East Carolina drops its fifth-straight match in sweep
HOUSTON, TX September 29, 2013 –Nicole Willis led the Pirates in kills for the 17th straight match this season and Whitney Campbell recorded a team-best 13 digs in East Carolina’s 3-0 [15-25, 12-25, 21-25] loss to Rice on Sunday afternoon. The setback -marks the Pirates’ fifth consecutive loss as ECU falls to 7-10 overall and 0-2 in Conference USA action. Rice improves to 4-12 on the year and 1-1 in C-USA.
Willis finished the match as the only Pirate to record double-figure kills with 10, while adding nine digs, two blocks and one assist. Campbell led the defensive effort with 13 digs to go along with seven kills, while Erika Figueroa recorded 10 digs and Shelby Beasley added nine in the match. Zarah Cecich recorded a team-best 16 assists and also posted five digs in the setback.
The Pirates struggled early on in the contest as Rice led throughout the first set after breaking a 1-1 tie. The Owls hit .256 in the game and held ECU to a -.022 attack percentage. Despite the Pirates’ efforts, Rice used a balance offensive attack to win the first set, 25-15.
East Carolina scored first in the second set on a kill from Kierra Lee-Dunson, but the Pirates’ lead was short-lived. Rice went on a 6-0 run to take a 6-1 advantage and the Owls never looked back. From that point on, the hosts held the edge on ECU as the Owls hit .282 in the frame while East Carolina tallied a .029 hitting percentage. Rice went on to claim the second set, 25-12.
The Pirates battled in the third set as they hit .186 and recorded 14 kills in the frame. Rice, however, notched 18 kills while hitting .298 en route to five tie scores. The fifth and final tie came after ECU went on a 3-0 run and knotted the score at 18-all forcing Rice to call a timeout. Following the break in action, the Owls took a 19-18 advantage and held the lead for the remainder of the game as they defeated ECU, 25-21.
Rice was led by Jillian Humphrey’s 15 kills, four digs, three blocks and match-best .500 hitting percentage Defensively, Rice had four players record double-figure digs in Kimberly Vaio (14), Mariah Riddlesprigger (13), Megan Murphy (12), and Danielle Arenas (11). Murphy also led the Owls with 37 assists.
ECU will return home to Minges Coliseum on Friday, October 4, when the Pirates host UAB at 7 p.m. East Carolina is looking to snap its five-match losing streak in its first contest in Greenville in almost one month. Live stats and video will be available on ECUPirates.com.