Camels top East Carolina, 3-1

Katelyn Layden (Courtesy of Bennett Scarborough)
Katelyn Layden (Courtesy of Bennett Scarborough)

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – With Campbell facing set point, 23-24, in the third frame against East Carolina, sophomore outside Katelyn Layden (Chapel Hill, N.C.) came through with a momentum changing kill that enabled the Camels to take the frame and eventually the match, 3-1 (21-25, 25-14, 30-28, 25-19), on Tuesday night at Gore Arena/John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center.

The Camels have had a number of players step up during their 6-2 start to the season. Layden, a six-rotation player, was that person against East Carolina (2-5), notching a career-best 20 digs and adding six kills.

For the second-consecutive contest, senior setter Heather Wilson (Concord, N.C.), the reigning Big South Player of the Week, topped her personal-best with 52 assists. She also dug up 12 attacks to reach her 20th-career double-double.

A 10-kill and 14-dig performance was tallied by sophomore outside Alexis Hein (Murrieta, Calif.), who posted her fifth double-double of the campaign. Senior middle blocker Lindsey Coats (Dunn, N.C.) and junior outside Jessica Groen (Las Cruces, N.M.) each contributed 14 kills, while Coats set a season-best .462 attacking pct., committing just two mistakes.

Three blocks each were registered by Coats and junior middle blocker Lorin Thomas (Raleigh, N.C.), who also tallied 11 kills.

Tying for a match-high 25 digs was sophomore libero Mary Crema (Loveland, Ohio). East Carolina out-dug the Camels in the match though, 97-90, and it was paced by Shelby Beasley.

The Pirates saw Nicole Wills total 19 kills and Torre Blake terminate 10 attacks. The setting duo of Bella Borgiotti and Zarah Cecich recorded 22 and 19 assists, respectively.

After spotting ECU a 12-4 lead in the first set, Campbell settled down and rolled off a four-point rally, aided by kills from Layden and Hein (2), with Coats at the service line. The difference as the frame progressed was the Camels passing to the setter improved and kept the offense in a solid rhythm.

A Thomas kill closed the deficit to two, 20-18, but the Pirates took the frame, 25-21.

Campbell was nearly flawless defensively in the second set, converting on 13-of-15 sideout opportunities. That placed the offense in a position to connect on 17 kills and compile a .333 attack pct.

Three Camels in Coats, Hein and Goren each registered a trio kills to help the Camels knot the match, 1-1, with a 25-14 victory.

Coming out of the intermission, Campbell grabbed the momentum as it rallied to a 15-11 advantage following a pair of Pirates' mistakes. ECU regrouped following a timeout with a 7-3 run.

The service of Wilson and Groen helped extend the Camels advantage to 23-20. The Pirates responded again with Bordiotti on the service line, aiding East Carolina to set point, 24-23.

Just when the Pirates seemed to have stolen the frame, Layden stepped up with a kill down the line to knot the frame at 24. Campbell did not trail from there and ultimately notched a 30-28 victory to seize the momentum.

With a 2-1 lead in the contest, both teams battled through the first 25 points with the Camels up, 13-12. A trio of errors forced an ECU timeout, 16-13, but the Camels continued with the pressure and clinched the match with a 25-19 win.

Campbell returns to action on Friday at 4:30 p.m. against Hampton at the Morehead State Eagle Challenge. The Camels face West Virginia on Saturday at 11 a.m. before battling the host Eagles at 7 p.m.