Looking back on volleyball team’s spring season


File Photo | The Daily Eastern News

The Eastern volleyball team celebrates after winning a match against Tennessee State on March 8, 2021 in Lantz Arena. The Panthers went 2-14 in a conference-only season in the spring.

Adam Tumino, Sports Editor

The Eastern volleyball team is scheduled to begin the regular season Friday and Saturday when it hosts the EIU Panther Invitational. 

The Panthers are coming off a shortened, conference-only season in the Spring 2021 semester in which they went 2-14. 

The two wins came just one match apart, with a 3-0 win against Tennessee State on March 8 and then a 3-1 win against Murray State on March 15, with a 3-1 loss to Murray State in between. 

Last season was the first for head coach Sara Thomas, who has brought in seven new players to fill out the roster this season. 

Outside hitters TaKenya Stafford, Anna Moster and Kaitlyn Flynn and middle blocker Nepheli Almpani will be the four freshmen on this year’s team. 

There are three community college transfers joining the Panthers as well. 

Outside hitter Annika Black comes from Lincoln Land Community College, where she led the team in kills, blocks and points last season. 

Setter Summerlyn Smith played at Parkland College, helping lead the team to the NJCAA Division II championship game twice. 

Defensive specialist/libero Lorraine Perez transferred from Iowa Western Community College as was a part of the team that won the NJCAA Division I Championship last season. 

The Panthers had just one senior last season in outside hitter Laurel Bailey, whose presence last season was substantial. 

Bailey was named Second Team All-OVC after ranking ninth in the OVC with 3.66 kills per set. She finished her career ranked 26th in school history with 1,041 digs. 

The next two highest scorers on the team were outside hitters Kylie Michael and Danielle Allen, who will both be back for the Panthers this season.


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