GREENVILLE, NC – East Carolina defeated Cincinnati for the first time since 2017 Sunday afternoon, rallying from a two sets to one deficit to post a 3-2 (23-25, 27-25, 19-25, 25-21, 15-13) American Athletic Conference victory inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
The Pirates (8-10, 3-3 AAC) snapped an eight-match losing streak in the series with the Bearcats (4-12, 2-4 AAC) while also recording just their fourth win in the all-time series. ECU has won three-straight league contests, temporarily moving into fifth place in the conference standings pending results of later matches.
East Carolina finished with a slight advantage in total kills (71-67), registering 11 in the fifth set alone. Cincinnati held the upper hand in the digs column (78-70) while the squads were even at 11.0 total blocks apiece. Both teams hit under .200 in the third and fourth sets, but it was the Pirates who claimed the final edge in that statistic, firing at a .240 clip as compared to the Bearcats’ .226.
Angeles Alderete paced all players with 22 kills and completed her eighth double-double of the season with a career-high matching 14 digs. Izzy Marinelli exploded for a personal-best 18 kills and a .213 hitting percentage while Shaylynn Hall chipped in with five kills and six blocks. Along the back row, Kenzie Beckham racked up a team-high 18 digs and was complemented by an 11-dig performance out of Kellyn Trowse. Julianna Askew tallied a double-double of her own, logging 24 assists and 11 digs.
Avry Tatum and Carly Glendinning were tops for the visitors’ offense, posting 18 and 17 kills respectively, while Payton Frederick collected a match-high 20 digs.
The opening set was nip and tuck all the way through. Alderete afforded the Pirates some early breathing room at 13-8 with a kill, but Cincinnati answered with an 11-6 run to knot the score at 19. With the Bearcats later at set point (24-21), ECU scored two straight before Glendinning sealed the frame with a kill.
East Carolina led 14-11 midway through the second stanza. Unfazed, Cincinnati chipped away and eventually grabbed a 20-18 advantage before the Pirates scored three of the next four points to forge a deadlock at 21. Kills by Marinelli and Askew put ECU on the verge of taking the set, but the Bearcats netted two straight to send the frame to extra points where East Carolina would capture three of the final four rallies to tie the match at the intermission.
After Cincinnati notched the six point third-set victory, it looked to have control in the fourth leading 17-12. The Pirates refused to succumb, however, as Trowse unleashed a 7-0 serving run to catapult ECU in front by a pair. The Bearcats were unable to recover as the contest reached the deciding set.
East Carolina wriggled free midway through the fifth, building a 9-6 cushion after a kill by Marinelli. The Pirates extended the lead to 13-10 before Cincinnati responded with three straight points to pull even. It was ECU’s day in the end as Alderete and Sophia Kruczko scored off consecutive kills to clinch the thrilling affair.
Up Next: East Carolina will attempt to stretch its winning streak to four when it takes on South Florida Oct. 14 at 7:30 pm inside The Corral in Tampa.