Sophomore setter Shelby Martin fell one kill shy of the first recorded triple-double in program history Tuesday in ECU’s 3-1 (25-18, 25-27, 25-16, 25-21) non-conference victory over N.C. Central inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
In a chance to work in a majority of the roster before American Athletic Conference play resumes Friday, the Pirates used 12 players in the match.
“This was our first four-set match of the season, so I’m proud of our young team for bouncing back from set two and taking care of business,” head coach Julie Torbett said. “We will continue working to gel our lineup as we move into the bulk of our league schedule.”
Martin set a career high of 14 digs while adding 40 assists, nine kills and four aces. She made just one error in 13 attempts for a .615 hitting percentage. Junior middle blocker Toya Osuegbu exploded for a career-best 17 kills to go along with three blocks and a .387 hitting percentage. Joining Osuegbu in double figures offensively was sophomore right side Bri Wood who collected 12 kills and 12 digs for her second double-double of the season. Junior libero Maggie Hallow led all players in the match with 18 digs. As for the visitors, Arlanda Faulkner tallied 12 kills and nine digs while Erika Ianovale notched 16 digs.
ECU (8-4) dominated the stat sheet in most aspects, out-pacing NCCU (2-9) in kills (56-38), hitting percentage (.217 to .104) and digs (66-63). Both teams ended with four total blocks.
A kill by Martin gave the Pirates an 8-7 lead in the opening stanza before ECU pulled ahead 17-13 on a kill by Wood. After an Eagle timeout, the Pirates scored three straight to extend the advantage to seven. A service ace allowed N.C. Central to rally within 21-17, but ECU netted four of the final five points to grab an early upper hand in the contest.
The Eagles used a quick timeout in the second frame when a kill by Osuegbu put the Pirates in front 13-10. NCCU would rally from there, tying the score at 16 with an ace. ECU established a slim 19-17 lead thanks to a block by sophomore outside hitter Sydney Kleinman and freshman middle blocker S’mara Riley but the visitors used a 3-0 run to claim a one-point edge. The teams battled to ties at 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 before a kill and an attacking error allowed the Eagles to win the set and tie the match at intermission.
The Pirates responded with authority in the third stanza, rolling to a 7-2 lead after an ace by junior defensive specialist Brianna Hudson. ECU let NCCU back into things with a 12-8 run but, with the score at 15-14, the Pirates rattled off nine straight to reach set point. Freshman outside hitter Natalie Tyson finished it off with a kill to put ECU up two sets to one.
The Eagles led the fourth frame by as a much as 15-12 before a 3-0 Pirate run knotted the score at 15. Attacking errors proved to be the demise of NCCU in the end and ECU claimed the match with four-point victory.