GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – East Carolina kept its impressive winning streak intact Wednesday night, rolling past Campbell in three sets (25-23, 25-18, 25-21) inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
The Pirates’ eighth-straight victory also extends the best start in program history as ECU improved to 12-1 overall. The Camels dropped to 6-7 after their third consecutive setback.
“I like when things we work on in practice carry over into matches,” head coach Julie Torbett said. “If you have a great game plan, but don’t execute it, it’s meaningless.”
Junior outside hitter Sydney Kleinman was nearly unstoppable, exploding for 17 kills with only two errors for a .652 hitting percentage while adding three service aces. Sophomore outside hitter Natalie Tyson put forth a solid effort as well, notching nine kills on 18 swings with just one error for a .444 attacking mark. Reaching double figures in both assists and digs, junior setter Shelby Martin completed her sixth double-double of the campaign to the tune of 20 assists and 11 digs. Redshirt junior libero Brandee Markwith turned in a match-high 16 digs and tallied a service ace.
Campbell’s top performer Sarah Colla put down 13 kills and hit .333 while Emily Mitter contributed a team-best 10 digs.
The Pirate offense sizzled in the contest, piling up 49 kills on 99 attempts with 10 errors for a season-high .394 hitting percentage. East Carolina also finished with the upper hand in digs (45-36) and total blocks (3.0-2.0). The Camels fired at a .204 clip offensively with 34 kills and 14 attacking errors.
A service ace by freshman Chloe Wilmoth put the Pirates in front 6-3 early in the opener, but Campbell fought back and knotted the score at seven with a kill. East Carolina began to pull away in the middle portion of the stanza, breaking an 11-11 deadlock with a 3-0 run that forced the visitors to call for time. With the frame later tied at 18, consecutive kills by Kleinman and junior setter Marissa Harmon afforded the Pirates a two-point edge. The Camels would forge another stalemate at 20, then rallied from a 23-20 deficit to pull even again. A kill by Tyson and a Colla attacking error gave ECU the last word as the Pirates captured the set by two.
With the second stanza tied at eight in the beginning stages, a block by senior Toya Oseugbu and Kleinman sparked a 4-0 run that prompted a Campbell timeout. The Camels were able to scrape back and knot the score at 17 later in the frame, but an East Carolina timeout refocused the home team and the Pirates ripped off a set-ending 8-1 run to enter intermission with a 2-0 match lead.
Looking to close things out, ECU built an 11-4 cushion in the third. Campbell rallied to within 12-11 though and forced the Pirates to call a timeout. Kleinman restored order out of the break with a kill, sparking East Carolina to an 18-14 lead. The Camels cut their deficit to 21-19 in a last-ditch effort to stay in the contest, however, the Pirates snagged four of the final six points to seal the sweep.
ECU opens American Athletic Conference play Friday night at Cincinnati. First serve inside Fifth-Third Arena is set for 7 p.m.
We have been through about every situation in nonconference play, whether it be up two sets, down two sets or tied,” Torbett stated. Now, if we go play a team that’s considered better than us in our conference, we can compete with confidence and have that upset mentality.”