The streak nearly ended Friday night. But it didn’t. And then, the East Central University volleyball team made sure it continued Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers won a pair of home games over the weekend to extend its school-record winning streak to nine games. Coach Cheri Lindsay’s club improved to 12-9 overall and 8-1 in Great American Conference play and now stands at 7-1 in the friendly confines of the Kerr Activities Center.
On Friday, the Tigers needed a clutch kill by Nyah Walker to win the fifth set 15-13 in a tense 3-2 victory over Henderson State. East Central then disposed of Ouachita Baptist 3-0 Saturday afternoon.
The streak will face the ultimate test Friday night when the Tigers travel to Russellville, Arkansas, to battle league-leading Arkansas Tech. The Golden Suns are 14-4 overall and tied with ECU at the top of the GAC standings with an identical 8-1 record. Arkansas Tech is a perfect 5-0 inside the Tucker Coliseum.
East Central is a Harding at 11 a.m. Saturday. The Bison are 10-6 overall and 6-3 in the conference.
Friday, Oct. 15
ECU 3, Henderson State 2
East Central won two of the first three sets with tight victories before the Reddies stole the momentum by dominating the Tigers 25-13 in set No. 4.
Walker, a junior from Bryant, Texas, hit a clutch kill shot on the Tigers’ second set point from about five feet from behind the net to secure the 15-13 victory in the fifth set — much to the delight of the throng of fans in the ECU student section. Walker registered a team-high 14 total kills in the contest.
The teams traded the first six serves in a back-and-forth final set that also included four ties.
Senior Sydney Dungen registered her 22nd career double-double in the match. She finished with 25 assists, 14 digs and a kill. Junior Thailanette Garcia finished with a double-double that included 13 kills, 18 digs and three service aces, while senior Lisa Gonzalez also had a double-double with 19 assists and 11 digs.
Senior Alejandra Delgado added 17 digs and a pair of service aces for the home team.
The Tigers are now 3-0 in five-set matches this fall.
Saturday, Oct. 16
ECU 3, Ouachita Baptist 0
The Tigers won the first set by a decisive 25-14 count and finished off Ouachita Baptist with a pair of 25-19 victories in the final two sets.
East Central recorded nine service aces in the match, including a team-best four from junior Thalianette Garcia, who also had 10 kills, five digs and a block.
Alejandra Delgado finished with 18 digs, four assists and a pair of aces for ECU.
Sydney Dungen and freshman standout Emma Strickland both recorded double-doubles for the home team. Dungen finished with 18 assists and 11 digs to go with a service ace, while Strickland added 11 kills, 12 digs and three block assists. She also had a .476 hitting percentage.
Dungen has now played in 127 matches during her ECU career, good enough for No. 2 on the all-time list. She also climbed into the No. 2 list in service aces with 102 (the school record is 103) and assists with 2,568.
Aloni Jordan added six block assists, five kills and hit .476.