Top-Four Finish Remains in Reach for Tiger Volleyball With Sweep of ECU
Nov. 9, 2007
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -
ECU (15-15; 6-9 C-USA) 20 27 27 Memphis (22-10; 11-4 C-USA) 30 30 30
Senior Shelby Burton put down a match-high 14 kills and hit .619, while the Memphis defense held East Carolina to just .046 hitting for the match to race to a 3-0 win over the Pirates on Friday evening. The win keeps the Tigers in the hunt for a top-four seed for the upcoming Conference USA Championships in Huntington, W.V., Nov. 15-18.
Memphis outblocked ECU 12-6 in the tilt, led by Laura Côté and Rebekah Strickland, who both finished the night with five rejections. Freshman libero Christine Bach picked up 10 digs in the short match.
Côté ran the offense efficiently with 36 assists. The Tigers hit .298 in the match, but posted averages of .310 and .393 in the first two sets.
Bach got the Tigers off to a sprint to start the match. Behind her strong serve, Memphis scored the forst 10 points of the match. Three Pirates offensive errors were followed by kills by Burton and Labrum as Memphis went up 5-0. Burton and Labrum connected again of consecutive plays and Bach added an ace as the UofM lead swelled to 8-0. Sarah Bury put away one of her 10 kills on the night, and ECU followed with a hitting error to extend the lead to 10-0. Memphis led by as many as 14, 26-12, after another Pirates error. ECU hit just .029 with nine kills and eight errors in the opener.
Game two was a different story. A 7-2 run gave Memphis an early five-point cushion, but ECU battled back to tie the game at 13-13. The Tigers gained seperation by scoring five of the next six points to move ahead 18-14. Another offensive miscue by ECU capped a four-point run by the Tigers, giving them their largest lead of the game, 22-16. At that point the Pirates began to battle back, A kill by Burton shut down a rally that saw ECU close the Memphis lead to just 24-22. The Tigers maintained that two-point lead until Ashley Liford came through with a kill to end the game 30-27. Liford had 10 kills.
Memphis held ECU to -.029 hitting in the finale. Trailing 2-0, the Tigers got on the board with one of freshman Kelsey Labrum's six slams on the night. Burton struck again to tie the set at 2-2. The senior then stuffed an ECU attack to cap a 4-0 surge that put Memphis on top for good, 6-3. A hitting error by ECU gave the Tigers a late 20-15 lead. Ahead 25-20, it looked as if the UofM would cruise to victory. However, ECU had other plans as it scored on the next three serves to cut the lead to two points, 25-23. Burton's kill gave Memphis the sideout score and the Tigers got a kill from Strickland to extend the lead to 29-24. With Memphis at match-point, ECU again rallied to score three straight to make it 29-27 and force a Tiger timeout. Memphis came out of the break and put the match away with a kill by Liford.
ECU's Kelly Wernert led the way with 13 kills. Freshman setter Katie Koop set 29 assists and Hannah Fenker made 10 digs.
The Tigers will wrap up regular season play on Sunday against Marshall. Seniors Shelby Burton, Ashley Liford and manager Sam Chambers will be recognized as part of Senior Day in a pre-game ceremony. First serve is set for 1 p.m. at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.