Panthers search for turning point in weekend matches

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Panthers search for turning point in weekend matches

Maria Brown (13) and Allie Hueston (9) attempt a block from Belmont hitter Friday, Sept. 23 at Lantz Arena. Brown finished the match witha block and 11 digs in the 3-1 loss.

Maria Brown (13) and Allie Hueston (9) attempt a block from Belmont hitter Friday, Sept. 23 at Lantz Arena. Brown finished the match witha block and 11 digs in the 3-1 loss.

Bryan Bund

Maria Brown (13) and Allie Hueston (9) attempt a block from Belmont hitter Friday, Sept. 23 at Lantz Arena. Brown finished the match witha block and 11 digs in the 3-1 loss.

Bryan Bund

Bryan Bund

Maria Brown (13) and Allie Hueston (9) attempt a block from Belmont hitter Friday, Sept. 23 at Lantz Arena. Brown finished the match witha block and 11 digs in the 3-1 loss.

Maher Kawash, Volleyball Reporter

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It is a little past the midway point of the season for the Eastern volleyball team, and not much has gone its way.

But with a little more than half of the season in the books, a 3-14 record does not mean the end for the Panthers.

Eastern is just two games into its conference part of the schedule, and the team has an opportunity to turn its season around this weekend.

“The last few matches we have shown a fight and a resolve to earn points and be relentless on defense,” Eastern coach Sam Wolinski said. “The fight is crucial to our success as we head into this weekend.”

The Panthers begin the opportunity much like they have the rest of the season; on the road.

Eastern has played just five home games this season, three of which were played during the EIU Panther Classic.

The Panthers open the weekend Friday night at Southeast Missouri State, and the test will come against a Redhawk team that has also struggled this season.

Southeast Missouri has lost 15 consecutive games along with its first two OVC matches of the season.

Although the Redhawks have struggled this season, they still have history on their side as far as this matchup goes.

Southeast Missouri leads the all-time series between the two teams 31-17, and both matches last season went five sets with each team earning one win.

The first step for the Panthers will have to be controlling Krissa Gearring on the Redhawks’ offensive end.

Gearring leads the team with 258 total kills this season, averaging 4.37 per set.

Jade Mortimer offers a tough task for the Panthers on the defensive side of the ball, and has totaled 284 digs this season as well as 4.81 per set.

After Eastern takes on the one-win Redhawks, the team will travel to Tennessee-Martin Saturday for its second match of the weekend.

UT-Martin has had some struggles of its own to begin this season, and comes in with a 4-13 record overall.

Just like Eastern and Southeast Missouri, the Skyhawks have tipped off OVC play with an 0-2 record.

The Panthers had the upper hand in last year’s series against Tennessee-Martin, sweeping both matches of the season.

The test this year will be a little different though, and that begins with Jemima Idemudia and Ma Reigelsperger.

The dynamic Skyhawk duo have sparked their team’s offense with 293 combined kills.

On the other hand, Colleen Larson holds down the defense for UT-Martin.

Larson has totaled 190 digs on the year while averaging 3.39 per set.

Following the two weekend matches, the Panthers return home next weekend for two more against Austin Peay and Murray State.

“Our mindset is to do all we are able to in order to win,” Wolinski said.

Maher Kawash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]