GREENVILLE, N.C. — Wichita State got 15 or more kills from three different sources and combined for 13 blocks, downing East Carolina 27-25, 25-15, 22-25, 25-16 on Friday night at Minges Coliseum. It’s the ninth straight win in the series for the Shockers, who have never lost to ECU.
The Shockers (12-11, 7-5) showcased the potent offensive trio of Natalie Foster (16 kills), Sophia Rohling (16) and Brylee Kelly (15), who all reached double-digit kills for the third consecutive match. As a team, Wichita State hit better than .250 in each set, highlighted by a fourth set onslaught in which the Shockers put down 15 kills on a .419 attack percentage. For the match, WSU finished at .302 while holding the Pirates to .146.
Wichita State got off to a slow start, failing to capture any of the first five points before Chris Lamb took timeout. The Shockers gradually fought their way back to level the score seven times, but could not take their first lead until a Lauren McMahon kill made it 21-20. East Carolina (8-17, 3-10) had two different cracks at putting the set away, leading 24-23 and 25-24, but a Foster kill, combined with an attack error from Izzy Marinelli, set up Kelly for the winner as the Shockers rallied to take the opener.
The second set was all Black and Yellow, as Wichita State led from the opening point and never allowed East Carolina to reach level terms. An early 7-2 spurt put Wichita State in the driver’s seat, and five blocks in the set held the Pirates to a -.024 hitting percentage. Kelly provided the offense with five kills, as WSU cruised to a 2-0 lead.
16 ties and five lead changes took place in a thrilling third set, one that was deadlocked at 22-all following another Foster termination. East Carolina momentarily staved off defeat by stringing together three consecutive points to snatch the set, capped by a kill from Angeles Alderete. Alderete finished with a match-high 21 kills, but also committed 12 errors among her 60 attempts.
There would be no such drama in the clinching fourth set, as WSU bolted to a 6-2 lead that prompted an East Carolina timeout. The lead later swelled to nine at 19-10, and the Shockers put things away with an exclamation point via a Foster ace, the team’s fifth of the match.
Kayce Litzau was brilliant operating the Shocker attack, delivering 50 assists to go along with 10 digs, while Lara Uyar set a career high for a second straight match with 19 digs of her own. Kelly finished with a double-double, adding 11 digs to her 15 kills.
The Shockers are back in action on Sunday in Philadelphia against Temple. First serve from McGonigle Hall is scheduled for 12:00 pm CT.