GREENVILLE, N.C. – Despite multiple tight sets at Williams Arena, Norfolk State lost to East Carolina 3-0 on Saturday in the final match of the Pirate Invitational. Carla Hernandez led the Spartans with 12 kills on 32 attempts.
The first two games saw the teams trade blows, but NSU came up short in both, losing the first 25-21 and the second 25-20. The Pirates pulled away 25-16 in the final set.
Junior libero Alondra Hernandez got NSU going with an ace on the first serve of the match. Carla Hernandez put away a pass from Sofie Langer on the next point, one of her four kills of the first game.
As the squads exchanged leads, fifth-year senior Nicole Rodriguez kept the Spartans’ defense strong. Rodriguez finished the day with 13 digs, while Alondra Hernandez added eight.
Sydney McCree gave the Spartans momentum with a crafty kill, before rejecting a Pirate attack on the next point. The freshman setter led the Spartans with 19 assists on Saturday, continuing the impressive opening weekend of her career.
With the Spartans holding a 21-20 lead in the opening game, ECU harnessed the energy of the home crowd for a set-clinching 5-0 run. Another late run five-point burst pushed the Pirates to victory during the second set as well, despite NSU outside hitter Shonte Seale heating up with four kills in the frame.
After racking up 24 kills across the first two sets, the Spartans struggled to reignite their offensive firepower. The Pirates held NSU to six kills on a -0.13 hitting percentage in the final game, with eight attack errors preventing the Spartans from making a run.
The Spartans will now receive ample time to regroup after playing three matches in two days. The team faces Hampton for its home opener at Gill Gymnasium on Sep. 7 in the Battle of the Bay.