Panthers finish 2-1 at DePaul Invitational

Senior+setter+Marah+Bradbury+goes+up+for+a+block+with+sophomore+middle+hitter+Allie+Hueston+during+the+Panthers%27+3-1+loss+to+Indiana+State+on+Sept.+1+in+Lantz+Arena.+Hueston+received+the+All-Tourney+Honor+at+the+DePaul+Blue+Demon+Invitational+over+the+weekend.
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Panthers finish 2-1 at DePaul Invitational

Senior setter Marah Bradbury goes up for a block with sophomore middle hitter Allie Hueston during the Panthers' 3-1 loss to Indiana State on Sept. 1 in Lantz Arena. Hueston received the All-Tourney Honor at the DePaul Blue Demon Invitational over the weekend.

Senior setter Marah Bradbury goes up for a block with sophomore middle hitter Allie Hueston during the Panthers' 3-1 loss to Indiana State on Sept. 1 in Lantz Arena. Hueston received the All-Tourney Honor at the DePaul Blue Demon Invitational over the weekend.

Jason Howell

Senior setter Marah Bradbury goes up for a block with sophomore middle hitter Allie Hueston during the Panthers' 3-1 loss to Indiana State on Sept. 1 in Lantz Arena. Hueston received the All-Tourney Honor at the DePaul Blue Demon Invitational over the weekend.

Jason Howell

Jason Howell

Senior setter Marah Bradbury goes up for a block with sophomore middle hitter Allie Hueston during the Panthers' 3-1 loss to Indiana State on Sept. 1 in Lantz Arena. Hueston received the All-Tourney Honor at the DePaul Blue Demon Invitational over the weekend.

Sean Hastings, Assistant Sports Editor

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The Eastern volleyball team finished 2-1 at the DePaul Invitational over the weekend in Chicago.

The Panthers had a strong start to the weekend by taking down Evansville in three straight sets (25-13, 25-14, 25-17).

Eastern coach Sam Wolinski said the team being able to kill the ball the way did was a big reason why they were able to pull out the win.

Eastern had a total of 39 kills in the match. Senior Chelsea Lee had nine, senior Abby Saalfrank had eight, sophomore Allie Hueston had nine, senior Marah Bradbury had four, senior Kayla Nesbitt had five and freshman Abby Knight added four.

Bradbury also added 29 assists.

Having that many targets to kill is a big problem for the opposing team.

“Anytime you need to worry about five offensive threats it makes it hard for the defense to pick up who to defend,” Wolinski said.

The wins that the Panthers had gave them extra confidence heading into Saturday’s matches against Toledo and DePaul.

Toledo was a much bigger test for the Panthers as the Panthers were able to win two straight in sets four and five to get the win (25-12, 21-25, 21-25, 25-18, 15-5).

Once again the Panthers kill game helped them get the win.

Wolinski said Lee and Hueston were doing a great job of earning kills for them. Both girls had 16 kills in the five sets.

Bradbury had 47 assists, and fellow senior Stephanie Wallace led all players on both sides with 16 digs.

“We fought back through adversity of sets two and three to come back and win in sets four and five,” Wolinski said. “This was a total team effort both on the court and off the court.”

Wolinski said they got back to playing their style of volleyball and controlling the tempo of the game.

“Our serving was much better so we could win some easy points,” Wolinski said. “Our block started earning us some points too.”

The Panthers were almost able to pull off the weekend sweep but lost to DePaul in a very close match as the last three matches were decided by two points (21-25, 26-24, 24-26, 24-26).

Eastern had a 24-22 lead in the third set but DePaul scored the last four points of the set to take a 2-1 lead.

The Panthers almost came back in the fourth set after being down 23-19. They were able to get the set tied at 24-26 but DePaul would score the final two points to secure the win.

Even though the Panthers lost to DePaul in such a close match, Wolinski believes it had a positive effect on the team.

“I feel we got better overall on the weekend playing against a tough DePaul team in the end,” she said. “The entire team did a great job all weekend both on the court and on the bench.”

Hueston earned All-Tourney honors for her play over the weekend.

The Panthers will be back in action Friday at the Dayton Flyer Invitational in Dayton, Ohio.

Eastern is now 5-2 on the season.

 

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