GREENVILLE- (ECU MEDIA RELATIONS) ECU head coach Julie Torbett collected her 400th and 401st career coaching victories as the Pirates swept a doubleheader Tuesday at Williams Arena against in-state foes N.C. Central and North Carolina A&T.
The Pirates defeated the Eagles by set scores of 25-15, 25-15 and 25-9 before cruising to a 25-19, 25-15, 25-16 victory over the Aggies in the nightcap.
Team Records: ECU (8-4) | N.C. Central (0-11) | North Carolina A&T (5-8)
Torbett’s Take: “I wanted to us to have two good performances before hitting American Athletic Conference play this weekend and we did that tonight. We were consistent and did not let one mistake turn into three or four. Brandee (Markwith) especially put together two solid efforts and I was really pleased with the team as a whole.”
ECU 3, N.C. Central 0
The Pirates held the Eagles to just 16 kills and a negative hitting percentage (-.051) in sweeping the first match of the day. Senior outside hitter Lael Ceriani posted 16 kills, 10 digs and a .387 hitting mark while senior middle Natalie Montini committed just one attacking error in nine swings with six kills to finish with a .556 hitting percentage. Defensively, Markwith racked up 19 digs and senior outside hitter Ashton Mares chipped in with 11 of her own. As for N.C. Central, no player tallied more than three kills.
ECU hit .312 in the contest and notched 54 digs, six aces and five total blocks while limiting the Eagles to 33 digs and a 38-percent sideout mark.
Set One: The Pirates jumped out to a 10-5 lead, forcing N.C. Central to burn its first timeout of the match. ECU kept the pressure on, moving in front 16-10 following a Mares kill. The visitors did not threaten again as the Purple and Gold captured the set by 10 points.
Set Two: The Eagles held a short-lived one-point lead early in the second stanza before a Ceriani kill left the Pirates with an 11-8 edge. With the score at 11-9 after an ECU attacking error, the Pirates scored 11 of the next 12 points to put the frame away and head into the intermission with a two sets to none advantage.
Set Three: It was all Pirates in the final frame as the home side raced out to leads of 6-2 and 20-6. ECU would hold its second opponent of the season under 10 points in a set as N.C. Central mustered just nine points in the period.
ECU 3, North Carolina A&T 0
The Aggies provided a slightly stiffer test in the second match of the evening, but the Pirates hit for a high percentage and did not allow A&T to 20 points in any of the three sets.
ECU tallied 33 kills on 76 attempts with only eight errors to finish with a .329 hitting mark while the Aggies were only able to come up with 26 kills on 94 attempts while making 23 errors to fire at a .032 clip. The Pirates out-dug A&T 38-28 and out-blocked the Aggies 6.0 to 2.0.
Freshman right side Bri Wood collected a match-high nine kills and hit .600 in not committing an error for the match. Markwith posted 14 digs while Montini contributed five blocks to the good of the cause. Alyssa Pitt paced the Aggies with seven kills.
Set One: North Carolina A&T held a slight two-point edge at 9-7 before ECU was able to knot the score at 10. The Aggies moved in front 13-11 after a kill by Samara Brown, but a Mares kill sparked a 7-0 run that put the Purple and Gold ahead by five. A&T made one last push, drawing within 19-18, but the Pirates slammed the door shut with a set-ending 6-1 run.
Set Two: A big block by Wood and Montini saw ECU in the lead 6-2 early in the second stanza. The Aggies were able to rally to within one point at 8-7, but the Pirates scored eight of the next 10 points and began to pull away. The visitors were as close as 17-14, however, eight of the last nine points in the frame belonged to ECU who won the set by 10.
Set Three: North Carolina A&T hung around early in the third, leading 8-6 after a kill by Pitt. Unfazed, the Pirates used an Aggie attacking error to kickstart a 9-4 run that flipped the script and put ECU in front 17-12. That took the wind out of the A&T sails as the Pirates cruised the rest of the way to the sweep.
News and Notes
Torbett is the second active head coach in the American Conference to reach 400 career wins (Kaddie Platt, Houston).
ECU improved to 6-3 at home in 2017.
The Pirates have swept seven opponents this season.
N.C. Central’s 16 kills are the fewest allowed by ECU in 12 matches this campaign.
The Pirates are now second in the league in both hitting percentage (.230) and opposing hitting percentage (.150).
Up Next: ECU heads to Florida this weekend to start its AAC schedule. The Pirates will face UCF Friday in Orlando at 7 p.m. before taking on USF in Tampa Sunday at Noon.