Volleyball team closes out home stand

Allie Hueston (left) and Katie Sommer (right) spot their teammates as Josie Winner (center back) prepares to serve the ball Friday at Lantz Arena.
Bryan Bund
Allie Hueston (left) and Katie Sommer (right) spot their teammates as Josie Winner (center back) prepares to serve the ball Friday at Lantz Arena.

With a seven-match home losing streak on the line, the Eastern volleyball team has an opportunity to turn its season around.

The Panthers hit the court again this weekend for two matches in Lantz Arena, and are searching for their first home win of the season.

Eastern has faced some tough competition on its home court this year, but now get a chance to face two sub .500 teams.

First up for the Panthers is a 7-12 Eastern Kentucky squad that comes into the match sitting 8th in the Ohio Valley Conference with a 2-4 record.

Despite a slow start in OVC play the Colonels rank in the top half of conference statistics in all but one category.

Eastern Kentucky’s toughest aspect of the game is kills, the team ranks second among conference opponents.

After the Panthers attempt to take down the Colonels, they will wrap up their four-match home stand against Morehead State on Saturday.

The Eagles bring a 3-3 conference record into the match along with a sub .500 season record of 7-12.

Coming off of a five-set loss to Tennessee State, the Panthers have an opportunity to jump on the Eagles while they are down.

Unlike Eastern Kentucky, Morehead State has struggled with kills and assists ranking in the bottom two in OVC categories.

The Eagles trail Eastern in the OVC for blocks this season with an average of 2.32 per set.

Regardless of the opponent, it will take a team effort from the Panthers to earn their first home win.

Although Eastern is set to take on slightly easier competition statistically, the Panthers will be without one if its leaders, sophomore Taylor Smith.

Smith went down with an ankle injury last weekend, and has been ruled out for this weekend.

Freshman Maggie Runge has continue to impress on defense posting the second best block total in the conference.

Runge is one of many defenders for the Panthers to lead the team to rank second in blocks among OVC opponents this season.

Eastern will also look toward freshman Lindsey Powers to continue her growth in the weekend sets.

Coming on as of late, Powers has posted 10 or more digs in six of her last seven matches.

With Powers and Runge attempting to anchor the Panthers’ defense, Eastern will try and find success in longer matches.

The Panthers have forced a fifth set in just three matches this season, falling in all three.

After Eastern the home matches over the weekend, the team returns to the road for two matches against Jacksonville State and Tennessee Tech.

Following the Tennessee Tech road match the Panthers will return home to face SIU Edwardsville on Wednesday, Oct 26.

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