East Carolina earns five-set victory at Temple

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania – In an American Athletic Conference game that lasted nearly three hours, East Carolina held off Temple 3-2 (25-21, 18-25, 25-19, 18-25, 15-10) Wednesday night inside McGonigle Hall.

The Pirates (7-10, 2-3 AAC) forced the Owls (7-9, 1-4 AAC) to commit 30 offensive errors, overcoming a 0.216 to 0.198 disadvantage in hitting percentage. Temple also recorded more wins (71-54), digs (85-76) and total blocks (9.0-7.0) while ECU finished with more service aces (7-4 ).

Angeles Alderete came to life in the latter stages of the game, tied for the team lead with 11 eliminations. Shaylynn Room also shot 11 error-free wins out of 20 attempts to hit a sizzling .550. Along the back row, Kenzie Beckham exploded for a career-high 32 digs, marking the first 30-dig out for the program since Brandee Markwith notched 31 in a five-set victory over Alabama A&M on Sept. 21, 2019. Sophie Kruczko also had a career-high 10 eliminations and hit .320 to go along with a double-double performance on Payton Evenstad who registered 25 assists and 13 recoveries.

Jelena Prolic led four Owls in double figures offensively with a game-high 24 kills on .162 efficiency as she committed 12 offensive errors. Nalani McBride paced defensive efforts with 25 digs.

East Carolina led for most of the first set, establishing a 17-11 advantage on a kill by Izzy Marinelli. Temple made it interesting in the final game, shooting 23-21 on a pirate attack error, but ECU scored the last two points on the frame.

The Purple and Gold couldn’t catch up in the second stanza as the Owls took an 18-14, 22-17 lead on their way to a seven-point victory that tied the score at the intermission.

Temple asserted his early dominance in the third set, racing to an 11-2 advantage. Refusing to give up, the Pirates dug deep and staged an emotional rally that eventually saw them level the score at 17 on a Kruczko kill. That was all the momentum East Carolina needed as the Pirates scored eight of the last 10 points to complete the comeback.

After the Owls clinched victory in the fourth set, ECU overcame an early 1-0 deficit and blitzed their hosts with a 9-1 run to take a seven-point lead. Temple was unable to draw only within four the rest of the way and the Pirates sealed the deal with a Hall block and Kellyn Troyse.

Next: East Carolina puts its two-game winning streak on the line Sunday in a meeting with Cincinnati. The first serve inside the Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum is scheduled for noon.

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