Short-handed Pirates drop volleyball season opener

ECU Pirates

Natalie Tyson (ECU Sports Information photo)

RALEIGH, N.C. – Missing a sizable portion of its roster, including three starters, East Carolina came out on the short end of a 3-0 decision in its season opener against Wofford inside NC State’s Reynolds Coliseum.

The Pirates played without the services of All-American Athletic Conference Preseason Team selection and right side Bri Wood, outside hitter Sydney Kleinman and setter Janiece Jefferies while six freshmen made their collegiate debuts.

The Terriers hit .367 on the strength of a 42-kill output while limiting ECU to .107 efficiency Wofford also held statistical advantages in assists (37-21), aces (4-3), digs (32-18) and total blocks (7.0-6.0).

Freshman right side Sophia Kruczko enjoyed a standout performance in her first collegiate match, notching seven kills on 13 attempts with no errors for a .538 hitting percentage. Additionally, freshman libero Alex Singleton collected a team-best six digs while freshman middle blocker Amelia Davis recorded a squad-high four blocks. Freshman setter Payton Evenstad also finished with 21 assists, three digs and three blocks.

Terrier sophomore outside hitter Addison Foote tallied a match-high 13 kills and a .500 hitting percentage to complement a 30-assist, five-dig performance by reigning Southern Conference Setter of the Week Emily Hodsdon.

Wofford scored the first five points of the opening set and did not look back on the way to an early match lead. In the second frame, an ace allowed the Terriers to pull out in front by an 11-6 margin. ECU fought back late in the set, pulling within 19-16 following a Kruczko kill, but Wofford ended the stanza on a 6-1 run.

Out of the five-minute intermission, the Pirates established a 7-5 advantage after an Evenstad ace. However, the Terriers put together an 8-2 run to seize control. East Carolina could come no closer than three the rest of the way as Foote ended the match with a kill.

Up Next: The Pirates close out their first weekend of competition Saturday with matches at NC State (Noon) and North Carolina (7 p.m.).

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