Eastern volleyball tries to regroup against Racers, Governors

Red-shirt+freshman+middle+hitter+Josie+Winner+goes+up+for+the+spike+in+a+game+against+Belmont++on+Saturday+at+Lantz+Arena.++The+Panthers+beat+the+Bruins+3-2.++Winner+had+11+kills+and+helped+the+Panthers+score+12+points+during+the+match.
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Eastern volleyball tries to regroup against Racers, Governors

Red-shirt freshman middle hitter Josie Winner goes up for the spike in a game against Belmont  on Saturday at Lantz Arena.  The Panthers beat the Bruins 3-2.  Winner had 11 kills and helped the Panthers score 12 points during the match.

Red-shirt freshman middle hitter Josie Winner goes up for the spike in a game against Belmont on Saturday at Lantz Arena. The Panthers beat the Bruins 3-2. Winner had 11 kills and helped the Panthers score 12 points during the match.

Jason Howell

Red-shirt freshman middle hitter Josie Winner goes up for the spike in a game against Belmont on Saturday at Lantz Arena. The Panthers beat the Bruins 3-2. Winner had 11 kills and helped the Panthers score 12 points during the match.

Jason Howell

Jason Howell

Red-shirt freshman middle hitter Josie Winner goes up for the spike in a game against Belmont on Saturday at Lantz Arena. The Panthers beat the Bruins 3-2. Winner had 11 kills and helped the Panthers score 12 points during the match.

Blake Nash, Staff Reporter

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Refocusing and regrouping – that has been the main goal this week for the Eastern volleyball team, as it gets set to host Murray State and Austin Peay this weekend to end the Panthers’ first home stand of the season.

The Panthers are coming off a five-set loss to Belmont and will first face Murray State at 7 p.m. Friday in Lantz Arena. The Racers come in with a 12-4 overall record and have a 3-1 record in Ohio Valley Conference play and are currently second in the conference.

Murray State’s outside hitter, Scottie Ingram, was named this week’s OVC offensive player of the week, following a 24-kill, 17-dig performance against Eastern Kentucky.

The Panthers have lost three of their first four OVC games, and have also lost four out of five games, including two five-set OVC games.

However, Eastern setter Marah Bradbury said that after regrouping this week, the Panthers are still confident they can turn the season around and become contenders.

“We’ve all talked as a team and about our own personal goals and team goals, which I think helps us focus on what we want to do and how we want to get better,” Bradbury said. “We can still pick it up and be contenders still.”

The Panthers currently rank in the OVC’s top five list in all offensive categories, including kills. They are currently averaging 13.67 kills-per-set in 18 sets, during the OVC season.

Red-shirt freshman Josie Winner has contributed 90 kills on the season, and said that the Panthers have had a solid week of practice, following last weekend’s home debut.

“Practices have gone pretty well this week,” Winner said.  “Coach Price has had us just focusing on ourselves and getting us to play like we know we can.”

The Panthers have primarily focused on Murray State so far, but are aware of the Austin Peay matchup that begins at 2 p.m. Saturday in Lantz Arena.

“We’ve mainly focused on Murray State and how to set up our defense, as well as how we can score against them,” Bradbury said. “However, we’re still preparing for both of them because we play both of them back-to-back days this week.”

The Governors are one of the two unbeaten teams left in the OVC, other than Jacksonville State and have posted one of the biggest wins in school history last week, beating Tennessee, of the SEC, in three sets, on the Volunteers’ home court.

Hoffman Estates native Jada Stotts became one of the program’s top players, following a win over Morehead State last week. The 5-foot-11 senior became just the seventh player in program history to record 1,000 kills and digs in a career for Austin Peay.

“It’s a great accomplishment, I’m glad I’ve been able to put my mark on this program in some way, but I’m not done,” Stotts said. “I’m really excited for what the future holds, not only myself, but for my team.”

She is currently averaging 4.53 kills-per-set and a .249 attack percentage in OVC play.

Blake Nash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]