.
ECU notched its sixth true road victory of 2017, improving to 6-4 in that respect.
Up Next: ECU gets back into conference play Friday at 7 p.m., hosting USF inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.