East Carolina University volleyball is headed into the 2022 season with a lot of room to improve after a very poor 9-20, 5-15 American Athletic Conference (AAC) record last season.
The Pirates will have three highschool intended commitments and four transfer student-athletes welcomed to help the team boost their upcoming season.
Last year, East Carolina's first 15 games were decided by a three-point margin, seven of those the Pirates won and the other eight the team was swept by their opponents. Out of the 15 games played with a three-point margin, one was a conference game which was against Temple University on Oct. 8, 2021.
The team last year split a lot of their conference games including games between Temple, the University of Houston and the University of Memphis.
The University of South Florida (USF) was the only opponent the Pirates won both times they faced each other. ECU was swept by Southern Methodist University (SMU), the University of Cincinnati, Wichita State University, Tulsa University, the University of Central Florida (UCF) and Tulane University.
With the amount of new recruits the team brought in for the new season, the Pirates should be able to take the split record games like Temple, Houston, and Memphis and turn them into clean wins. The team wasn't too far behind from losing those games with the largest point margin being three against Houston on Nov. 12, 2021.
East Carolina had a seven game loss streak to close out the last season. With the last three opponents of the upcoming season being USF, Temple and Cincinnati, the Pirates should only go out with a one game loss streak from Cincinnati if the Pirates are able to capitalize from their mistakes last season and not deteriorate.
The Pirates will have a rough start to their season with the 12 non-conference games to start, followed by Tulsa and Wichita State as their first two conference games of the season. The toughest part of the season for ECU will be in the second half of the season when the Pirates will face SMU, Tulane, Houston, Wichita State, Tulsa and SMU for a second time starting Oct. 23, 2022 through Nov. 11, 2022.
ECU was only able to beat Houston once last year. With the Houston split and the team being unable to get a win from any of the other opponents during the time frame it will be subpar for the Pirates.
Last season, the team either had a great game or lost it by three-points. The Pirates had five close games with a one-point difference over the span of the 29 games played during the season. If East Carolina can flip the close games from last season, as well as the games they split with their opponents, the team could have a decent standing record by the end of the upcoming season.
The schedule broke up the potential of having high game loss streaks by spreading out the easier opponents to the Pirates. Towards the end of the season the Pirates will have a loss to UCF followed by an easy USF and Temple game and the Cincinnati game to close out the season. The same teams will play again in the middle of the season starting Oct. 5, 2022 against Temple followed by Cincinnati and USF.
The lead scorer for the team, Natalie Tyson, graduated after last season and racked up 324 points and wasn’t close to being matched. The second leading scorer had 285 which was Brittany Wood, a junior outside hitter for the Pirates. Wood could become the next leading scorer for this season if she continues her progress.
The volleyball team has the potential to have a decent year and the odds are placed in their favor because of the broken up schedule. The team has room for improvement and this upcoming season could be the start of a rebuild.