ORLANDO, Fla. – East Carolina began American Athletic Conference play Friday night with a 3-0 (11-25, 17-25, 19-25) setback to defending league champion UCF at The Venue.
The Knights (8-5, 1-0 AAC) hit .253 while limiting the Pirates (4-6, 0-1 AAC) to .094 efficiency. UCF finished the match with the upper hand in kills (39-24), service aces (9-1), digs (46-39) and total blocks (8.0-3.0).
McKenna Melville, the AAC Preseason Player of the Year, collected a match-high 11 kills while Claudia Dillon added 10. Chloe Scheer also recorded a contest-high 16 digs. Bri Wood and Natalie Tyson tallied six kills each for ECU. Defensively, Tia Shum notched a team-best 11 digs.
The Pirates scored the first two points of the match, but the Knights responded with an 11-2 run to seize early control. UCF would build its advantage to 19-10 before putting the set away by scoring six of the final seven.
A kill by Wood saw East Carolina hold an 8-6 edge in the second frame. However, the Knights used a kill by Tali Marmen to spark a 4-0 run that forced a Pirate timeout. ECU kept close in the middle stages of the set, drawing within 16-13 following a UCF attacking error. The Knights were able to pull away late, eventually winning the stanza by eight to lead 2-0 at the intermission.
UCF rung up a 7-2 lead in the third and would extend its advantage all the way to 17-6 after a block. The Pirates sliced into their deficit a bit as the set wore on, but the Knights would win the final frame by six to seal the sweep.
Up Next: East Carolina closes out its first weekend of American Conference action with a Sunday match at South Florida. First serve inside The Corral is set for 1 p.m.