OVC volleyball teams continue early-season struggles


Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News Eastern junior Laurel Bailey receives a serve in the Panthers’ 3-1 loss to Fort Wayne on Sept. 14. Bailey had 12 digs and five kills in the match.

Adam Tumino, Volleyball Reporter

The OVC posted an overall record that was below .500 last season. So far this season, it is even further below .500.

After three weeks of play, the OVC volleyball teams have posted a combined record of 41-75, for a winning percentage of 35 percent, which is 11 points lower than in 2018.

Only three OVC teams are over .500 so far, and two of those teams, Murray State and Southern Illinois Edwardsville, are just one game above .500 at 5-4.

Morehead State (6-3) has been atop the standings all season after finishing in third place in the OVC last season, posting an overall record of 21-10.

Murray State, which finished in second place in the conference before winning the championship last season, has won five of its last six matches to climb into second place, including three in a row. The Racers are one of two OVC teams on a winning streak. Tennessee Tech has won its last two matches.

Southern Illinois Edwardsville was tied with Morehead State for first place last week, but now sit in third. The Cougars lost all three of their matches this past weekend by scores of 3-1.

Austin Peay is one of two OVC teams with only one win. The Governors are 1-9 so far after losing just 11 games total in 2017 and 2018.

Eastern is now the only winless team in the OVC despite being in the middle of the conference in many statistical categories.

The Panthers rank highest in service aces (1.4 per set) and blocks (1.9 per set), ranking fourth and seventh in the conference respectively. Eastern is tied for last in hitting percentage (.149), the only category they placed lower than ninth.

Maggie Runge, Bailey Chandler and Madison Cunningham are once again on individual leader boards.

Runge is the highest-ranking Panther in any category. She currently sits third in the OVC with a .325 hitting percentage. Runge was also nominated for OVC Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week honors after scoring 43.5 points in the Evansville Dunn Hospitality Tournament.

Chandler has moved up a spot in assists, now ranking sixth with an 8.46 assists per set averages.

Cunningham remained in seventh place in the OVC in digs, but raised her digs per set average to 4.09 after recording 57 digs over the weekend, including a career-high 37 against Evansville.

Conference play begins next week for OVC teams. Eastern will be at home to open its conference schedule, playing Murray State on Sept. 27 and Austin Peay on Sept. 28.


Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]