The East Central University volleyball team fell 3-2 in a five-set road match to Northwestern Oklahoma State Tuesday night in Great American Conference action.
During the Lady Tiger setback, senior Noelle Cope became the first ECU player to record 1,000 career kills. The Arlington, Texas, native needed two kills at the start of the match and garnered nine for 1,007 career kills.
The Lady Tigers (9-15, 6-4 GAC) were paced by sophomore Hayley Gerken, with 14 kills, three (1-2) blocks and a .440 (14k-3e-25ta) hitting percentage. Senior Danielle Essix was also strong for ECU with her seventh double-double of the year with 15 kills and 16 digs. Essix also added four service aces and three (1-2) blocks.
The Rangers (5-18, 2-8 GAC) opened the first set by taking a 8-4 advantage, but ECU then turned up the intensity and took a 10-8 lead, with a 6-2 run. The set remained close through the rest of the set, with several ties. The final tie came at 18-all and it was the Lady Tigers who went on a 4-0 run to take a 22-18 lead. The advantage was enough for the win and ECU took the opening set 25-19.
The second set saw the Lady Tigers open with a 7-1 advantage. However, it was Northwestern’s turn to force a tie score at 15. The teams traded the next two serves before the Rangers used a 2-0 run to gain an advantage. The rest of the set was close, but the lead was what NWOSU needed to keep the momentum on their side and earned the 25-20 win.
After the intermission, the Lady Tigers came out ready to fight and took an early 4-1 lead in the third set. ECU kept the advantage throughout the set, building the lead to as many as four before earning the 25-21 win.
The fourth set was tight all the way through. The Lady Tigers fell behind in the middle of the set, by as many as five, but fought back to get within one (21-20). The teams traded the next four serves before a 2-0 run by ECU forced a 23-all tie. The score was knotted at 24, but Northwestern was able to earn the final two points for the 26-24 win.
In the final set, the Rangers jumped out to an early 5-0 lead. The Lady Tigers fought back with a 5-1 run of their own, but were unable to tie the set until an 11-all mark. However, momentum was on the side of NWOSU, which used a 4-1 run to earn the 15-12 win.
While ECU earned advantages in service aces (11-7) and blocks (12-5), the Rangers took a slight .123 (51k-31e-162ta) to .131 (60k-36e-183ta) hitting percentage advantage.
ECU hosted rival Southeastern Thursday night and travel to Weatherford to take on Southwestern next Tuesday at 7 p.m.