Volleyball team beats Chicago State 3-2


Bryan Bund

Eastern redshirt-freshman Kylie Michael hits a ball in the Panthers 3-0 sweep of Southern Illinois Edwardsville at Lantz Arena on Sept. 19.

Tom O'Connor, Volleyball Reporter

As the Cougars growled, the Panthers roared back even louder.

Down 2-1 in the match to Chicago State, Eastern sophomore Laurel Bailey and redshirt freshman Kylie Michael showered the Cougars with a combined nine kills in the final two sets to take a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night.

Those two sets alone factored into their achievements on the evening, as Bailey notched 15 kills and 13 digs for her seventh such game this season, while Michael, for the first time in her career, completed a double-double, finalizing a match of 11 digs and 10 kills. 

Just as Bailey and Michael took turns advancing the offense, the match played out much the same way, with Chicago State seizing the first set, before the sets exchanged hands for the remainder of the game.

Closing the fifth set with a .389 hitting percentage, Bailey and Michael pitched in three kills respectively.

As Chicago State pushed its lead to 9-8 on sophomore Gabby Pearl’s kill in the fifth set, the Panthers, with the services of Michael and Bailey, sounded off on a 3-0 run to take the lead and, in due time, the game. The Panthers conceded only one error in the fifth set and pressured Chicago State into seven. 

While the fifth featured a reciprocal affair, Eastern darted out to a 21-12 lead in the fourth, acknowledging Lauren Klavitter’s service ace with a 4-0 run, which began on junior Katie Sommer’s kill, to attain its largest lead of the match. 

Chicago State did, however, stage a 3-0 run to make it 22-16, but their close proximity with the Panthers would not fester.

Bailey and Maggie Runge molded a run of their own, steering the Panthers offense to a nine-point win and tying the match at two. 

After barely edging Eastern in set three, Chicago State entered the set at a lethargic pace, surrendering points to Bailey, Michael and senior Abby Knight.

Senior Lauryn Dela Cruz of Chicago State, who is currently second in the Western Athletic Conference when it comes to kills per set, proved ineffective in the set, settling with one kill and a copious amount of attack errors.

The Panthers developed a plan at containing Dela Cruz after the first set, when the outside hitter had seven kills.

Both offenses were nearly impeccable in the first set, as the teams committed just eight attack errors between the two teams.

Tom O’Connor can be reached at 581-2102 or [email protected].