BYH: To the city of Greenville. You spend dollars promoting uptown Greenville to draw many in. Now you want to drive...

ECU tennis swings to historic streak

1 of 3

Celia Ruiz swings during East Carolina women's tennis practice Wednesday.


The Daily Reflector

Friday, April 12, 2019

East Carolina’s women’s tennis team hasn’t lost since beginning its season with 7-0 defeats to N.C. State and North Carolina on Jan. 18 and Jan. 23, respectively, but how would the Pirates fare now in rematches against those high-level Atlantic Coast Conference clubs?

There is no easy answer, but ECU would be backed by the momentum of a 20-match win streak, its most wins in a season in school history and the longest winning streak ever by any Pirate team.

“I would say that if we played N.C. State again, it would be a lot closer, but who knows if we would win or not because it always depends on the day,” ECU’s Lisa Hofbauer said earlier this week.

Hofbauer pairs with Alisa Diercksen to form ECU’s No. 1 doubles tandem. Celia Ruiz has won 15 straight matches in singles for the Pirates, who will host Cincinnati today and Connecticut on Saturday to conclude their regular season.

The simple presence of Ruiz, who was injured for both ECU losses, might have helped East Carolina against the pair of talented ACC foes in January.

“It is a little different for us when Celia is in there,” coach Tom Morris said. “The N.C. State match was our first match and they had already played five matches and I don’t think we were ready for them, but they also are a great program and are ninth in the nation.”

Immediately following the Pirates’ only two losses was a key win for ECU against Tulane.

The Pirates beat the Green Wave, 4-1, in New Orleans on Feb. 8 and then stayed in town for a 4-2 victory over Memphis. East Carolina also has defeated Temple for a 3-0 mark against American Athletic Conference opponents, but the Pirates are still on track to be a major underdog next week at the AAC tournament in Florida.

This historic winning streak already has brought unprecedented attention to the Pirates and their players. That has included getting lauded by their professors and peers during the streak.

“It does (feel different) because we have won more, but I think mainly I just couldn’t ask for a better season to end my career here,” Ruiz said.

Hofbauer said the Tulane win was key for confidence.

“Last year we struggled so much against them and they beat us twice, and this year we didn’t know how it would go, but we knew then that this is going to be better,” she said.

Eight of the 10 Pirates are international, including Ruiz from Pontevedra, Spain, and fellow senior Annija Veinsteina from Riga, Latvia.

Morris’ first season leading the Pirates was 1998-99. He said associate head coach Kirstin Burgess is instrumental to the team’s success, and also that last season’s 17-9 record helped to build momentum for this team and its potential.

“I appreciate this from the girls’ standpoint because when you have goals that you set, you certainly don’t anticipate anything like that,” Morris said of 20 straight wins. “We wanted to keep competing at this level and nationally to improve and we’ve done that, probably moving up 15 to 20 spots ahead of where we were last year.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


August 20, 2019

No more waiting for Holton Ahlers or the rest of the East Carolina football team or Pirate fans.

With next Saturday’s noon kickoff at N.C. State getting closer and closer, first-year Pirate coach Mike Houston officially announced after Tuesday’s practice that Ahlers will be his…


August 20, 2019

Quarterback Holton Ahlers led East Carolina’s football team in rushing last season with 592 yards and six touchdowns on 119 carries.

New offensive principles are in place at ECU under a new coaching staff, leading to some intrigue about Ahlers and his run availability. Would this staff, led…


August 19, 2019

East Carolina first-year football coach Mike Houston described the Pirates' No. 1 center, Branden Pena, as a "tough joker" on Saturday.

The football-centric praise showed how far the relationship has come between Pena and Houston since December.

"Branden Pena is a guy that I didn't know his name…


August 17, 2019

Moments of reflection Saturday brought East Carolina first-year head football coach Mike Houston back to the spring.

The physicality he saw Saturday during the Pirates' final preseason scrimmage was vastly different from the spring Purple-Gold Game.

Darius Pinnix displayed his punishing rushing…


August 17, 2019

East Carolina’s football players were asked about their favorite ice cream flavor Saturday and they got the opportunity to pick on teammates, but there also were serious questions pointed their way about the Aug. 31 opener at N.C. State and the rest of an important season for the Pirates…


August 17, 2019

In an exhibition match defined by defense, Jenna Dages scored the only goal for the East Carolina women’s soccer team to top VCU 1-0 on Friday night inside Johnson Stadium.

Dages’ goal came at the 45:34 mark. From there, goalie Meaghan Haley and ECU's defense helped to maintain the lead.…


August 17, 2019

Here are five East Carolina football players who have stepped up during preseason camp and will be looking to continue their momentum when the Pirates complete camp with a scrimmage Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium:

1. Xavier Smith, linebacker: Smith has kind of quietly morphed from a tight end…


August 16, 2019

East Carolina’s football practice Friday morning ended with center Branden Pena snapping to quarterback Holton Ahlers in the victory formation, and then the Pirates celebrated. Kicker Jake Verity also made a 57-yard field goal during a late-game sequence.

On the day before an important…


August 16, 2019

Jayda Hylton-Pelaia has played countless soccer matches in Canada and the United States, impressing plenty of observers with her fluid dribbling and defensive skills.

Her effect on American Athletic Conference coaches was felt Tuesday when she was named AAC preseason defensive player of the year,…

Jayda 6.jpg

August 15, 2019

Bruce Bivens is as vocal as ever on the East Carolina football defense, which can both excite and worry first-year Pirate coach Mike Houston.

Bivens' voice is important and it carries now in the middle of ECU's defense as he approaches his junior season and his second year as a starting inside…

172 stories in ECU. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 18
        Next Page»   Last Page»