RALEIGH, N.C. – A young and depleted East Carolina side dropped a three-set non-conference match to NC State Saturday afternoon at Reynolds Coliseum.
The Pirates, down all three of their regular setters, had freshman defensive specialist Anaiah Jones handle the duties, while freshman outside hitter Merritt Woodson and freshman libero Tia Shum also made their collegiate debuts.
Melissa Evans tallied 14 kills to lead the Wolfpack offensively, while Hannah Wander picked up a team-best 11 digs. Senior outside hitter Natalie Tyson and freshman middle blocker Amelia Davis collected three kills each with Shum finished the match with a squad-high eight digs.
NC State hit .245 with 44 kills on 98 attempts while holding ECU to a negative percentage (-.125). The Wolfpack also held an advantage in digs (40-26) as well as a slight edge from the service line (5-4). The teams combined for 11 total blocks as Davis tied for the match high with three of her own.
The young Pirates got off to a great start in set one, building a 15-12 advantage on the back of a pair of aces by Tyson and Woodson, but the home team put together a run late and ended up with the early match lead by a 25-18 margin.
NC State jumped out early in the second frame, establishing a 9-4 lead. ECU made a little bit of a run in the middle portion of the stanza after a Jones ace made the score 13-8. However, the Wolfpack scored seven of the next eight points to pull away.
East Carolina was unable to find its footing in the third set, falling behind 9-3. The Pirates cut their deficit to single digits later in the proceedings before Jada Allen ended the match with a kill.
Up Next: East Carolina closes out the weekend later Saturday night at 7 p.m. with a match at North Carolina.
ECU drops weekend finale at North Carolina
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – East Carolina closed out its first weekend of competition Saturday night with a 3-0 loss to North Carolina inside Carmichael Arena.
The Pirates fall to 0-3 overall while the Tar Heels improve to 6-0. East Carolina once again played with only eight available members of the roster, missing all three of its regular setters as well as top returning hitters Bri Wood and Sydney Kleinman.
Senior outside hitter Natalie Tyson led the way offensively for ECU, putting down eight kills, while freshman middle blocker Amelia Davis recorded six kills and hit a sparkling .444 with four blocks (two solo). Nia Robinson paced North Carolina with nine kills to complement a 16-dig performance out of Karenna Wurl. Freshman libero Tia Shum turned in the best effort of her very young career, collecting 13 digs.
The Tar Heels held a slight advantage in hitting percentage (.128 to.126) as well as digs (54-40) and aces (9-0). North Carolina also out-blocked the Pirates 10.0 to 6.0.
As the match commenced, the Tar Heels sprinted out to an 11-3 lead before growing it to 18-7. ECU put together a run later in the set, pulling within six at 21-15 following a kill by sophomore outside hitter Priscilla Jones, but North Carolina did enough to hold off the Pirates on the way to a 25-19 margin of victory.
East Carolina turned the tables in the second, establishing a 7-3 edge and forcing a quick Tar Heel timeout. A big stuff block by Davis and Tyson kept the Pirates ahead 12-9 before North Carolina rallied for a 17-15 advantage. ECU used a quick 4-0 run to creep ahead 21-20. However, the Tar Heels scored the final five points of the frame.
The Pirates fell behind 11-4 in the third set and were ultimately unable to recover. An attacking error gave North Carolina the set by 10 and the sweep.
Up Next: East Carolina returns to action Sept. 9 when it takes on Coastal Carolina in the first match of the Chanticleer Classic in Conway, S.C.