SMU volleyball tops ECU in four sets

ECU Pirates

(ECU Sports Information photo)

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DALLAS, Texas – East Carolina won the first set in its American Athletic Conference match against host SMU Sunday afternoon but could not finish the job as the Mustangs rallied for a 3-1 (20-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-20) victory inside Moody Coliseum. 

­SMU (12-10, 8-4) racked up 61 kills and hit .232 in the contest while ECU (8-13, 4-8) finished at .190 with 46 kills. The Mustangs also held the upper hand in digs (75-59) but the Pirates out-blocked the hosts 12-8. The teams finished even in aces at five apiece.  

Sydney Kleinman tallied a team-best 15 kills for East Carolina while Bri Wood added a double-double of 12 kills and 16 digs. Payton Evenstad also notched a double-double performance, collecting 18 assists and 14 digs. Hannah Jacobs led all players with 16 kills and Bria’ Merchant anchored the SMU back row to the tune of 23 digs.  

East Carolina came out on fire in the first set, hitting .387 with 13 kills. The Pirates scored the first five points of the contest and never trailed. With things knotted up at 19, a kill by Kleinman sparked a 5-0 run that put the frame away.  

The second and third stanzas saw the Mustangs build sizable early leads on the way to grabbing a two sets to none in the match.  

The fourth set was much tighter as the teams traded control back and forth. ECU was the first to 20 following a block by Natalie Tyson and Aaliyah Griffin, but the Pirates were unable to score any more points the rest of the way.  

Up Next: East Carolina returns home next weekend to face off against South Florida and UCF.  

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