The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Overtaking the top of C-USA

Mustangs sweep ECU, defeat C-USA leader Marshall

The SMU volleyball team is back on their feet after sweeping East Carolina University this past weekend, making a strong statement to the rest of the conference by defeating Conference-USA leading Marshall.

The Mustangs started off strong, scoring four straight points before East Carolina got on the board. However, ECU fought back and eventually overtook the Mustangs, 16-15. SMU refused to yield, and the two teams fought to 24-24, setting up a two-point tiebreaker. The Mustangs’ offensive firepower was too much though, and they claimed the first set.

The second set proved to be a continuation of the first, as neither side could gain the advantage and the lead was exchanged several times before the Mustangs took the first real lead, 12-7. The dam burst soon after, and the SMU offense rolled over the Pirates, eventually pushing the lead to 21-11. The SMU offense shredded ECU’s defense and easily captured the second set, 25-14.

If the second set was a continuation of the first, then the third set was a continuation of the second. The SMU hitters pounded the ball en-route to a 7-3 lead. The Pirates had no answer for SMU, and the Mustangs soon had the Pirates against the ropes, 20-10.

ECU did show some life at the end, bringing the score back to 23-16. It was too little too late though, as the Mustangs quickly regained their composure and finished the set to sweep the match (27-25, 25-14, 25-18).

“This win means we’re back,” said Lisa Seifert, head coach of the Mustangs. “I say we’re back because prior to last weekend, we were playing defense like we played defense tonight, but we also had an offense to match. That’s one of the things that we truly focused on; we had a great week of practice and focused on our attacking.”

The match against Marshall was as advertised, with two heavyweight offenses slugging it out to the finish. The teams posted matching kill totals, and their hitting percentages were nearly identical.

But Marshall committed too many errors, especially while serving, and the SMU defense proved too resilient for Marshall.

“The biggest factor in the match was our team’s defense and overall desire to win,” Seifert said.

The first set was the closest, as neither team could take the lead by more than two points for the entire set. But in the end, the Mustangs took the lead when it counted and took the first set from the Thundering Herd, 25-23.

However, Marshall was not about to fold as easily as ECU, and their offense lit up the scoreboard, scoring kills at a .310 average. SMU could not keep pace and Marshall stole back the momentum from the Mustangs, winning the second set, 25-19.

The break between the second and third set allowed the Mustangs to catch their breath and it proved exactly to be what they needed. SMU came out of the locker and took the Thundering Herd by complete surprise, running out to a 15-6 lead. Marshall never came within six points, and the Mustangs took the pivotal third set, 25-15.

The Mustangs could smell victory as the fourth set began and they were not denied. Though Marshall kept it close for a majority of the set, SMU pulled away down the stretch with a 7-5 run that gave them the final set by five points, 25-20.

As important as the victories over two C-USA opponents were for the Mustangs, SMU is not allowing the wins to get to their heads.

“The victory over Marshall was just a victory over a conference opponent,” Seifert said. “A conference championship would be ‘winning something’.”

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