Eastern volleyball team loses trio of matches at Butler Invite


Jordan Boyer

Freshman Bailey Chandler serves the ball during a match against Iona College Sunday afternoon in Lantz Arena. The Panthers won the match 3-1.

Tom O'Connor, Volleyball Reporter

Failing to win a set at the tournament, the Eastern volleyball team dipped to fourth place in the standings, as the Panthers lost 0-3 to Illinois State, Butler and Auburn at the Butler tournament last weekend.

The Panthers did not lead at any point in their losses of 16-25, 15-25 and 23-25 to Illinois State, though Eastern evened the score twice in the final set. 

A 6-0 run for the Redbirds, assembled with a tool box of kills and service errors on Eastern’s part, stimulated the team to three unanswered points in set two.

Sophomore Laurel Bailey’s kill, set up by Bailey Chandler, diminished the Redbird’s lead to one at the closure of set three and, yet, in the subsequent sequence, Illinois State senior Ali Line responded with a kill to win the set, 25-23. 

Awarded the most valuable player of the tournament, Line ushered in three blocks and 14 points for the match. 

Eastern’s lone block, off an attack from Illinois State junior Monica Miller, paled in comparison to the eight for Illinois State who, by tournament’s end, defeated all three opposing teams and attained first place.

Eastern administered a steady dose of 11 kills through each set against Butler on Saturday and seized a 7-2 lead in the third set.

Once the Bulldogs tied the game at 23, both teams alternated points until Butler senior Bri Lilly’s kill all but ended the match. 

Two Panthers, Sophomore Laurel Bailey and Junior Maggie Runge, exported seven kills and one ace each. 

In its third match against Auburn, Eastern, for the first time this season, did not put up any blocks, motioning what was the Panthers’ fifth loss of 2018 (19-25, 17-25, 14-25).

After splitting the first two games of the tournament, Auburn received three career high performances, as freshmen Taylor Rowland and Mica Allison contributed 14 kills and 43 assists respectively, while junior Gwyn Jones sustained a .667 hitting percentage. 

A shortfall of 12 points in the third set would be too substantial to overcome, despite a combined four kills from senior Taylor Smith and freshman Danielle Allen.

The Tigers found a pair of 5-0 runs in the first two sets and a 10-2 run midway through set three.

A confluence of developments in the second, including Auburn freshman Taylor Rowland’s seven kills and Eastern’s .152 hitting percentage, inhibited a 4-0 Panthers run earlier that set.

Tom O’Connor can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]