GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina began its 2022 season Friday with a 3-1 victory over Furman and a three-set loss at the hands of Towson inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on day one of the Pirate Invitational.

ECU faces off with Norfolk State Saturday at 4 p.m. to close tournament play. The Spartans fell to both the Tigers and Paladins earlier Friday.

The Pirates featured an entirely new starting lineup that included three transfers and a trio of freshmen. Rookie outside hitter Angeles Alderete certainly announced her presence with authority, garnering a team-best 27 kills and a .344 hitting percentage over the seven sets. Sophomore returner Kenzie Beckham, who played as a setter last season, donned the libero jersey for the first time and collected 28 digs (4.00 per set) in the two contests.

Match One: East Carolina 3, Furman 1

The Pirates brushed aside a first-set loss to handle Furman 24-26, 25-16, 25-16, 25-23.

Alderete placed all scorers with 16 kills, three aces and a .300 hitting percentage while also picking up 12 digs to post her first collegiate double-double. Redshirt freshman outside Izzy Marinelli also produced a nice first collegiate match to the tune of 13 kills and a .379 hitting percentage. Junior setter Julianna Askew snagged her first double-double in the Purple and Gold, tallying a match-high 23 assists and 10 digs. Beckham smashed her career-best dig total, recording 22 in the victory. Lauren Haynes paced the Paladins with 11 kills and 13 digs.

ECU fired at a .193 clip overall, notching 52 kills on 145 attempts with 24 errors, while limiting Furman to .088 efficiency on 36 kills. The Pirates also held the upper hand in total digs (70-57) and total blocks (9.0-6.0) as well as service aces (12-6).

East Carolina jumped out to a 9-6 advantage in the opening frame thanks to a kill by senior middle blocker Shaylynn Hall, but the Paladins kept it close, eventually knotting the score at 16. The Pirates would rally to grab a 22-21 edge late in the set, but Furman scored five of the last seven points to sneak away with the win.

After ECU dominated the middle two stanzas, it got off to a great start in the fourth as a tandem block by Marinelli and freshman middle blocker Alyssa Finister left the Pirates in front by a 16-11 margin. Leading 20-14 following a kill by junior outside hitter Brittany Wood, East Carolina allowed the Paladins to draw within 24-23 before a Furman attacking error finally ended things.

Match Two: Towson 3, East Carolina 0

The Tigers broke open three close sets in the latter half each time to grab the sweep in the nightcap.

Towson’s offensive prowess proved the difference as the visitors fired at a .329 clip on the back of 43 kills in 85 swings while the Pirates were only able to manage a .145 showing. The squads ended up virtually even in total digs and service aces as the Tigers collected 23 digs to ECU’s 22 and the teams both finished with five aces.

Victoria Barrett and Fay Bakodimou led Towson with 10 kills apiece. Sarah Jordan added a contest-best nine digs to go along with 20 assists.

Alderete put together another fine effort in the setback, earning match-high honors with 11 kills and a .429 hitting percentage.

The Tigers were able to win the first two sets in semi-comfortable fashion, but the third frame was an all-out battle. With renewed energy out of the intermission, East Carolina raced out to a 7-3 lead. However, Towson rallied to tie things at 12 when Askew was called for a ball-handling error. The Pirates enjoyed their final advantage of the evening at 21-20 when senior outside hitter Kellyn Trowse mustered a kill, but the Tigers had the final word and netted five of the final seven points.

Day One Pirate Invitational Scores

Towson 3, Norfolk State 0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-13)

East Carolina 3, Furman 1 (24-26, 25-16, 25-16, 25-23)

Furman 3, Norfolk State 1 (25-23, 25-16, 14-25, 25-16)

Towson 3, East Carolina 0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-23)