GREENVILLE, N.C. – The championship match of the 2023 Pirate Invitational went the distance Saturday afternoon as Appalachian State rallied for a 3-2 (25-23, 18-25, 19-25, 27-25, 15-13) victory over East Carolina inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.

The Mountaineers (6-0) stayed unbeaten while the Pirates (4-2) played their first match of the early season that lasted longer than three sets.

East Carolina matched the school record for total blocks (19.0) while sophomore Carlia Northcross set the program record with a massive 13 (two solo and 11 assists). The Pirates out-hit the visitors .156 to .126 as the teams combined for 61 attacking errors. Appalachian State held a slight advantage in the digs column (85-83) and the squads finished even at six service aces apiece.

Sophomore outside hitter Angeles Alderete paced all players on the floor with 14 kills and added 21 digs to complete her first double-double of the campaign. Both ECU setters also produced double-doubles as junior Payton Evenstad chipped with 17 assists and 11 digs to go along with senior Julianna Askew’s 26 assists and 11 digs. Freshman middle blocker Farah Farooq enjoyed a solid outing, collecting 10 kills and hitting .833.

The Mountaineers looked to be in control late in the first set, leading 23-15, but defensive specialists Tia Shum and Lara Uyar kept the home side in it with a pair of strong serving runs that drew the Purple and Gold within one at 24-23. Maya Winterhoff recorded a kill on the final rally to help Appalachian State take an early match advantage.

East Carolina found its rhythm in the second and third stanzas, holding the Mountaineers under 20 points in each set to grab a 2-1 lead in the match, but App State broke a 21-21 deadlock late in the fourth to send things to the decider. The Mountaineers built a three-point advantage at 8-5 as the teams switched sides, but the Pirates dug deep and rattled off four straight points to establish a 9-8 edge. Appalachian State made it 14-11 with a LuLu Ambrose kill and, despite ECU drawing within one with consecutive scores, Ambrose finally ended things with a kill of the block.

Up Next: The Pirates are back in action Friday, Sept. 8, when they face off against Norfolk State (10 a.m.) and host UNCW (6 p.m.) at the Hampton Inn and Suites Seahawk Classic in Wilmington.

2023 Pirate Invitational All-Tournament Team
Malina Spencer (Bethune-Cookman)
Aley Clent (Campbell)
Angeles Alderete (East Carolina)
Carlia Northcross (East Carolina)

LuLu Ambrose (Appalachian State)
Maya Winterhoff (Appalachian State)
McCall Denny (Appalachian State)