East Carolina University’s volleyball team got back on track with a sweep of the North Carolina Central University Eagles on Tuesday and are set to play the University of South Florida Bulls at Minges Coliseum tomorrow.
The Pirates have just eight games left this season and senior Lael Ceriani isn’t exactly looking forward to the end.
“It’s sad, it’s so sad. My whole career is coming down to eight more games,” Ceriani said.
The Pirates will see American Athletic Conference foes in all contests this season. Remaining on the schedule includes USF, Wichita State University, the University of Memphis, the University of Houston, Tulane University and summing up the season, a face-off against the University of Cincinnati in a home-and-home series.
With a chance to take a rise in the AAC standings, head coach Julie Torbett wants to take advantage going forward, even if the Pirates know they still have to take it one game and one goal at a time.
“We want to end up as high as we can,” Torbett said. “We want to have a winning season and then look towards a 20-win season.”
A couple of players on the roster are looking to keep up some serious individual success against the Bulls on Friday. Sophomore Brandee Markwith leads the team in service aces (21) and digs (482), while freshman Shelby Martin leads the Pirates in assists (809).
“You play better when you feel good, and it comes from being really motivated and focused,” Markwith said.
In the last matchup with the Bulls, the Pirates struggled, with six more errors and a lower hitting percentage than the Bulls did, but still came out on top in the match, with a score of 3-1. Efficiency has been a bright spot in an even brighter season for the Pirates as they lead opponents in hitting percentage and have less errors overall as a team.
“We have a great back row; I can get balls up with their great passes and it opens up all the options I have with the set,” Martin said.
Finding a way to get kills and limiting unforced errors is a statistic column the volleyball team should try to capitalize on, according to Torbett.
The Bulls might not roll over as easily as they did before, but the Pirates and Brandee Markwith are still looking for a dominant win.
“I definitely think they will be stronger than before,” Markwith said. “Everybody gets better, especially the second round of conference.”
The Bulls are 9-13, 4-8 AAC and will likely be coming to Greenville looking to start a hot streak to move up for the AAC tournament. The Pirates (16-9, AAC 7-5) will set out to extinguish the Bulls and earn another AAC match-up victory.