GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU) – ECU had a lead in every set against USF Sunday afternoon, but the ball did not quite bounce the Pirates’ way in the end as the Bulls claimed a 3-1 (25-22, 17-25, 25-20, 27-25) American Athletic Conference victory in front of a crowd of 288 inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
“This loss is inexcusable, especially at home,” head coach Julie Torbett said. “We bought right into their game plan. They just waited for us to make mistakes and we obliged. Now we have to pick up another win somewhere else to make up for today’s setback.”
ECU committed 29 attacking errors to end up with a .179 hitting percentage while USF was efficient offensively with 56 kills and only 13 errors – good for a .293 mark. The Bulls also out-dug the Pirates 72-63 and tallied 13 total blocks to ECU’s five.
Sophomore outside hitter Sydney Kleinman was the top all-around player on the floor on either side, putting down a career-high 20 kills and collecting 13 digs as well as a .405 hitting percentage. Sophomore right side Bri Wood followed with 12 kills and 17 digs and freshman outside hitter Natalie Tyson notched 10 kills. Jac’cara Walker paced the visitors with 19 kills and 12 digs.
USF jumped out to a 9-5 lead to start the match but the Pirates rallied to take a 12-11 lead after a service error. A block by sophomore setter Shelby Martin and redshirt freshman middle blocker Sydney Hall afforded ECU a 21-20 advantage late, but the Bulls scored five of the last six points to take the opener.
The Pirates built an 11-6 lead in the second stanza and extended it to eight points at 15-7 after a Tyson kill. That would be more than enough for ECU to win the set by eight and tie the match at the intermission.
Things started out well for the Pirates at the outset of the third as ECU built a 5-1 cushion. However, a 10-1 run by USF put the visitors ahead 11-6 and the Pirates were not able to recover. ECU drew within 19-18 late, but the Bulls netted six of the final eight points.
The Pirates put together another sizable lead in the fourth when back-to-back Tyson kills saw ECU in front 14-9. A 6-0 USF run erased the lead momentarily, but the Pirates rallied to take a 19-16 edge off of a bad set. With the score tied at 20 later, the Bulls scored three of the next four points to assume a two-point lead. ECU had set point at 24-23 after a bad USF set, but four of the final five points belonged to the Bulls who clinched the victory off of a Pirate attacking error.
ECU is back in action Friday, Oct. 26, at Tulane.