Eastern picked to finish third in OVC

Sean Hastings, Assistant Sports Editor

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The Eastern volleyball team has been picked to finish third in the Ohio Valley Conference behind Belmont in second and Murray State in first.

Murray State is picked to repeat as the champions in 2015.

The Racers finished with a 26-6 overall record and a 14-2 record in conference play in 2014.

Eastern finished last season with a 15-16 overall and 8-8 in conference play. The Panthers were the sixth seed going into the OVC tournament in 2014.

The Panthers will take on Belmont Oct. 3 and will meet up with Murray State in a home and home on Oct. 9 and at Lantz Arena Oct. 24.

Eastern Kentucky is picked to finish right behind the Panthers in fourth place. The Panthers will travel to Eastern Kentucky Nov. 6 in their only matchup of the season.

The top team at the end of the season will be able to host the tournament for the top eight teams.

The Panthers made it to the second round of the tournament in 2014 but were knocked out by Belmont. They were able to get past Eastern Kentucky in the first round.

Three Panthers also got some recognition being named to the preseason All-OVC team as selected by OVC head volleyball coaches and sports information directors.

Seniors Marah Bradbury, Chelsea Lee, and Abby Saalfrank were all selected to the team.

Bradbury and Saalfrank both finished the season as All-OVC team members.

Bradbury is a setter, Lee is an outside hitter/middle blocker, and Saalfrank is an outside hitter/setter.

Saalfrank led the team in kills, kills-per-set, attacks and points in the 2014 season. She also ranked in the top ten in the OVC for Kills and points.

Lee set a single-season record in kills recording 28 in a key win over DePaul last season.

Bradbury finished second in the OVC for sets with 1,378 in her 2014 junior year season.

She was also setter of the week two times last season, (11/10/14 and 11/17/14).

Before the Panthers start their quest to hosting the OVC tournament and possibly winning it, the team will play four weekends of matches at a different invitational each weekend.

Their first conference match will be Friday, Sept. 25 against Tennessee Tech at Lantz arena. The Panthers will then take on Jacksonville State the following day at Lantz arena.

 

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]