ECU women's volleyball blanks UConn to secure season sweep

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU) – The East Carolina volleyball team’s march to a 20-win season continued forward Friday night with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-23) American Athletic Conference victory over Connecticut before a lively crowd of 677 at Minges Coliseum.

The Pirates (17-8, 4-7 AAC) swept the Huskies (9-14, 3-8 AAC) for the second time this year and improved to 7-3 against Connecticut since joining the AAC. ECU also captured sole possession of third place in the league’s east division.

East Carolina was quite stout at the net, recording 11 total blocks in just three sets. The teams finished even with 38 kills apiece, but the Huskies committed 28 errors for a .077 hitting percentage. The Pirates misfired 15 times to end up at .187 efficiency. Connecticut held a slight edge in digs (64-59) while the squads combined for just five aces and nine missed serves.

Sophomore Natalie Tyson paced all players in the match with 12 kills and hit .294. Sydney Kleinman chipped in with 10 kills, six digs and two blocks. Defensively, redshirt sophomore Sydney Hall racked up eight total blocks (three solo) to go along with a 19-dig performance out of redshirt junior Brandee Markwith. Jasmine Davis topped UConn with 11 kills, 15 digs and a .240 attacking percentage.

With the score knotted at six in the opening set, a kill by junior Bri Wood sparked a 4-1 run that put ECU in front 10-7. The Huskies called for time in an attempt to quell the Pirate momentum, but a Kleinman ace later made the score 16-11 and forced the visitors to burn their final timeout. East Carolina kept Connecticut at an arm’s length the rest of the way, winning the frame by six.

The Huskies established some breathing room in the second stanza after a Davis kill saw Connecticut move ahead 11-8. The Pirates responded with a 3-0 run and the teams traded points all the way to a deadlock at 19. A big kill by Wood made it 20-19 in ECU’s favor before the Pirates scored five of the final six to win by four and take a two sets to none lead at the intermission.

East Carolina fell behind 5-1 in the third but put together a 6-2 run behind the serving of Markwith to even things at seven. A block propelled the Huskies ahead 15-12 later in the proceedings. However, consecutive errors by Caylee Parker once again tied the score at 18. A huge solo stuff by Hall and a kill by Kleinman sent Connecticut scrambling for both of its timeouts, leaving the Pirates with a 22-19 advantage. The Huskies drew within 23-22 and 24-23 before a solo block by senior Toya Osuegbu finished UConn for good.

ECU wraps up the weekend Sunday at Noon with an American Conference match against Temple. The Owls were swept at Cincinnati earlier Friday evening.