Volleyball team set for final match, senior day

Ali Kissane, Staff Reporter

The Eastern volleyball team will play its final regular season match this Saturday in Lantz Arena against Tennessee State.

The Panthers are 11-4 in conference play, and after Saturday they will be heading into the Ohio Valley Conference tournament starting Thursday.

After a five-set match win against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Wednesday, the Panthers got the day off on Thursday.

Tennessee State is coming into Saturday’s match with an 8-6 conference record.

“Tennessee State has been having a good year,” coach Sam Wolinski said. “They just had a big win against Belmont and they have a really great outside, we’ve got to be able to contain her.”

The Tigers have been running seven people in their rotation and Wolinski said that they have not been changing much in their game.

“They’re all about their outside,” Wolinski said. “Chloe Watson has been doing a very good job for them, so we need to be able to contain her and then just make sure that we’re keeping the other people contained as well.”

Wolinski said the Panthers will need to take care of their serve and pass game, be consistent with their blocking and be prepared for the unexpected.

In addition to Saturday being the Panthers’ final regular season match, it is also Senior Day.

“Saturday is our final home match in which we get to honor our five seniors,” Wolinski said. “That’s really exciting to be able to honor and recognize them for their four years of hard work here for the EIU volleyball program and I think that’s really the biggest part of celebrating on Saturday for sure.”

The seniors of the Eastern volleyball team include outside hitters Chelsea Lee and Kayla Nesbitt, setters Abby Saalfrank and Marah Bradbury, and libero Stephanie Wallace.

“(The seniors) have been doing everything we’ve been asking them to do,” Wolinski said. “They’re all about the team being successful and wanting to pick up another win and they want to win an OVC tournament and we would like nothing more than that for them to finish up their careers here, to go through four years as a Division-1 athlete, that’s a great accomplishment.”

The Panthers have been practicing playing with momentum and confidence in order to grab some more wins, especially with the OVC tournament around the corner.

“SIUE really wanted to get that win, because they needed to go to the conference tournament, we already know where we’re at,” Wolinski said. “That win reassured us of where we’re seeding, basically we’re going to finish in second or third, so that’s great for us.”

The Panthers’ match against Tennessee State will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lantz Arena.


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