– East Carolina heads to South Carolina Thursday and Friday for the Chanticleer Classic on the campus of Coastal Carolina University. The Pirates will take on regional opponents Radford and UNCW as well as the host Chanticleers inside the HTC Center.
After dropping all three of its opening weekend matches in the Triangle, ECU looks to record its first victory of the season. Facing off against Wofford, NC State and North Carolina, a young and massively depleted Pirate side was unable to capture a set win despite battling hard against two ACC opponents.
Under tough circumstances that forced East Carolina to play with just eight available members of the roster versus the Wolfpack and Tar Heels, six freshmen earned significant playing time. The Pirates were also without all three of their regular setters as freshman defensive specialist Anaiah Jones bravely stepped in to run the offense.
If that weren’t enough, ECU was missing the services of All-American Athletic Conference Preseason Team selection and right side Bri Wood as well as its second-leading scorer from the spring in senior outside hitter Sydney Kleinman and experienced senior setter Janiece Jefferies.
Coastal Carolina enters the multi-team event with a 3-2 overall record with wins over Iowa, Northwestern State and UTSA as well as losses to Duke and Ole Miss. Ani Bozdeva paces the team in kills per set (3.26) while, as a unit, the Chanticleers are averaging 11.68 kills, 9.21 assists, 1.68 aces, 14.21 digs and 2.37 blocks per set.
Radford owns a 1-5 record with a lone victory over Eastern Kentucky as well as setbacks to UNC Greensboro, Appalachian State, Cleveland State, Evansville and Morehead State. Emma Young has been the top offensive threat for the Highlanders, averaging 2.17 kills per set. As a team, Radford is putting up 10.17 kills, 8.58 assists, 1.46 aces, 13.67 digs and 1.79 blocks per set.
UNCW brings a 1-4 record to Conway, most recently falling twice to Jacksonville on the road last weekend. The Seahawks have also lost to Wake Forest and Furman while downing North Alabama. Brianna Hagerty leads the club in kills per set (2.68) while the squad averages 10.52 kills, 9.43 assists, 1.52 aces, 12.41 digs and 0.95 blocks per set.
The Coastal Carolina Series
East Carolina holds an 11-6 advantage in the series with Coastal Carolina and has won seven of the last nine meetings dating back to 1993. In the teams’ most recent encounter, the Chanticleers got the best of the Pirates in a five-set decision back on Sept. 15, 2012.
The Radford Series
Radford has captured seven of the 10 meetings with East Carolina in series history, including four of the last five. The last time the schools met on the volleyball floor, the Pirates defeated the Highlanders in three sets in the finale of the City Hotel and Bistro Invitational in Greenville.
The UNCW Series
East Carolina trails UNCW by a 39-29 margin in the series between the programs. However, the Pirates have downed the Seahawks 14-straight times dating back to the 1999 campaign.
Baptism By Fire
East Carolina’s roster this season features 10 freshmen. Most of them have not had to wait long to experience their first collegiate action as seven earned time on the court during the opening weekend of play. Moreover, all of them have started at least one match thus far.
The Pirates have enjoyed a great deal of success in non-conference matches since 2013, accruing a 69-26 record. Entering the fall, East Carolina has won 16 of its last 21 non-league affairs.
East Carolina welcomes Gardner-Webb, UTRGV and Appalachian State to Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum Sept. 17-18 for the Pirate Invitational.
— to ecupirates.com