WILMINGTON, N.C. – East Carolina made quick work of Norfolk State Friday morning to kick off day two of the Hampton Inn and Suites Seahawk Invitational, recording a 3-0 (25-11, 25-15, 25-13) victory inside Trask Coliseum.
The Pirates (5-2) fired on all cylinders offensively, hitting .354, while holding the Spartans (0-3) to .045 efficiency to remain unbeaten in the all-time series (6-0). ECU dominated the stat sheet in every aspect, winning the battle in kills (37-24), service aces (10-2), digs (40-30) and total blocks (8.0-0.0). The 10 aces marked a Pirate season high.
Sophomore outside hitter Angeles Alderete posted a team-high seven kills and hit .278 to go along with nine digs and a solo block. Sophomore middle blocker Carlia Northcross, the reigning American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week, put up three blocks and hit .500 with five kills on 10 attempts and no errors. She entered the weekend ranked second in the league in hitting percentage and seventh in total blocks. Along the back row, Lara Uyar collected a match-high 13 digs as well as seven assists while turning in eight serve receptions with no errors.
A total of 16 East Carolina student-athletes entered the match of which 12 found the kill column. The setting duo of senior Julianna Askew and Payton Evenstad combined for 23 assists, eight digs, five kills, three aces and an .833 hitting percentage in running ECU’s 6-2 offense.
Set One: The Pirates were a tad slow out of the gate, trailing 8-5, but Askew – a Wilmington native – unleashed a huge service run that allowed East Carolina to score nine-straight points and seize full control of the proceedings. A kill by Alderete pushed the lead to 19-9, prompting a Spartan timeout, but ECU kept the pressure on and allowed Norfolk State just two points the rest of the way.
Set Two: East Carolina turned up the heat in the second stanza, racing out to a 10-5 advantage following a kill by freshman middle blocker Farah Farooq. Senior right side Francesca McBride put down a kill later in the set to make it 16-7 and the Pirates didn’t look back. It was academic from there as an Alderete terminated the frame and sent ECU to the intermission with a healthy 2-0 edge in the match.
Set Three: Closing in on the sweep, the Pirates blitzed Norfolk State to begin the stanza, building a 10-2 cushion when Alderete found the floor for a kill. Shonte Seale drew the Spartans within 15-9 with a kill of her own. However, freshman outside hitter Ellie Pate scored to cap a 5-3 ECU run that put the Purple and Gold at 20 points. A kill by freshman right side Aulie Huff sent East Carolina to match point with a 24-13 upper hand before a Seale attack error ended the match just one rally later.
Up Next: The Pirates continue play at the Seahawk Invitational Friday evening at 6 p.m. with a matchup against host UNCW.