Panthers playing at home this weekend


Bryan Bund

Junior Taylor Smith kills the ball in the Panthers’ win over Tennessee State Sept. 30 in Lantz Arena. Eastern has two home matches this weekend.

Kaitlin Cordes, Volleyball Reporter

The Eastern volleyball team will face the likes of Southeast Missouri and Tennessee-Martin this weekend as each team travels to Charleston for the Panthers’ fifth and sixth conference matches.

Eastern is coming off its first conference win against Tennessee State last Saturday when the Panthers took the match in four sets. Eastern enters this weekend’s games at 1-3 in the conference and 7-9 overall.

First up is Friday’s match against Southeast Missouri. The Redhawks are currently 1-3 in the conference with a 6-12 overall record. Southeast Missouri lost to Ohio Valley Conference foes Tennessee-Martin, Austin Peay and Murray State with their only conference win coming over Jacksonville State.

In their most recent match, the Redhawks won just one set when they hosted Murray State last Saturday (29-27, 17-25, 22-25, 20-25). Southeast Missouri’s middle Nzingha Clarke dominated the team statistics with a career-best 11 blocks, 10 assists and 14 kills.

Clarke has continued to be a team leader throughout the season. She has earned 143 total kills and leads the team in blocks per set, averaging at least on block per set.

Another Southeast Missouri standout is outside hitter Krissa Gearring. Gearring had 11 kills and a season high 21 digs in the Murray State match for her sixth double-double of the season. Gearring holds the team-high 188 kills on the season and even out-digs the team’s libero with 157 digs on the year.

The Redhawks won the last meeting with the Panthers in three sets.

The Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks will enter Saturday’s match at 3-1 in the conference. The Skyhawks have defeated Southeast Missouri, Tennessee State and Murray State with their only conference loss delivered by Austin Peay.

The Skyhawks proved they have a strong front row as middle Jemima Idemudia, outside hitter Macy Reigelsperger and outside hitter Megan Fair each reached double digits in kills at 10, 10 and 12, respectively. Idemudia also lead the team in blocks with one solo block and three block assists.

Fair leads the team in kills on the season with 181 followed closely by Idemudia’s 180. Idemudia is Tennessee-Martin’s top blocker with 11 solo blocks and 65 block assists.

Tennessee-Martin has yet to play an away conference match. In non-conference away matches, the Skyhawks sit at 1-3. Tennessee-Martin won its last meeting with Eastern on the Panthers’ home court. However, Eastern took the Skyhawks to five sets, barely losing at 21-25, 25-23, 22-25, 28-26, 15-17.

Friday’s match against Southeast Missouri is at 7 p.m., and Saturday’s matchup with Tennessee-Martin begins at 2 p.m. in Lantz Arena. These matches will be Eastern’s last home competitions until Oct. 20 when the Panthers host Tennessee Tech.

Kaitlin Cordes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]