Volleyball team loses on road

Maher Kawash, Volleyball Reporter


A slow start for the Eastern volleyball team proved to be the difference in a midweek affair against Valparaiso.

The Panthers dropped their third straight game as Valparaiso won the first two sets rather easily 25-13 and 25-17.

Eastern showed some life in the third set, offering its best play of the match in a 25-18 victory.

The victory even came after a back-and-forth affair between the two teams, until Eastern began to pull away after taking a 13-11 lead on the kill by Katie Sommer.

An 8-1 run in that set made the difference for Eastern to build some momentum, but unfortunately it was short lived.

Valparaiso’s attack was just too much to handle, as Katherine Carlson led the way for the Crusaders with 14 kills and 12 digs.

Her performance played a key role in Valparaiso taking the fourth and final set 25-18 to win the match 3-1.

That set started close but the Crusaders took control a little before midway through the match with a 13-4 run proving to be the difference.

Taylor Smith countered Carlson for the Panthers as she notched 17 digs and 21 assists while Maria Brown made a difference too, with 13 kills in the match.

Valparaiso also received some solid performances from Ally Cummings, as she finished with 15 kills and 10 digs.

The Crusaders had two players finish with more than 20 digs as Allison Ketcham earned 29 and Rylee Cookerly provided 22.

Gina Furlin factored in for the Panthers with 17 assists while Laurel Bailey finished with 13 kills and 14 digs.

The loss drops Eastern to 4-6 on the year ahead as they now turn focus to the weekend tournament at Indiana State in which they will play two games.

The Panthers open tournament play with a Saturday morning match against Cal State Fullerton followed by a nightcap against the tournament host Indiana State.

It will be the Panthers final non-conference games before heading into Ohio Valley Conference play.

This is also marks Eastern’s longest losing streak of the season thus far as they have been more up and down than anything.

The difference between now and last season is the Panthers have the depth to make it out of this funk with the ability to rotate players in and out often.

It does not help that this match is the first of five straight on the road, but Eastern returns home for its third conference game Sep. 27 against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

But until then the Panthers return home for a couple days before heading back to Terre Haute for a match at 10 a.m. Saturday.

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