ECU roundup: Volleyball rallies for tourney title
ECU, Staff reports
Monday, September 16, 2019
A 3-0 weekend record by the East Carolina volleyball team extended its winning streak to four matches and gave the Pirates a tournament title in their annual early-season home event.
ECU won the Pirate Invitational in defeating George Washington on Friday and then Norfolk State and USC Upstate on Saturday, but it required a comeback in the final match to complete the Pirates’ tournament sweep and for an 8-1 record this season.
After beating GW and Norfolk State each by a 3-0 score, the Pirates trailed 2-1 against Upstate on Saturday night before rallying for a 3-2 (25-21, 20-25, 23-25, 25-18, 15-8) victory in Minges Coliseum. The visitors scored the first point of the fifth frame, but ECU responded with five straight points to seize control.
“It’s great winning our home tournament, especially since we haven’t done that for a couple of years,” Pirate coach Julie Torbett said. “It definitely wasn’t the cleanest match on our part, but give a lot of credit to USC Upstate for the challenge. We will get back to work to prepare for N.C. Central (at home on Tuesday at 6 p.m.).”
ECU’s Bri Wood was selected as the tournament MVP, recording a double-double in all three contests. She had 22 kills against Upstate. Kaiya Heyliger-Powell complemented in putting down a career-best 12 kills in the final match.
Libero Brandee Markwith earned American Athletic Conference defensive player of the week for the first time in her career for her performance during the Pirates’ 4-0 record for the week. She averaged 5.44 digs per set and committed just three reception errors in 71 chances.
East Carolina’s women’s soccer team went 1-1 in its last two matches, losing 2-1 at Old Dominion on Thursday before responding in another road match in defeating Charlotte 1-0 on Sunday.
ECU (3-3-1), which will host N.C. State on Wednesday at 6 p.m., won despite being out-shot 17-7. The Pirates scored in the 16th minute when Daria Draovitch sent a cross into the box from the right wing and Cashlin Copley connected and scored on a headed effort for her second goal of the season.
"We could not be more proud of the ladies," coach Jason Hamilton said. “To win on the road on a Sunday against a quality team like Charlotte really shows a ton of grit.”
The win was the 50th of Hamilton's head coaching career, which includes 13 wins in charge of the Pirates.
Marques’ first title
The East Carolina men’s tennis team began its fall schedule at the Liberty Invitational and Diogo Marques proved victorious.
Marques won his draw as the fourth seed in the red draw. The sophomore dropped the first set in each of his three matches and went to a tiebreak in the third set in both the first round and the final. But each time he battled back and in the final he rallied to a dramatic 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7) victory against Josh Wilson of Liberty.
“Congratulations to Diogo for his first tournament win in college,” coach Shawn Heinchon said. “He did a great job of hanging in a couple of matches and just competing his butt off in difficult, hot conditions. The end result was a tournament win. Well done.”
Cross country women win
The East Carolina cross country program continued its solid start to its season at the Navy Invitational, highlight by the Pirates’ women squad winning the team title and the men were second.
The Pirates fell one point shy of a perfect score, finishing with 16. They had the four fastest individual times, led by senior Nuria Tillo-Prats winning the 6K in a time of 22 minutes, 21.10 seconds.
“I thought our women did a good job of racing in a pack, and we’re able to help pull and push each other throughout the race,” ECU coach Josey Weaver said. “Our men got to experience and race against a very good Navy team.”
Seniors Blake Taylor and Patrick Stephenson shot 2-under-par and 1 under, respectively, for East Carolina’s men’s golf team to finish in eighth place among 13 teams at the Rod Myers Invitational in Durham.
Taylor (72-67-75=214) finished alone in 12th place. Wake Forest took first in the team standings, besting Duke by three strokes.