Wichita State outlasts ECU in five sets

ECU Pirates

(ECU Sports Information photo)

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WICHITA, Kan. – East Carolina nearly pulled off its first-ever victory over Wichita State Friday night in hostile territory, but the Shockers rallied from a two sets to one deficit to record a 3-2 (25-12, 16-25, 20-25, 25-21, 15-10) American Athletic Conference win inside Koch Arena.

Wichita State (10-6, 4-3 AAC) hit .400 in the deciding frame while ECU (7-9, 3-4 AAC) fired at a .000 clip. The Shockers tallied 65 kills to the Pirates’ 47 while also enjoying the statistical upper hand in hitting percentage (.242-.175), assists (63-44) and digs (76-58). East Carolina out-blocked Wichita 7.0 to 1.0 and finished with a 6-3 advantage in aces.

Sydney Kleinman notched 21 kills and hit .263 in the setback while senior Bri Wood led three Pirates in double figures defensively with 16 digs. Kleinman added 10 digs of her own to compete the double-double. Brylee Kelly matched Kleinman with 21 kills for the homestanding Shockers and Natalie Foster added 13.

Set One: A 7-0 run midway through the opening frame allowed Wichita State to grab the early match lead. The Shockers hit a stout .708 on the strength of 18 kills while limiting East Carolina to -.080 efficiency.

Set Two: The Pirates got off to a much better start in the second stanza, taking a 10-6 lead off a nice kill by Kleinman. Like Wichita State, ECU began to push in front in the middle portion of the proceedings and built as much an eight-point advantage late before a Shocker attacking error ended the set.

Set Three: A quick start to the third frame saw East Carolina race out to a 12-4 edge following a Wichita State attacking error. The home side rallied a bit as the set wore on, cutting the Pirates lead to 23-18. However, another offensive miscue by the Shockers clinched the stanza for ECU.

Set Four: A block by Griffin and Davis put the Pirates up 11-7 as they looked to close out the match. However, Wichita State dug down and put together a 10-5 run to edge in front by one. East Carolina drew as close as two at 23-21, but the Shockers netted the final two points to extend the contest.

Set Five: Wichita State scored the first three points of the decider, but the Pirates sliced the deficit to 4-3 following a Shocker service error. ECU fought tooth and nail the rest of the way, closing to within 9-8, but Wichita secured six of the final eight points to complete the comeback.

Up Next: East Carolina closes the weekend Sunday at Tulsa. First serve is set for 2 p.m. inside the Reynolds Center.

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