Panthers path to tourney heats up

Red-shirt+senior+defensive+specialist+Kelsey+Brooke+and+freshman+outside+hitter+Maria+Brown+go+for+the+dig+during+a+match+against+Southeast+Missouri+on+Friday+in+Lantz+Arena.++The+Panthers+lost+to+the+Redhawks+3-2.++The+Panthers+beat+Tennessee-Martin+on+Saturday+3-0+to+improve+to+5-7+in+the+OVC+and+11-14+overall.
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Panthers path to tourney heats up

Red-shirt senior defensive specialist Kelsey Brooke and freshman outside hitter Maria Brown go for the dig during a match against Southeast Missouri on Friday in Lantz Arena.  The Panthers lost to the Redhawks 3-2.  The Panthers beat Tennessee-Martin on Saturday 3-0 to improve to 5-7 in the OVC and 11-14 overall.

Red-shirt senior defensive specialist Kelsey Brooke and freshman outside hitter Maria Brown go for the dig during a match against Southeast Missouri on Friday in Lantz Arena. The Panthers lost to the Redhawks 3-2. The Panthers beat Tennessee-Martin on Saturday 3-0 to improve to 5-7 in the OVC and 11-14 overall.

Jason Howell

Red-shirt senior defensive specialist Kelsey Brooke and freshman outside hitter Maria Brown go for the dig during a match against Southeast Missouri on Friday in Lantz Arena. The Panthers lost to the Redhawks 3-2. The Panthers beat Tennessee-Martin on Saturday 3-0 to improve to 5-7 in the OVC and 11-14 overall.

Jason Howell

Jason Howell

Red-shirt senior defensive specialist Kelsey Brooke and freshman outside hitter Maria Brown go for the dig during a match against Southeast Missouri on Friday in Lantz Arena. The Panthers lost to the Redhawks 3-2. The Panthers beat Tennessee-Martin on Saturday 3-0 to improve to 5-7 in the OVC and 11-14 overall.

Blake Nash, Staff Reporter

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Only four games remain on the Eastern volleyball team’s schedule and all of them will affect whether or not the Panthers’ season will continue at the Ohio Valley Conference tournament.

Eastern is currently eighth in the 12-team conference, with an overall record of 11-14 and 5-7 in OVC play, and if the standings remain the same the rest of the way, the Panthers will make the OVC tournament, since conference rules dictate that only the top eight teams are eligible to compete for the championship.

However, the Panthers lead over the bottom four teams in the conference is anything but comfortable.

Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, which the Panthers will play on the road next week, is exactly one game behind the Panthers in the standings, with an OVC record of 4-8. In fact three of the Panthers’ next four opponents are in the bottom four, including Southern, Morehead State and Tennessee State.

Eastern Kentucky (19-11, 9-3) remains the lone team left on the schedule with a winning record. That matchup will take place 6 p.m. Friday at Lantz Arena.

With a win or two this weekend, Eastern will be in good shape, heading into their final road trip. Closing out the regular season with three wins would ensure the Panthers a postseason trip.

However, two wins could still be enough, and could even move Eastern into a higher seed in the tournament, if Southeast Missouri and Tennessee Tech, two teams only one game ahead of the Panthers, were to struggle over the next two weeks.

Eastern also has two and three game leads over Tennessee State and Morehead State, respectively.

Racers sweep through weekend competition

Murray State’s weekend victories over Jacksonville State and Tennessee Tech enabled the Racers to capture the school’s best record at this point in the season.

The Racers have a record of 20-4 and 11-1 in OVC play, with their only conference loss, a sweep coming at the hands of Austin Peay. Since then the Racers have won nine in a row, heading into this weekend’s road trip at Tennessee-Martin and Southeast Missouri.

Junior outside hitter Taylor Olden was named the OVC offensive player of the week, while junior setter Sam Bedard was named the setter of the week.

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