GREENVILLE, N.C. – After rallying late to win the first set, East Carolina found its rhythm and was never threatened on the way to knocking off Campbell 3-0 (26-24, 25-14, 25-19) in the opening match of the 2023 Pirate Invitational Thursday night inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
The Pirates (3-1) stifled the Camel (0-4) attack, forcing 19 errors and limiting the visitors to a .124 hitting percentage. ECU racked up 42 kills and hit .264 while also holding advantages in total digs (55-46) and service aces (6-2). East Carolina really flipped the switch in the second frame, committing just one error on 28 attempts with 15 kills to fire at a .500 clip, while siding out at 78 percent.
Freshman outside hitter Ellie Pate earned her first collegiate start and delivered with a 10-kill performance. Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Izzy Marinelli, who entered the contest ranked among the top 10 in the American Athletic Conference in hitting percentage, enjoyed another fine effort to the tune of nine kills and a .273 offensive mark. Junior Lara Uyar donned the libero jersey for the final two stanzas and collected 11 digs to pace the back row while junior setter Payton Evenstad finished with 19 assists and eight digs.
Abbie Tuyo led Campbell with 10 kills while Claranne Fletcher picked up a match-high 14 digs.
Neither side could create much separation in the opening set as the Pirates quickly erased an early 8-5 deficit with four straight points to propel themselves ahead by one. With the score knotted at 21 later in the proceedings, a Camel attacking error and Angeles Alderete kill pushed ECU in front 21-19. Campbell would rattle off a 5-1 run to reach set point, but the Pirates answered with four consecutive scores to reach the finish line and seize early control of the match. Alderete came up big in those final rallies, notching a block assist and a kill.
East Carolina forced the Camels into an early timeout in the second frame by scoring seven of the first 10 points. The visitors drew within 13-9 following an Aley Clent kill, but the Pirates started to assert themselves and put together a 5-2 run to establish an 18-11 advantage. The lead grew to 10 at 23-13 via a Kenzie Beckham ace and it was elementary from there as ECU entered the intermission up two sets to none.
The Pirates carried the momentum into the third stanza, ringing up an 11-5 lead and forcing a Camel timeout. East Carolina kept Campbell at arm’s length the rest of the way and finally sealed the sweep when a Camel service error ended the evening.
Up Next: The Pirates return to action Friday night, hosting Bethune-Cookman at 7 p.m.
2023 Pirate Invitational Day Two Schedule (Sept. 1)
11:00 a.m. – Appalachian State vs. Bethune-Cookman
4:00 p.m. – Campbell vs. Appalachian State
7:00 p.m. – Bethune-Cookman at East Carolina