Volleyball team rings in daily double-doubles

Junior+outside+hitter+Chelsea+Lee+prepares+to+spike+the+ball+during+a+game+against+Murray+State+on+Friday+in+Lantz+Arena.++The+Panthers+lost+to+the+Racers+3-1.++Lee+had+18+kills+and+helped+the+Panthers+score+20+points+in+the+match.
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Volleyball team rings in daily double-doubles

Junior outside hitter Chelsea Lee prepares to spike the ball during a game against Murray State on Friday in Lantz Arena.  The Panthers lost to the Racers 3-1.  Lee had 18 kills and helped the Panthers score 20 points in the match.

Junior outside hitter Chelsea Lee prepares to spike the ball during a game against Murray State on Friday in Lantz Arena. The Panthers lost to the Racers 3-1. Lee had 18 kills and helped the Panthers score 20 points in the match.

Jason Howell

Junior outside hitter Chelsea Lee prepares to spike the ball during a game against Murray State on Friday in Lantz Arena. The Panthers lost to the Racers 3-1. Lee had 18 kills and helped the Panthers score 20 points in the match.

Jason Howell

Jason Howell

Junior outside hitter Chelsea Lee prepares to spike the ball during a game against Murray State on Friday in Lantz Arena. The Panthers lost to the Racers 3-1. Lee had 18 kills and helped the Panthers score 20 points in the match.

Blake Nash, Staff Reporter

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The Eastern volleyball team finished its recent home stand with a 2-2 record. Despite those two losses, the Panthers had three double-doubles, including two by junior Abby Saalfrank and one by freshman Maria Brown.

Saalfrank recorded her second double-double of the recent home stand, by securing 12 kills and 10 digs, in a loss to the Murray State Racers last Friday. This was her tenth double-double of the season out of nineteen games this season.

“Those statistics wouldn’t come at all if it wasn’t for the team, especially without Marah and our defense, the other hitters it wouldn’t be possible for me to accomplish any of that,” Saalfrank said.

Her first double-double of the home stand took place two weeks ago against the Belmont Bruins, when she tallied 18 kills and 14 digs. The Panthers wound up losing that match 3-2, ending their home court winning streak that dated back to 2012.

Saalfrank is currently averaging 3.15 kills-per-set, and 2.51 digs-per-set.

Brown had an eventful first home stand, for the Panthers moving from front row to back row, before the last game, and garnering her first collegiate Saturday against Austin Peay. “It’s harder to get the double-double when you play front row, because you only get so many digs,” Brown said.

“It felt really great just to get that double-double in my first game at that position.”

For that game, Brown totaled 16 kills and 21 digs, while also recording 14 kills and two blocks in a loss to Murray State on Friday. She is currently averaging 2.17 kills-per-set and 2.39 points-per-set this season

Gamecocks, Racers suffer first OVC losses

The dream of an unbeaten Ohio Valley Conference volleyball season is over for the Jacksonville State Gamecocks and the Austin Peay Governors.

Austin Peay was the first team to fall, losing two five-set matches in the Land of Lincoln to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and Eastern. On Friday against Edwardsville, the Governors came back from an early 1-0 set deficit to take the next two sets, but lost the next two and the match 3-2.

The bad luck continued for the Governors on Saturday, when they suffered a tough loss to the Panthers. Eastern took the first two sets leading up to halftime, but attackers Jada Stotts and Sammie Ebright, led the comeback with a combined 40 kills and 26 digs to tie the match, and send the game into a final overtime set, which they would later lose.

Jacksonville State was the last of the unbeatens to lose over the weekend, losing to the upstart Belmont Bruins, who have won five in a row, after dropping their OVC opener to Eastern Kentucky.

Freshman Allyson Zuhlke had a big day with a team-high 15 kills on a .393 attack percentage in the back-and-forth affair that saw 29 ties and 24 lead changes.

OVC Players of the Week

Murray State’s Scottie Ingram picked up her second consecutive OVC offensive player of the week award, after recording a pair of double-doubles last weekend.

Against the Panthers, Ingram tallied 20 kills and 12 digs in the four-set victory for the Racers. She also secured a kill-dig double-double, Saturday, against Edwardsville, recording 17 kills and 14 digs in another four-set victory.

The state of Kentucky also had another player of the week, in Eastern Kentucky’s Dena Ott, who earned defensive player of the week.

Ott led all players with 30 digs in a four set victory over Southeast Missouri. She followed that up with a match-high 28 digs in the 3-0 victory over UT Martin. For the week, she averaged 8.29 digs per set.

Belmont’s Emma Price earned setter of the week, recording a double-double with 37 assists and 10 digs against Tennessee Tech on Friday. She dished out career-best 69 assists and added a pair of kills and two blocks the next day versus Jacksonville State.

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