Volleyball Rides Defense to Fourth-Straight Win
Nov. 2, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -
East Carolina (12-16; 2-11 C-USA) 24 16 16 Memphis (17-10; 8-5 C-USA) 26 25 25
University of Memphis libero Christine Bach picked up a match-high 18 digs and the Tiger frontline recorded 17 block assists to hold ECU to a .028 attack percentage for the match in a sweep of the Pirates in C-USA play on Sunday afternoon.
Memphis opened the set slowly, falling behind 10-4 before taking a timeout. The Pirates extended their lead to 15-7 and led 19-12 after a Tiger service error and a block by Erica Banning and Katie Koop. Down by six points, Becky Shaffer came to the service line. ECU promptly committed three-straight hitting errors, Laura Côté downed a kill and ECU made another hitting error to trim the deficit to just one point at 19-18. Memphis continued to push and consecutive kills from Rebekah Strickland and Emily Underwood knotted the frame at 20-20. Strickland, who paced Memphis with a match-high 10 kills, put away four terminations in the first period. ECU gained set-point serve and looked as if it would take the opener with a 24-23 lead. But Memphis had other ideas as Underwood and Lauren Thompson teamed up for blocks to tie the frame. Thompson then gave the Tigers their first lead of the game with a kill and a Pirate hitting error completed the comeback, 26-24. After trailing 15-7, Memphis clinched the opening set with a 19-9 run.
That comeback set the tone for the remainder of the match. The two teams struggled through ties on the first six points until Thompson knocked down one of her eight kills to put Memphis on top 7-6. That strike ignited a 6-0 run that saw Emily Underwood serve a pair of aces and Casey Sines add two kills. Sines finished the day with six kills. ECU cut the Memphis cushion to 17-14, but the Tigers were able to score on eight of the last 10 serves to close out the game 25-16. The Memphis defense held ECU to -.083 hitting on five kills and eight errors in the set.
Memphis raced out to a 10-3 lead behind the serve of Becky Shaffer in the third and final set. With the period tied a 3-3, Shaffer toed the service line and the Tiger then scored the next seven points. Led by two rejections from Rebekah Strickland, the U of M defense got 5.5 blocks en route to limiting ECU to .026 hitting in the third. The Pirates chipped away at the Tigers advantage and closed the gap to as close as three point, at 16-13. That was as close as Memphis allowed the game to be as they scored a 9-3 run to end the contest.
Memphis's offense hit .255 on the day and got six kills each from Côté, Katlin Inglish and Sines. Côté dished out a match-best 26 assists.
The defense did not allow an ECU player to reach double figures in kills as Lizzy Bruin downed a team-high five kills for the Pirates. Bruin had four of those scores in the first set. Inglish added 10 digs for the Tiger "D". Sines and Strickland made five total blocks each, while Underwood added three.
The Tigers will now prepare to hit the road for the final time this year. Next weekend Memphis will travel to Houston for a pair of C-USA bouts versus Houston, on Fri., Nov. 7, and Rice on Sun., Nov. 9.