ECU volleyball team beats Radford, UNCW for first wins of season

ECU Pirates

Sydney Kleinman (ECU Sports Information photo)

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CONWAY, S.C. – Sydney Kleinman recorded a career-high 24 kills Friday morning as East Carolina secured its first win of the season by sweeping Radford inside the HTC Center on the campus of Coastal Carolina University. The Pirates won each frame by respective 25-18, 33-31 and 25-17 scores.  

Team Records: East Carolina (1-4) | Radford (1-5) 

Kleinman added 12 digs to her match total, notching her 15th career double-double while hitting .373 in the process. Natalie Tyson also produced a double-double, finishing the contest with 10 kills and 10 digs. Defensively, Tia Shum tallied a match-high 20 digs while Sariah Schulteis tied her personal best with nine of her own. Freshman setter Kenzie Beckham ran the offense to the tune of 37 assists and added eight digs. Taylor O’Neal paced Radford with a double-double of 10 kills and 11 digs.  

ECU fired on all cylinders in the first and third sets with respective .414 and .367 hitting percentages to finish the match firing at a .206 clip. The Pirates limited the Highlanders to .098 efficiency while also holding the upper hand in kills (46-35), assists (45-33), aces (5-2) and digs (60-53). East Carolina did a nice job of siding out the whole way, not dipping below 68 percent in any of the stanzas.  

The teams battled to a tie at seven in the first set and stayed close together all the way to a deadlock at 14 points apiece. A Radford service error allowed ECU to go on a bit of a run as an attacking error put the Pirates in front by a 19-15 margin. Following a Highlander timeout, consecutive errors eventually gave East Carolina a 22-17 advantage. ECU would score three of the final four points to claim the opener.  

The Pirates utilized a quick timeout trailing 6-3 in the second frame and it proved beneficial as a 6-2 run propelled the Purple and Gold to a one-point edge. ECU led by as much as 14-10, but Radford rallied all the way back to tie the score at 18. An attacking error put the Highlanders at set point, 24-22. However, a service error and Kleinman ace sent the stanza to extra points. An all-out battle ensued from there as neither team could put the other away. Finally, with things knotted at 31, Kleinman and Tyson found the floor to win the set for the Pirates.  

Radford got off to a quick start in the third, leading 7-4 following an ace. East Carolina responded by scoring five of the next six points to seize back control. After a Highlander timeout, the Pirates raced further ahead – establishing some breathing room at 14-11 thanks to another Kleinman kill. ECU kept Radford at an arm’s length the rest of the way and Kleinman’s 24th kill of the match sealed the sweep.  

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East Carolina Dismisses UNCW In Three 

ECU recorded its second sweep of the day and season Friday afternoon, taking care of regional rival UNCW 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-15) in the Pirates’ final match of the Chanticleer Classic inside the HTC Center.  

East Carolina improved its hitting percentage in each set, producing a sizzling .423 mark in the final frame to end up at .232 for the match. The Pirates held the Seahawks to .149, exiting the match with a 35-34 edge in kills. ECU also recorded a season-high 10 aces, including a career-high six by Sydney Kleinman.  

Speaking of the super senior, Kleinman notched 12 kills and a .226 hitting percentage to go along with her prowess at the service line. Freshman Amelia Davis was solid at the net, putting down six kills on eight attempts with no errors for a .750 hitting percentage. Brianna Haggerty and Katie Lanz managed eight kills apiece to lead UNCW in the setback.  

Notably, All-American Athletic Conference Preseason Team selection Bri Wood made her season debut – playing three rotations across the front. She picked up right where she left off in the spring, collecting six kills on nine attempts with a lone error to hit a stout .556.   

The sides traded runs to begin the match, but East Carolina started to pull ahead midway through the opening stanza. A big kill by Davis in the middle made it 16-10 in favor of the Purple and Gold before UNCW responded. The Seahawks were able to knot the score at 20 later in the proceedings. However, kills by Kleinman and NatalieTyson pushed the Pirates in front, 22-20. With things tied at 23, a Seahawk service error and Kleinman kill gave East Carolina the opening-set victory. 

A nice serving run by Tyson saw East Carolina grab a quick 4-0 advantage in the second. UNCW knotted the score at seven following a kill by Claire Sawyer, but the Pirates kept steady and stayed in the fight. A solo block by Kleinman afforded ECU a 16-13 cushion – a lead East Carolina would not relinquish. The Pirates’ upper hand ballooned to as much as 22-16 before Kleinman terminated the frame with a kill.  

Another fast start benefitted ECU as the Pirates seized a quick 4-0 lead. The Seahawks answered and tied the score at eight, but it was all East Carolina from that point. A kill by Wood put the Pirates ahead by six at 16-10 before ECU shut it down by claiming nine of the final 14 rallies.

Up Next: East Carolina hosts Gardner-Webb, UTRGV and Appalachian State next weekend for the Pirate Invitational. The tournament constitutes ECU’s first home matches of the campaign.      

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