At first it looked like the East Central University volleyball team would be able to hand Southern Nazarene its first loss in the Great American Conference, but the Lady Tigers (8-14, 5-3 GAC) fell to the Crimson Storm (17-6, 7-0 GAC) 2-3 (25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 27-29, 8-15).
ECU was led by senior Ashley Williams, with a .364 (17k-5e-33ta) hitting percentage, 11 digs and eight block assists for her first double-double of the season. Senior Noelle Cope added her fourth double-double of the year with 15 kills and 14 digs, while sophomore Madison Seiler earned her second double-double, with 14 digs and 22 assists.
The opening set was close at the start, but after a five-all tie the Crimson Storm pulled ahead with a 5-0 run (5-10). The match remained close until the end; with SNU holding a four-point lead most of the way. However, with the scoreboard reading 19-23, the Lady Tigers went on a 6-0 run to earn a 25-23 win.
The second set was again close, but a 0-2 start by the Crimson Storm gave them a slight advantage. ECU tied the set at nine and then saw SNU go ahead by four again late into the set. It was again a late run by the Lady Tigers to cut the lead from 18-22 to give ECU a 23-22 advantage. The Crimson Storm tied the set at 23, but ECU got kills from seniors Ashley Williams and Noelle Cope to earn the 25-23 win.
The third set saw SNU jump out to an early 2-8 lead and they built the advantage to 9-14. The Lady Tigers kept fighting and tied the set at 15, with a 6-1 run. After trading the next two serves, the Crimson Storm went up 16-19. While the teams battled throughout the rest of the set, but ECU could not overcome the disadvantage and fell 23-25.
The fourth set was close at the start, with a tie at four before ECU used a 5-1 run for the 9-5 lead. The Lady Tigers used a few small runs to push the advantage to 17-11. The Crimson Storm cut the lead to 17-14 and then the teams traded points until ECU was up 23-20. However, this time it was SNU’s turn to tie the set late at 23. The teams battled through ties at 24, 25, 26 and 27 before the Crimson Storm earned the final two points for the 27-29 win.
The teams traded the first six serves of the fifth-and-deciding set, but SNU then used a 7-0 run to take a 3-10 advantage. While ECU went on a few small runs the deficit was too much to overcome and the Crimson Storm earned the 8-15 win.
The match was close all around, with the Lady Tigers earning a slight .219 (65k-24e-187ta) to .211 (72k-31e-194ta) hitting percentage advantage. The key to the match was at the service line; where SNU earned a 2-5 service ace an 11-8 service errors advantage.
The Lady Tigers will now be off until Saturday, Oct. 26 when they travel to face Henderson State at noon.