ECU blanks App State to close Pirate Invitational

ECU Pirates

(ECU Sports Information photo)

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GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina won the battle at the net Saturday afternoon, finishing the Pirate Invitational with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-16) victory over Appalachian State inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.

ECU (4-5) out-blocked the Mountaineers 10.0 to 5.0 while also taking advantage of 27 ASU hitting errors. The Pirates finished at an even .200 offensively while the Mountaineers fired at an .067 clip. Appalachian State slightly out-dug East Carolina by a 44-40 margin.

Victoria Wilform and Mccall Denny led the Mountaineers with 13 and 12 kills in the losing effort. Conversely, senior outside hitter Natalie Tyson collected 10 kills and four digs to complement a double-double out of senior setter Janiece Jefferies who checked in with 28 assists and a team-high 13 digs. Freshman middle blocker Amelia Davis recorded a match-best six blocks.

Consecutive service errors gave each side a point at the outset of the contest. A service ace by freshman libero Tia Shum later made the score 8-4 in favor of the Purple and Gold, but App State came up with a block to eventually knot things at 12. On the very next rally, Wilform committed an attacking error, affording ECU a lead it would not relinquish. The Mountaineers almost erased a late 23-17 deficit with a 5-0 run, but Tyson restored order with a kill and a big solo block by Davis sealed the frame for the Pirates.

There was little to separate the teams for much of the early portion of the second set. However, with the score tied at 17, Appalachian State netted two straight to pull ahead. East Carolina dug down and used a kill by freshman right side Sophia Kruczko to spark a 7-0 run and reach match point with a 24-19 advantage. A couple of service errors were the last plays of the stanza as ECU won it by five to grab a two sets to none lead at the intermission.

A kill by Tyson put the Pirates ahead 8-6 early in the third and forced the Mountaineers to call for time. East Carolina continued to operate in the positive, building a 15-11 cushion at the media timeout. ECU’s upper hand swelled all the way to 21-13 after a kill by freshman Aaliyah Griffin, providing more than enough for the Pirates to cruise to the set and match victory.

Up Next: East Carolina opens American Athletic Conference play Sept. 24 at UCF.

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