WICHITA, Kan. – No. 21 Wichita State put three players in double figures in kills on the way to a 3-0 (25-16, 27-25, 25-XX) American Athletic Conference victory over ECU Sunday afternoon inside Koch Arena. The setback marked the first for the Pirates since a 3-2 loss to SMU back on Sept. 29.
Team Records: ECU (15-7, 7-3 AAC) | Wichita State (18-3, 10-0 AAC)
Senior middle hitter Natalie Montini paced the Pirate offense with 15 kills and a .542 hitting percentage while freshman setter Shelby Martin turned in her fourth-straight double-double with 32 assists and 10 digs. Defensively, sophomore Brandee Markwith was the best statistical libero on the floor as she racked up 19 digs. Abbie Lehman put down a match-high 17 kills and a .625 hitting percentage to lead the Shockers.
Wichita State ran its offense efficiently, recording 55 kills on 127 attempts with 13 errors for a .331 hitting mark. ECU was low error itself, committing just 14 miscues and notching 43 kills on 128 swings to end up firing at a .227 clip. The teams put on a defensive clinic, combining for 120 digs in the three sets. The Pirates also out-blocked the best blocking team in the conference 5.0 to 4.0.
Set One: ECU stayed close early in the opening set, trailing 11-9 after a kill by Wood. The Shockers scored the next four points to pull ahead by six before closing out the frame with consecutive aces.
Set Two: The Pirates jumped ahead early in the stanza, building a 6-3 lead following a kill by Wood. ECU stayed in front for a majority of the frame, leading 20-17 when Wichita State committed an attacking error. The Pirates were in front 22-18 late, but a 4-0 run allowed the Shockers to knot the score at 22. A kill by Montini gave the lead back to ECU briefly, but two-straight points put Wichita State at set point. The Pirates fought off three total set points before a block gave the Shockers the narrow victory and a 2-0 intermission match lead.
Set Three: The teams battled back and forth in the third frame, settling for a tie at 13 points apiece. Wichita State began to pull away, using a 4-0 run to establish some breathing room. With the score at 20-16 later in the stanza, the Shockers scored five of the last eight points to clinch the sweep.
News and Notes
The contest marked the first meeting between the programs.
ECU dropped to 5-2 in true road matches in 2017.
With the first half of American Conference play complete, the Pirates have won at least two sets against every league team except the nationally-ranked Shockers.
ECU held Wichita State well under its 2.58 blocks per set average.
Up Next: ECU begins the second half of its American Conference schedule Thursday at Tulsa. First serve is scheduled for 8 p.m. inside the Reynolds Center.