Sept. 19, 2008
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Marshall University's Elizabeth Herman (Dunwoody, Ga.) registered a match-high 17 kills, but East Carolina was able to hold on for a thrilling 3-1 (28-26, 15-25, 23-25, 23-25) victory in Friday night's Conference USA volleyball contest at Minges Coliseum.
With the loss, Marshall falls to 5-4 overall, 0-1 C-USA, while East Carolina improves to 10-4 overall, 1-0 C-USA.
Assistant coach Patrick Nicholas filled in for head coach Mitch Jacobs who didn't coach because of a family situation. It was the first time in 16 years of coaching that Jacobs missed a match.
"I hate that we didn't pull through with a victory last night, but sometimes there's things in life that overshadow sport," Jacobs said. "I'm just very grateful that I work for an administration that truly understands the importance of family."
Leading 2-1 in the match, East Carolina made an early 5-0 run to post a 12-7 lead on the Herd. A kill and a solo block by Ross cut the Pirates' lead to 12-9. Marshall pulled to within one at 17-16 on the strength of an assisted block by Emily Sullivan (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Ross, and an East Carolina attacking error. After the teams tied the frame at 20-20, Marshall rattled off three consecutive points to take a 23-20 lead before East Carolina responded with three straight points of its own to even the set at 23-23. A kill and a Herd blocking error sealed the set and match for East Carolina.
In the opening set, Marshall and East Carolina fought to 13 ties, with neither team posting more than a two-point lead. After a Kristin Marcum (Arlington, Texas) kill put the Herd ahead 25-24, the Pirates prolonged the frame with a kill. Marcum delivered with a kill again, her eighth of the set, to put the Herd up 26-25, but the Pirates answered once again, knotting the frame at 26-26. Ross gave the Herd a 27-26 lead before Elizabeth Fleming (South Bend, Ind.) sealed the set with a kill after a long rally.
Leading 3-2 in the second stanza, East Carolina used a 10-3 run to post an early 13-5 lead. Marshall received a pair of kills from Marcum, and Herman, but the Pirates closed out the set by outscoring the Herd 12-10 over the next 22 points to post a 25-15 set two victory.
With the contest knotted at one set apiece, the third frame saw seven early lead exchanges before East Carolina was able to extend its advantage to three at 12-9. Two kills by Ross and a solo block, tied the frame at 12 and a Pirates' attacking error gave the Herd a 13-12 lead. With the score 17-16, Marshall pushed its lead to three behind a kill from Herman and a solo block by Sullivan before the Pirates were able to tie the set at 20-20. The sides played to three more stalemates and Ross picked up her sixth kill in the frame before East Carolina was able to pull out a 25-23 win.
Marshall out-blocked the Pirates 9.0-4.0, but the Herd had 13 service errors on the night.
Ross (.407 hitting percentage) and Marcum each finished with 14 kills while Jessica Dhoore (LaPorte, Ind.) contributed a match-best 18 digs in the losing effort. Fleming added 47 assists (a match-high) for the Herd.
Sullivan finished the match with an overall hitting clip of .462 (7 K, 1 E, 13 TA).
Stephanie Turner paved the way for East Carolina, totaling 14 kills, while Melissa Zentner followed with 13, and Amada Lutzow belted 12 kills. Hannah Fenker handed out 44 assists and dug 10 balls, while Trish Monroe added 10 digs in the winning effort for the Pirates.
Marshall returns to East Carolina Invitational action, Saturday with an 11 a.m. contest against North Carolina State. The Herd will then square off against Morgan State at 5 p.m.