NORFOLK, Va. – Following a tough five-set loss to Notre Dame, East Carolina rallied to defeat Navy 3-1 to complete day one of the Quest for the Crown tournament at the ODU Volleyball Center.
Match One: Notre Dame 3, East Carolina 2 (23-25, 23-25, 25-18, 25-18, 15-8)
The Fighting Irish held the Pirates (3-5) to a sub .100 hitting percentage in the final three sets to rally from a 2-0 deficit for the victory.
Angeles Alderete exploded for a career-high 26 kills and hit .351 while adding 11 digs to complete her team-best fourth double-double of the campaign. Kellyn Trowse put together a 10-kill performance and committed just one attacking error to hit .409 for the match. She also recorded six digs and four blocks. Shaylynn Hall was a big presence at the net, racking up a contest-best eight blocks. Three Notre Dame players recorded double-digit kills, led by Avery Ross’ 14.
The Fighting Irish only got better offensively as the match went on, finishing with a .274 hitting percentage on the strength of 66 kills. Notre Dame also held the upper hand in assists (64-52), service aces (10-2) and digs (60-45). Both squads reached double figures in total blocks with ECU owning the advantage by a 13.0-11.0 margin.
After the Fighting Irish scored three of the first four points in the opening set, the Pirates used a nice service run from Kenzie Beckham to jump out to a 10-5 edge. East Carolina led by as much as 16-9, but Notre Dame put together a big rally that cut the Pirate lead to 22-20. With ECU later at set point, 24-20, the Fighting Irish scored three straight before Hall notched a kill to give the Pirates the frame.
East Carolina used a timeout midway through the second stanza trailing 16-14 after a bad set. However, the Pirates turned the tables and were the beneficiary of a Notre Dame attacking error that gave ECU a 19-18 lead. The teams fought to a deadlock at 23 before Alderete put forth the final word and notched consecutive kills to win the set and send the Pirates to the intermission up 2-0.
The Fighting Irish took the third and fourth sets by seven, forcing the deciding frame where they raced out to a 5-1 advantage. Notre Dame allowed East Carolina to draw within 12-8, but secured the final three points and the match.
Match Two: East Carolina 3, Navy 1 (25-23, 26-28, 25-20, 27-25)
The Pirates won three out of four close sets against the Midshipmen to record their first win of the weekend.
Alderete continued her strong play, putting down 18 kills while hitting .279 and collecting 10 digs for her second double-double of the day. Kenzie Beckham posted a team-best 14 digs to complement a personal-best six-block performance by Kianie Cummings. Jamie Llewellyn paced Navy with 15 kills and a .229 hitting percentage.
The Midshipmen notched more kills (59-47) in the match, but ECU ended up on the positive side in the service ace (10-2) and total blocks (11.0-9.0) columns.
East Carolina forced Navy into a quick timeout in the first set as Payton Evenstad opened the proceedings with a pair of aces. The frame turned into a sprint to the end, but another Evenstad ace gave the Pirates a late 20-18 advantage. With the stanza knotted at 22, Alderete recorded a kill to put ECU ahead for good as the Pirates won the opener by a pair.
The Pirates had a great chance to secure the second set, leading 22-19, but the Midshipmen fought off a couple of set points to escape with a 28-26 extra-point victory that tied the match.
East Carolina out-hit Navy by a .259 to .103 margin to win the third stanza by five. The fourth proved another sprint to the end.
The Midshipmen looked to be in good shape leading 18-13 following a kill by Jordyn Llewellyn, but the Pirates dug down and produced a 5-1 run to pull within 19-18 after a Cummings kill. This time, it was ECU’s turn to stave off elimination in the set. With the score tied at 24, Alderete sparked a match-ending 3-1 run with a kill to allow the Pirates to seal the match.
East Carolina closes out the Quest for the Crown tournament Saturday at 3 p.m. with a match against host Old Dominion. First serve is slated for 3 p.m. and the contest will stream live via ESPN+.