CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Angeles Alderete recorded a match-high 16 kills to lead East Carolina past Mercer 3-1 (25-19, 18-25, 25-18, 25-18) Saturday afternoon in both teams’ last contest of the Virginia Tournament inside Memorial Gymnasium.
The Pirates improve to 5-7 entering American Athletic Conference play while the Bears drop to 4-8.
Alderete committed just one attacking error to finish with a stout .484 hitting percentage while fellow rookie Carlia Northcross tallied a career-best four kills as well as five blocks. Kenzie Beckham paced the back row efforts with a contest-best 18 digs. Annie Karle and Paige Wagers registered 14 kills apiece to lead Mercer’s offense.
The Bears notched one more kill (45-44) than the Pirates, but ECU limited Mercer to a .150 hitting percentage while turning in .279 efficiency itself. The Pirates also out-blocked the Bears 8.0 to 4.0.
Payton Evenstad got East Carolina off on the right foot with an ace on the first rally of the match and the Pirates soared to a 10-4 advantage from there. ECU kept the pressure on, eventually forcing another Mercer timeout after a kill by Sophia Kruczko made the score 19-12. The Bears got no closer than five the rest of the way.
Mercer flipped the script in the second set, racing out to a 6-1 advantage. The Bears were able to keep the Pirates at an arm’s length for the remainder of the frame and tie the match at the intermission.
East Carolina asserted the upper hand in the final two sets, hitting .471 and .333 in the third and fourth to seal the victory.
Up Next: The Pirates open up AAC play next weekend with a pair of road matches at Tulsa (Sept. 23) and Wichita State (Sept. 25).