Eckerd rallies to avoid upset
Chinn’s season-high 18 kills leads Tritons back from down 2-1
TAMPA, Fla. – Second-seeded Eckerd survived an opening-round scare against upset-minded No. 7 seed Christian Brothers to begin NCAA South Regional play on Thursday, surging late to prevail in five sets 3-2 (22-25, 26-24, 15-25, 25-20, 15-7).
With their backs against the wall, the Tritons showed resiliency to come back in the fourth game with a 9-0 run to force a final set, where Eckerd dominated with 10 kills in 16 swings (.562).
Senior right-side hitter Ariana Chinn tallied a season-high 18 kills on .441 hitting and junior middle blocker Olivia Fraser was a difference-maker in the latter stages as she finished with 11 kills. Lindsay Biggs added 14 and Alex Laton was also in double-digits with 10 kills.
Christian Brothers ended its season with a 24-11 record.
The Bucs couldn't be stopped in the early going, ripping 13 kills for a .478 attack percentage in the first set.
EC was leading the second frame 22-20 before a 3-0 run by the Bucs put the Tritons behind in a critical juncture. But a timeout called by Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year Courtney Draper set up a 4-1 run to knot the match at a set apiece.
Chinn started the mini-run with back-to-back kills and Laton had a kill and a block as EC won the second set 26-24.
With momentum on their side, the Tritons labored through a sluggish third set, plagued with an uncharacteristic eight errors versus nine kills. The .028 hitting percentage helped the Bucs pull away and lead 2-1.
The Tritons' fortunes finally started to change in the middle of the fourth set as Eckerd reeled off a 6-0 run, capped by a service ace from Kaleigh Humphrey. Fraser had four kills on five attempts in the fourth frame as the Tritons hit at a .316 clip.
The fifth set was do-or-die and Eckerd came out on the mission, leading 9-4 after a kill by Fraser.
After a service error interrupted the streak, the offense again went through Fraser with immediate dividends for consecutive kills. She also was credited with a pair of blocks in the last set, an assisted rejection that had EC up by eight, and a solo stuff that clinched the match.
The Tritons held the Bucs to a .000 hitting rate in the fifth set.