Eastern volleyball team drops 2nd-straight OVC matchup

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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Junior Maria Brown kills the ball against Belmont during the first conference home match Friday at Lantz Arena. The Panthers lost, 3-1.

Bryan Bund
Junior Maria Brown kills the ball against Belmont during the first conference home match Friday at Lantz Arena. The Panthers lost, 3-1.

The way the Eastern volleyball team came back and won in the second set after dropping the first set, it seemed like the struggling Panthers would get back on track.

The Panthers dominated the second set before heading into the break before the third set, winning 25-17.

Junior Maria Brown led the way in the second set with four kills.

The difference in the second set was Eastern blocking eight of Belmont’s kill attempts.

In the sets Eastern lost, it blocked four or less.

“We earned and we controlled points in our blocking (in the second set) and that was huge there,” coach Sam Wolinski said. “I think in the third set they brought it more with their serving so our serve-receive wasn’t as consistent as it needed to be. It was tougher to get that first-ball kill and get out of that rally.”

Eastern has lost back-to-back matches to start Ohio Valley Conference play.

The Panthers lost 3-1 to reigning OVC champ Belmont Friday in Lantz Arena. They opened their OVC season with a 3-0 loss to Southern Illinois Edwardsville.

The problem for the Panthers in the match against Belmont was struggling to earn digs as they had 42 compared to Belmont’s 59.

“It’s consistency,” Wolinski said. “We have to be better about digging balls so that we have more attempts at attacking the ball and earning some kills.”

Eastern had nine team blocks compared to Belmont’s five, but the Bruins still had four players in double-digit kills.

Arianna Person led the way for Belmont with 19 kills, with some seeming to be just too overpowering for the Eastern defense to handle.

Despite the loss, Wolinski said the Panthers played much better against the “best team in the OVC.”

Belmont had nearly its entire team back this season that won the OVC title last year, so the team chemistry was definitely there. And Belmont utilized redshirt junior Emma Price to dish out 49 assists to its 60 kills.

“They’re good,” Wolinski said. “That’s what they do; they earn their points.”

The Panthers will be back in action Tuesday at Indiana State for a non-conference matchup before getting back to OVC play Friday at Southeast Missouri.

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