Eastern volleyball beats Chicago State in 5 sets

Eastern+redshirt+sophomore+Kylie+Michael+makes+a+pass+in+front+of+libero+Sarah+Paluch+against+Chicago+State+Monday+in+Lantz+Arena.+Michael+had+a+career-high+15+kills+in+the+match%2C+which+Eastern+won+3-2.
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Eastern volleyball beats Chicago State in 5 sets

Eastern redshirt sophomore Kylie Michael makes a pass in front of libero Sarah Paluch against Chicago State Monday in Lantz Arena. Michael had a career-high 15 kills in the match, which Eastern won 3-2.

Eastern redshirt sophomore Kylie Michael makes a pass in front of libero Sarah Paluch against Chicago State Monday in Lantz Arena. Michael had a career-high 15 kills in the match, which Eastern won 3-2.

Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern redshirt sophomore Kylie Michael makes a pass in front of libero Sarah Paluch against Chicago State Monday in Lantz Arena. Michael had a career-high 15 kills in the match, which Eastern won 3-2.

Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News

Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern redshirt sophomore Kylie Michael makes a pass in front of libero Sarah Paluch against Chicago State Monday in Lantz Arena. Michael had a career-high 15 kills in the match, which Eastern won 3-2.

Adam Tumino, Volleyball Reporter

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The Eastern volleyball team recorded its highest hitting percentage of the season on Monday night against Chicago State, hitting .262 in a five-set win over the Cougars in Lantz Arena.

The Panthers’ previous season high in hitting percentage came on Nov. 9 against Tennessee State.

The victory was the third on the season for Eastern, two of which have come against non-conference opponents like Chicago State. Two conference games remain for the Panthers before the end of the season.

Eastern head coach Julie Allen said she is happy with the team’s performances lately.

“It’s been huge,” Allen said. “It not only starts with us serving aggressively, we’re starting to pass good balls, our setter Bailey Chandler has done a good job distributing balls and making it very hard on the opponents.”

Chandler recorded 50 assists in the match, her second most this season. Two of the players she set up, Morgan Matusik and Kylie Michael, recorded career-highs in kills with 18 and 15 respectively. Matusik also had a career-high 20.5 points.

Matusik had set a season high in the previous match against Tennessee State.

“They’ve been really fun,” Matusik said of the last two matches. “It’s been nice to come together as a team, and especially to get a win tonight.”

Allen said that the team’s approach to hitting was exemplified by Matusik’s performance, as well as others.

“Morgan blocked one time, and the next time we set her the ball and she crushed it down on them,” Allen said. “That was exciting to see.”

Michael credited the recent scoring success to a strong defense. The Panthers held Chicago State to a hitting percentage of .109, the lowest for an Eastern opponent this season.

“That gives Bailey a good chance to set whoever she wants and even out the offense,” Michael said.

Moving ahead to the final two matches of the season, Allen said she hopes the team can continue to grow and fight.

“I just hope this keep building on the confidence and showing that all that hard work is starting to pay off,” Allen said. “It’s been fun to watch the growth keep going, especially in a season that isn’t what we wrote up.”

The final two matches are against eighth-place Tennessee-Martin and second-place Southeast Missouri, two teams the Panthers lost to in straight sets in October.

 

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