Panthers return home with winning momentum

Ali Kissane, Staff Reporter

The Eastern volleyball team returns home to Lantz Arena this weekend where they have not lost in Ohio Valley Conference play this season.

The Panthers are 2-0 when playing in Lantz Arena and are excited to be back on their own court.

They will start the weekend off by taking on the University of Tennessee-Martin on Friday and finish the weekend off by taking on Southeast Missouri.

“It’s nice to not have to worry about getting on the road and traveling again,” Eastern coach Sam Wolinski said. “They can take care of what they need to take care of in the classroom and then we can get on the court.”

After dropping a three-set match last weekend against Murray State, the Panthers got right back to playing their game and won against Austin Peay.

“Anytime you get a loss you obviously want to get another win in conference,” Wolinski said. “We wanted to make sure that we’re 4-2 and finishing still in that top half of conference, so I think that’s definitely the motivation right there.”

Eastern made adjustments to their lineup as senior setter, Abby Saalfrank will continue to sit out.

One of the Panthers’ key players so far in conference play has been senior outside hitter/middle back, Chelsea Lee.

“This weekend Chelsea Lee was actually our most consistent attacker,” Wolinski said. “Even against Murray she led us in kills, she did a great job again against Austin Peay.”

Sophomore middle hitters, Allie Houston and Josie Winner also contributed to getting the win against Austin Peay.

UT Martin and SEMO are both coming to Lantz Arena with 3-3 records and the Panthers will have the opportunity to get a couple more key wins in OVC play.

“We want to make sure we’re 6-2 and staying in that top three in the conference,” Wolinski said. “Great part is we’re home for the next two weekends and I think that helps us a lot as well in this point of the season.”

Tennessee-Martin has a new head coach and so far they have been playing well according to Wolinski.

“It’s conference, it’s coming ready to play,” Wolinski said. “No match is a given, you have to come ready, bring your A-game and we just want to continue where we left off from Austin Peay heading into this weekend.”

The Panthers are in the top of the conference right now and grabbing two wins will only help their chances to keep playing into late November.

Wolinski said they would accomplish this by not doing anything fancy on the court and just being consistent.

The match against Tennessee-Martin will start at 7 p.m. Friday, and Saturday’s match with SEMO is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start.


Ali Kissane can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]