TULSA, Okla. – East Carolina closed out its weekend of American Athletic Conference play with a tightly-contested four-set loss at Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane won the match by set scores of 25-19, 22-25, 27-25 and 25-21.
ECU (7-10, 3-5 AAC) put down a season-high 61 kills and hit .235, but Tulsa (10-7, 5-3 AAC) was more efficient – firing at a .284 clip on 61 kills while also holding the advantage in digs (81-71) and total blocks (9.0-7.0).
Bri Wood put together quite the effort, recording 17 kills and a career-high 26 digs. She enters next weekend needing just four digs to become the sixth player in program history to notch 1,000 kills and digs. Sydney Kleinman turned in her second 20-plus kill performance in as many contests, tallying a contest-best 22 while adding nine digs. Payton Evenstad fell just one dig short of completing her first career double-double, finishing the afternoon with 25 assists and nine digs.
Kayley Cassaday paced the home team with 21 kills while Marta Pecalli led five Golden Hurricane players in double-digit digs with 18.
Set One: Tulsa grabbed an early 8-5 advantage following an East Carolina ball-handling error, but the Pirates notched five of the next six points to propel in front by one. A Golden Hurricane attacking error afforded ECU an 13-11 edge, but Tulsa put together a 3-0 run to re-take the lead and would not trail again in the frame.
Set Two: The teams went point for point early one before a block by Griffin and Kruczko allowed the Pirates to establish an 8-5 cushion. Consecutive kills by Kleinman made it 14-9 later on the proceedings and East Carolina kept the home side at an arm’s length a while longer. With the score 20-15, the Golden Hurricane score three straight to pull within two, but the Pirates were able to see out the stanza as a kill by Wood sealed the three-point win.
Set Three: It was a tight battle for the first half of the third set, but ECU started to create some separation late. The Pirates edged in front 20-18 and 24-22. However, Tulsa had the answer and ended the frame on a 5-1 run to take the match lead.
Set Four: The Golden Hurricane put together an early run and enjoyed a three-point advantage looking to close out the match. A big kill by Wood off of a long rally energized the squad and gave East Carolina a 17-16 edge, but Tulsa proved too much in the end – winning the final stanza by four.
Up Next: East Carolina returns to Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum next weekend for American Athletic Conference matches against Tulane and Houston.