TAMPA, Fla. (ECU) – The East Carolina volleyball team ended its regular season road slate on a high note, defeating USF 3-1 (25-20, 25-23, 13-25, 25-19) Sunday afternoon at The Corral.
The Pirates (19-9, 6-8 AAC) out-hit the Bulls .283 to .262 and ended up with one more kill (57-56). ECU out-blocked the home team 5.0 to 1.0 while USF (7-21, 1-13) finished with the upper hand in total digs (75-62).
Junior Bri Wood turned in an outstanding stat line, posting 17 kills on 34 attempts with no errors for a .500 hitting percentage. She added 18 digs to complete the double-double. Sophomore Natalie Tyson was also locked in, putting down 13 kills with one error on 31 attempts for a .387 attacking percentage. Junior Sydney Kleinman was in double figures as well offensively, notching 10 kills and six digs. Redshirt junior Brandee Markwith collected 20 digs to lead the defense while senior Toya Osuegbu chipped in with four total blocks.
Lindsay Pliapol paced the home team with 19 kills while Jac'cara Walker turned in a double-double of 11 kills and 11 digs.
Neither team could create much separation in the early part of the opening set, but USF edged in front 14-12 after a kill. East Carolina fought back and took an 18-16 advantage when redshirt sophomore Sydney Hall found the floor for an ace. The Pirate lead grew to 22-18 after a Shelby Martin ace and ECU scored three of the final five points to claim the initial stanza.
After a close start to the second frame, USF forced a Pirate timeout by building a 13-8 cushion. East Carolina slowly chipped away and eventually surged ahead 20-18 behind a big-time serving run out of junior Marissa Harmon. The Bulls rallied for a late 23-22 edge, but the Pirates had the last word – scoring the final three points to win the set by two and grab a 2-0 lead in the match.
ECU got off to a slow start in the third, trailing 11-5. The Pirates could not catch up as USF won the set to extend the match.
East Carolina scored four of the first five points in the fourth before the Bulls stormed back into it. With things deadlocked at seven, a three-point spurt gave the Pirates a three-point edge. USF cut the ECU lead to one, but East Carolina ripped off a 7-3 run to put it out of reach. Tyson then ended the match with an emphatic kill that clinched the set by six.
East Carolina closes out regular season play at home next weekend, welcoming Cincinnati and Wichita State to Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.