Eastern volleyball team has 1-2 road trip


Sean Hastings | The Daily Eastern News

Freshman Laurel Bailey attempts a kill in the Panthers’ loss to Green Bay Aug. 25. Eastern finished 1-2 over the weekend at the Denver Tournament.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

It was the Eastern volleyball team’s first time on the road this season and its three matches were very similar, but yielded completely different results.

The Panthers opened play with a 3-0 loss to Niagara, followed that up with a 3-0 win over UC Davis and finished off the weekend with a 3-0 loss to tournament-host Denver.

Last weekend at home, the Panthers moved their way into the win column and picked up a pair of wins.

The 3-0 losses to Niagara and Denver are deceiving, especially the match with Niagara. The Panthers lost 25-22, 25-21, 25-21. Eastern matched Niagara kill-for-kill.

The difference in the match was Niagara putting together late scoring runs that gave them just enough of a lead to secure set wins.

The Purple Eagles had an 18-15 lead, but took advantage of two attack errors by the Panthers to start their four-point swing.

Eastern had a five-point run early to tie the set at 7, but a short three-point run by Niagara late in the set turned a 22-21 lead into a 25-22 set win.

The Purple Eagles finished off the match with a service ace and an Eastern attack error.

The Panthers win against UC Davis was much of the same. Just as the Purple Eagles barely snuck by with wins over the Panthers, UC Davis was no easy task for Eastern.

The final two sets both ended with 26-24 scores.

In the second set, Eastern needed just one point to close off the set, but UC Davis made the Panthers work for it by scoring two-straight points to tie it at 24. A kill by senior Allie Hueston and a ball handling error by UC Davis gave Eastern the second win.

The Panthers won the first set 25-18.

Set three had the Panthers in the Aggies second-set position. With their backs against the wall trailing 24-22, Eastern called a timeout and exploded for four-straight points to seal the set and the match win.

The timeout must have derailed the Aggies’ focus two of the points were service aces and the other was an attack error. Freshman Laurel Bailey led the Panthers down the string of points with a kill and two aces.

Junior Taylor Smith and sophomore Maggie Runge recorded the block for the 25th point.

Eastern hung around with tournament-host Denver in its final match of the weekend, but Denver pulled away in each of the three matches resulting in 25-21, 25-22, 25-17 wins.

The Panthers dropped to 3-3 to start the season, but that is an improvement on last year’s start. Eastern started last year 0-6.

Denver was the toughest opponent for Eastern and it starts its season 6-0.

After the short trip away from home, Eastern will be back in Lantz Arena Friday and Saturday for the EIU Panther Classic.

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