The East Carolina University volleyball team hoped to give Wichita State its first loss this season, but fell short in three sets tonight.
The Pirates, (18-10, 9-6 AAC) who also fell to Wichita State in three sets on Oct. 22, was unable to match up to the height of the Shockers (23-3, 15-0 AAC), and their hitting percentage reflected it. ECU was only able to muster up a hitting percentage of .108 compared to the .400 Wichita State was able to earn.
The Pirates were able to match the Shockers early in the game, as they trailed just 9-7 early on in the first set, but Wichita State was able to pull away toward the middle of the set, eventually taking seven straight points to bring the score to 16-7. The Pirates were never able to regroup, as Wichita State took the first set by a 25-13 margin.
The Shockers never looked back, taking the second and third sets 25-16, and 25-14 to complete the sweep.
ECU head coach Julie Torbett said she knew Wichita State would present her team with some challenges as it has yet to lose a game in the conference, but felt her team still could have played much better than it did.
“They are loaded, you know, they have a great setter, and they’ve been used to winning for a long time,” Torbett said. “I think that just breeds the mentality of winning. It is tough to play against a team like that, but I feel like we could have played better against them. I think we played better the first time around, and we are going to have to find ways, because they are in our conference and they are here to stay.”
Sophomore libero Brandee Markwith led the defensive charge for ECU with 12 digs and senior outside hitter Ashton Mares led the way offensively for the Pirates with seven kills.
Mares, who earned her 1,000th career dig in the Pirates’ last game against the University of Central Florida on Nov. 5, said she wants to see her team get off to a quicker start in its next game on Sunday against Memphis.
“I think we can just work on coming out stronger all together,” Mares said. “I think we came out pretty low, and we weren’t very energetic, we weren’t very excited, and that’s a big part of our team, that’s what makes us so good. I think we can work at coming out strong from the first point against Memphis.”
The Pirates will try to get back on track with a win at home against Memphis on Sunday, which would be their second win against the Tigers this season, previously defeating them in three sets on Oct. 20.