Volleyball team returns to action on the road

Maher Kawash, Volleyball Reporter

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Abby Knight goes up for a block against SIUE Wednesday night at Lantz Arena. Eastern lost the match 3-0.

Bryan Bund
Abby Knight goes up for a block against SIUE Wednesday night at Lantz Arena. Eastern lost the match 3-0.

With back-to-back losses looming the minds of Eastern volleyball, the team now hits the road in an attempt to keep up in the Ohio Valley Conference.

The Panthers are continuing their search for another postseason tournament berth, but must crack the top eight of the conference to do so.

With that being said, Eastern is just two games back of that eighth spot heading into the weekend.

An opportunity has presented itself as well, as the team Eastern faces Saturday afternoon is the eighth place Tennessee State Tigers.

With a chance to jump in the standings, the Panthers prepare for the only match of the weekend and do so with the season beginning to wind down.

The match against Tennessee State is one of Eastern’s five final matches in the regular season.

With just five games remaining, the Panthers are last in the OVC with a 5-21 record overall and 2-9 against conference opponents.

Luckily for Eastern, the Tigers have not found much more success at 4-7 in the OVC and 13-14 overall.

Although Tennessee State may not have many more wins in the conference, the Tigers are still coming off a five-set upset win over Belmont.

While trying to contain Tennessee State’s winning momentum, the Panthers will also have to contain Chloe Watson on the Tigers’ offensive end.

Watson leads Tennessee Tech’s attack with 314 kills this season while averaging 3.14 per-set.

On the other hand, Cherlie Adorno-DeJesus will be trying to do the same to Eastern’s offense for the Tigers.

Adorno-DeJesus has led Tennessee State with 421 digs this season.

Despite the attack on both sides of the ball from the Tigers, Eastern still presents some tough matchups when it comes to conference play.

Redshirt freshman Gina Furlin has continued to surge in her first season back from injury, and her setting ability against conference opponents has shown that.

Furlin ranks 10th in the OVC with an average of 6.21 assists-per-set.

Junior Allie Hueston has also had to bounce back from injury this season, and has done so by ranking fourth in the conference in blocks-per-set with an average of 1.15.

Sophomore Taylor Smith was sidelined with an injury of her own over a week ago, but it was not enough to knock her off the Division I leaderboard in triple-doubles as she leads the nation with seven.

The Eastern freshman also continue to emerge as Lindsey Powers ranks 10th in OVC matches with 3.29 digs-per-set.

Freshman Maggie Runge adds to the Panthers defensive presence by leading the conference with a 1.28 blocks-per-set average.

Following this match against Tennessee State, Eastern returns home for its final two matches of the regular season on Nov. 4 and 5.

Saturday’s match against the Tigers gets underway in Nashville, Tenn., at 2 p.m.

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