Volleyball team starts 2-0 at top of conference

Sean Hastings, Assistant Sports Editor

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The Eastern volleyball team practices as Coach Kate Price looks on in Lantz Arena on September 9, 2014

File Photo
The Eastern volleyball team practices as Coach Kate Price looks on in Lantz Arena on September 9, 2014

Senior Stephanie Wallace breaking the all-time digs record for Eastern was a highlight of the weekend but like she said, winning is more important and that is exactly what the Panthers did on Friday and Saturday in Lantz Arena.

The Panthers have started the season 2-0 as well as Murray State and Belmont. Murray State is picked to repeat as Ohio Valley Conference champions.

Murray State straight set Southeast Missouri and University of Tennessee at Martin both on the road.

Belmont straight Eastern Kentucky 3-0 and took down Morehead State 3-2.

There was no better time for the Panthers to finally start winning again than the start of conference.

Coach Sam Wolinski always says that the team’s goal is to get ‘one percent better every hit.’

The Panthers just didn’t win this weekend; they dominated Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State straight setting both schools 3-0.

Wallace and Wolinski said that dominating Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State and starting 2-0 gives them a lot more confidence heading into Wednesday’s match with Southern Illinois- Edwardsville.

SIUE started the year 1-1 by defeating Jacksonville State 3-2 and losing to Tennessee Tech 2-3. The same schools that Eastern dominated.

Another positive thing to take away from the Panthers successful weekend is that they had five players have at least seven kills against Jacksonville State. The same was seen on Friday against Tennessee Tech as the Panthers used seven different players earn a kill.

Freshman Taylor Smith said having that many possible targets really helps the Panthers because the opponents never know where the ball is going to go, and it can be given to anyone at anytime.

Sophomore Allie Hueston led the Panthers over the weekend in kills earning 24 combined in the two matches.

Although the Panthers have tons of options on kills, Smith and senior Marah Bradbury are the ones usually dishing out the assists.
The two combined for 84 out of the 92 total assists over the weekend. But both girls also contributed to the kills in the game.

It’s early in the season, but the Panthers have had a really strong start and have a high confidence level heading into conference play.

They also gained a lot of energy being able to grab those two wins at home as they will not return to Lantz Arena until Oct. 16.

Eastern will play four matches on the road from Wednesday to Oct. 10.

 

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