GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina let sizable leads slip away in the first two sets Saturday afternoon, allowing Temple to salvage a split of the teams’ American Athletic Conference series with a 3-1 (25-23, 27-25, 16-25, 25-17) victory inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
The Pirates (3-7) finish league play with a 1-7 record while the Owls improve to 8-5 and 2-4 in advance of next weekend’s AAC set at Cincinnati.
Both sides hit above .200 with Temple firing at .235 efficiency as compared to the Pirates’ .230 mark. The Owls ended up with the advantage in kills (63-56) and digs (77-74) while ECU racked up 10 total blocks.
Senior right side Bri Wood paced East Carolina with 17 kills and was one of three Pirates in double figures. Junior outside hitter Natalie Tyson and senior outside hitter Sydney Kleinman chipped in with 13 and 11 apiece. Wood completed her eighth double-double of the season by adding 10 digs while Tyson collected 17 digs of her own to notch her second double-double of the weekend. Senior setter Alisi Motu’apuaka finished with an additional double-double of 25 assists and 12 digs. Defensively, senior libero Camryn Allen tallied 18 digs while middle blockers Sydney Hall and S’mara Riley piled up four blocks apiece.
Miray Bolukbasi led all players with 19 kills and was complemented by 17 and 15-kill efforts out of Katerina Papazoglou and Gem Grimshaw. A total of five Owls were in double figures in the dig department as Falanika Danielson notched a match-high 19.
A tight battle in the opening set began to turn ECU’s way as Hall capped a 9-4 Pirate run with a kill to send Temple scrambling for a timeout. East Carolina later led 20-14 before the Owls scored five straight to pull within one. Tyson afforded the Pirates a 23-22 advantage with a kill a few rallies later, but Temple notched three consecutive points to win the stanza by a pair.
The teams tussled to another 9-9 deadlock in the second set and ECU turned on the jets from there, using a strong serving run by Wood to score 10 of the next 12 points and seize control. Like the first frame, the Owls had an answer. Temple was able to slice its deficit to 23-19 before scoring four straight to forge a tie. Wood put the Pirates at set point with a kill before the visitors ended the set on a 4-1 run to enter the intermission up two sets to none.
A comeback was not in the cards for the Owls in the third set as East Carolina built leads of 15-6 and 20-10 on the way to a nine-point victory that extended the match.
Temple turned the tables in the fourth, racing out to an 8-3 edge. The Pirates later drew within 16-10 but didn’t threaten down the stretch.
Up Next: East Carolina heads across the state March 21 for a non-conference match against Davidson at Belk Arena.