Eastern volleyball team headed to OVC tournament

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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The Eastern volleyball team’s regular season is over and it is time for the Ohio Valley Conference tournament in Murray, Ky. where the Panthers will play as the No. 3 seed.

The Panthers finished the regular season with an 11-5 record and will be taking on No. 6 Tennessee Tech who finished with a 7-9 record.

Eastern lost its final game of the regular season to Tennessee State, but everyone is excited to play in the OVC tournament coach, Sam Wolinski said.

For the last couple weeks, the Panthers knew they had a place in the tournament and it was all about marinating their seed.

“Obviously maintaining our seed and staying in that top two or three position going into the tournament was big for us,” Wolinski said. “Just because of who we thought we could be playing and we’re happy with our matchup against Tennessee Tech.”

The Panthers have recently been running a 5-1 offense and have gotten used to that, but they are going to get back to their 6-2 that they ran earlier in the season Wolinski said.

As of late, freshman Taylor Smith has been the main setter for Eastern offense and bringing back the 6-2 can get senior Marah Bradbury back involved with that.

“If we are full go, that’s the plan,” Wolinski said. “That’s where we’ve been really successful and we’d like to stay in that three-hitter phase the entire time and have Taylor (Smith) be able to swing for us as well.”

Murray State earned the top seed after only losing one conference game all year, which came from Eastern.

“We’re definitely excited especially because we have beaten Murray State once and they’re ranked first right now,” senior Stephanie Wallace said. “It is a tough gym to play in, it’s really different from our gym, it’s weird, but we’re definitely excited to be in the tournament.”

The Panthers did win a majority of the conference games and their 11-5 record proves that. Wallace said that could give them an advantage but also a disadvantage.

The only teams to beat Eastern this year were Belmont, Murray State, Southeast Missouri , Morehead State and Tennessee State.

“I think an advantage and a disadvantage is that we have beaten a lot of the teams in the conference tournament already so that can be an advantage because hopefully we can just do what we did then and do it again,” Wallace said. “But also the disadvantage is that every team has seen how we play and we’ve seen how they play so we can make adjustments depending on what we did the first time we played them.”

 

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