The first Great American Conference match for the East Central University volleyball team was a good statement, with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-16) win over Southwestern Oklahoma State.
The Lady Tigers (4-6, 1-0 GAC) were led by senior Danielle Essix, who tallied her fourth double-double of the season. Essix garnered 11 kills and 12 digs, while adding a .360 (11k-2e-25ta) hitting percentage. Sophomore Hayley Gerken added a team-high 12 kills, while senior Sarah Nelson had five block assists.
The opening set saw ECU take an early 3-0 advantage that they grew into an 11-3 lead, with strong overall play. The Bulldogs (4-9, 1-1 GAC) cut the advantage to four (13-9) with a 6-2 run, but the Lady Tigers kept the advantage around four-to-five points until late in the set.
With ECU leading 21-16, SWOSU made a final attempt to take the first-set win by going on a 7-1 run to earn a 22-23 lead. The Lady Tigers were not done fighting and used a block and two kills to earn the next three points for the 25-23 win.
Set two again saw ECU earn an early advantage, this time 5-2. The Bulldogs didn’t wait as long to come back this time and tied the set at 11, with a 9-6 run. The set remained close, with SWOSU taking a 17-13 lead. The Bulldogs were up 20-16 when the Lady Tigers made a late push and used a 9-1 run to earn a 25-21 win.
The third set was close at first with five ties and three lead changes, with the final tie coming at 11-all. ECU used a 4-0 run to take a 15-11 lead and kept it around four-or-five points until late in the set. With the Lady Tigers up 19-15, ECU was propelled to the 25-16 win with a 6-1 run.
While the Lady Tigers were out-blocked (9-6), ECU held key advantages in hitting percentage and service aces to earn the win. The Lady Tigers hit .205 as a team and held the Bulldogs to a .087 mark. ECU also tallied five service aces to SWOSU’s three.