TULSA, Okla. – East Carolina suffered its second five-set loss of the weekend at the hands of an American Athletic Conference West Division opponent Sunday as Tulsa erased a 2-1 deficit to record a 25-21, 27-29, 22-25, 25-20, 16-14 victory in the teams’ lone meeting of the season.
The Pirates (18-6, 9-4 AAC) have now lost consecutive matches for the first time this season but were able to maintain a 1.5-game lead in the East Division thanks to South Florida’s loss at UTSA. ECU also remained winless all-time against the Golden Hurricane (13-12, 6-7 AAC) in Tulsa, falling to 0-15 at the Reynolds Center.
East Carolina had little to no response for the Golden Hurricane’s Kayley Cassaday who exploded for 29 kills on an astounding 74 swings. She also racked up 11 digs while hitting .311. Angeles Alderete and Brittany Wood paced the Pirates with 13 kills apiece while Alderete notched 20 digs to complete the double-double. Lara Uyar collected a career-high 25 digs to go along with a double-double performance of 32 assists and 13 digs by Julianna Askew.
Tulsa ended up with the statistical advantage in most categories, including kills (75-64), digs (89-88) and hitting percentage (.224 to .218) but ECU did notch a season single match second-best 17.0 total blocks.
The Golden Hurricane used a 9-4 run in the opening set to break a 9-9 deadlock on the way to winning the frame by four. The second stanza went into extra points before a Tulsa attacking error and Wood kill secured the set for the Pirates and tied the match at the intermission.
East Carolina kept the momentum on its side in the third, pulling away thanks to a 6-2 run that pushed the Pirates in front 20-16. The Golden Hurricane fought off a few set points, but Alderete eventually ended things with a kill. ECU had its chances in the fourth and fifth frames but could not hold off Tulsa in the end as the Golden Hurricane won the fourth set by five and rallied from 10-7 down in the fifth to steal the win.
Up Next: East Carolina returns home Friday, Nov. 3, for an American Conference match against SMU. First serve inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum is set for 6 p.m.