Column: Volleyball team’s top returning players

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

With the lack of sports on campus this semester, we have been going back to last year and looking at the top performers from the various teams at Eastern.

For the volleyball team, the 2019 season was a bit of a disappointment in the standings. It finished 11th in the OVC and will be entering this season with a new head coach, Sara Thomas.

Coming off a down year and starting with a new coach, talented returners will be vitally important.

The Panthers’ two top scorers from last season, Maggie Runge and Katie Sommer, have since graduated. Madison Cunningham, who led the team in digs in 2019, will also not be returning. There are several players from last season’s team that should fill these roles and other roles as well.

 

Ireland Hieb

The 2019 season was outside hitter Ireland Hieb’s freshman campaign. She appeared in only 62 of the 106 sets the team played last season, missing the final month due to injury.

But in her limited time, Hieb managed to lead the team in kills per set (2.47) and finished fourth on the team in total kills (152).

Hieb recorded a season-high 17 kills on Aug. 31, 2019 against Drake, which was just her third career match.

 

Bailey Chandler

The Panthers primary setter last season was Bailey Chandler, who appeared in all but one set in her sophomore season in 2019.

Chandler ranked eighth in the OVC in assists per set, averaging 8.30. She recorded a career high 52 assists against Tennessee Tech on Oct. 18, which was one of two 50-assist performances for her on the season.

Chandler also ranked third on the team with 215 digs and recorded 10 double-doubles with assists and digs on the season.

 

Hannah Sieg

The Panther’s leading blocker last season was middle hitter Hannah Sieg.

In her sophomore season, Sieg led the team with 87 total blocks and  0.84 blocks per set, the latter ranking just outside the top-10 in the OVC.

She also finished sixth on the team in kills (76) and points (124.5).

 

Laurel Bailey

With both Maggie Runge and Katie Sommer graduating last year, the Panthers’ top returning scorer from 2019 is outside hitter Laurel Bailey.

After leading the team in both kills and points as a freshman and sophomore, Bailey finished third on the team in both categories as a junior last season, tallying 180 with a kills-per-set average of 1.75 and 223.5 points.

She also ranked second on the team in digs with 309, averaging 3 digs per set.

 

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