WILMINGTON, N.C. – East Carolina recorded its fifth sweep of the young season Friday night, knocking off host UNCW 3-0 (26-24, 25-19, 25-18) to move to 2-0 at the Hampton Inn and Suites Seahawk Classic.
The Pirates (6-2) won their 16th straight in the series with the Seahawks (3-5), pulling away after a close first set. ECU outhit UNCW .299 to .194 while also notching more kills (39-37), service aces (5-1) and total blocks (6.0 to 5.0). The Seahawks finished with a slight edge in the dig column (43-41).
Sophomore outside hitter Angeles Alderete enjoyed another fine effort, matching her season high of 14 kills and adding eight digs as well as hitting .290 on 31 attempts. Freshman middle blocker Farah Farooq continued the strong start to her collegiate career, firing at a .778 clip with seven kills on nine swings with no errors. Junior setter/defensive specialist Kenzie Beckham paced all players in the match with 11 digs while Wilmington native Julianna Askew chipped in with 19 assists and six digs.
Set One: East Carolina utilized an early timeout when an Alexa Brezeault kill put UNCW ahead 11-7. The Pirates would fight all the way back to deadlock the score at 19 following a Katie Lanz attacking error, but the Seahawks netted the next two points off a Lanz kill and a tandem block by Caitlyn Callahan and Hannah Forbes. UNCW looked to be in complete control leading 24-22 and owning a pair of set points, but ECU refused to fold and tied things up at 24 via consecutive kills by Farooq and Alderete. East Carolina completed the comeback with an Izzy Marinelli kill and Seahawk attacking miscue to win the stanza in extra points and collect an early advantage in the match.
Set Two: The second frame proved a much easier task for the Pirates as they rung up a 10-6 edge after a Marinelli kill. East Carolina did not let up, extending the upper hand to 15-8 with a kill by Farooq and prompting a UNCW timeout. The Seahawks never really threatened from there as Farooq later scored to terminate the set and send the Purple and Gold to the intermission with a 2-0 lead in the contest.
Set Three: An Alderete ace saw ECU propel ahead 9-3 in the finale frame and the Pirates kept the home side at an arm’s length the rest of the way. UNCW drew within 19-16 following an East Carolina attacking error, but ECU scored six of the final eight points to secure the sweep.
Up Next: The Pirates face off with Alabama State Saturday at 2 p.m. looking to clinch the Seahawk Classic title.