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Volleyball team drops both 5-set matches

Tyler McCluskey and Bryan Bund

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Junior outside hitter Maria Brown kills the ball past an Eastern Kentucky opponent during the Panthers' 3-2 loss Friday in Lantz Arena. Brown had a season high 20 kills against the Colonels.

Bryan Bund
Junior outside hitter Maria Brown kills the ball past an Eastern Kentucky opponent during the Panthers’ 3-2 loss Friday in Lantz Arena. Brown had a season high 20 kills against the Colonels.

Eastern was just one set win away from winning its first home match of the season, but a three-set comeback by Morehead State handed Eastern its second loss of the weekend.

The Panthers won the first two sets. In the first set, the Panthers came away victorious with extra points coming after both teams rallied back and forth, as the score was tied 17 times and saw eight lead changes.

The Panthers walked away with a 29-27 win.

Redshirt junior middle hitter Josie Winner led the team with seven kills in the first set.

In the second set, the Panthers made a run in the middle of the match, scoring five straight on the Eagles and never trailed during the match.

In the third set, the Eagles ended up defeating the Panthers the next three sets 25-19, 25-15, 15-10.

Coach Sam Wolinski said that with the first two sets, the team did a good job and kept to the game plan.

“We executed at a high level, earning a lot of points, and we were efficient in our side-out percentage but we were also point-scoring on our serve,” she said.

Morehead State’s head coach Jaime Gordon said after the first two sets he told the team to pick up on the things they could control and the team needed to be more aggressive.

“They didn’t give us many free points off of their swings. They were very low-error tonight,” Gordon said. “We needed to go out and earn our points; we couldn’t rely on them giving us anything, and we needed to more of an aggressor, and I thought we did that.”

Gordon said the Panthers were in a defensive rhythm and tried to adjust to the style by “tipping.”

“We felt that there were a couple openings on some tips so we tried to throw some off-speed stuff,” Gordon said. “We were able to score and force them to make some shifts, which ultimately helped with some of the things that we did with our middles and opening up the back. (We) kind of made an adjustment and were able to work the perimeter a little better.”

The Panthers played comeback Friday night against Eastern Kentucky but were unable to close it out and lost 3-2.

Junior Maria Brown did not count the Panthers out though, even when they trailed 2-0.

“It’s easy to hang your head when you are down 0-2, but we picked each other up and tried to stay positive,” she said.

Being down 6-2 early on in the third set, Eastern won the next 11 out of 15 points to get a lead of 13-10. The Panthers eventually won the set 25-23 to get some momentum heading into the fourth set.

Eastern did not let off as it won the fourth set 25-17. Wolinski said the Panthers know what they are capable of doing, and that’s just being resilient.

“We just got to have the tenacity going after the ball,” Wolinski said. “And after the intermission, I thought that we did that in a lot of aspects. Getting digs was huge for us.”

The Panthers lost the fifth set 15-11.

Eastern almost won its first match at home this season but ran out of gas at the end and was not able to close it out.

Maria Brown had a strong match, leading the team in kills with 20 and contributing 15 digs.

“(Friday) was one of my better hitting days,” Brown said. “We have been working on hitting spots in practice. Gina (Furlin) did a really good job of handling the ball to our hitters, and that helped a lot.”

Gina Furlin was another key player in the match, leading the team in assists with 41.

The Panthers dropped their record to 4-17 overall and 1-6 in OVC play.

Tyler McCluskey and Bryan Bund can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]

About the Contributor
Bryan Bund, Sports Photographer

Hey, I'm Bryan Bund an I am a sports photographer for the DEN. I am a junior and have been shooting Eastern sports since my sophomore year. I have shot...

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Volleyball team drops both 5-set matches