Panthers to play series against Sycamores

Eastern+setter+Summer+Smith+%288%29+sets+the+ball+up+for+middle+blocker+Emily+WIlcox+in+a+match+against+Northern+Illinois+Sept.+2+in+Lantz+Arena.+Smith+had+30+assists+and+Wilcox+had+8+kills+in+the+match%2C+which+Eastern+won+3-1.+

Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern setter Summer Smith (8) sets the ball up for middle blocker Emily WIlcox in a match against Northern Illinois Sept. 2 in Lantz Arena. Smith had 30 assists and Wilcox had 8 kills in the match, which Eastern won 3-1.

Adam Tumino, Sports Editor

The Eastern volleyball team will be playing its final two nonconference matches this weekend. 

The Panthers will be on the road to play Indiana State Friday before turning around and hosting the Sycamores on Sunday. 

Both teams are off to strong starts to the season. Eastern is sitting at 7-1 and in first place in the OVC while Indiana State is in fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference with a record of 6-2. The Sycamores have won their last five matches and Eastern has won its last three. 

Indiana State opened the season in the CofC Invitational hosted by College of Charleston, losing the opener against Kennesaw State 3-1. The Sycamores then best Eastern Michigan 3-1 before losing to host Charleston 3-1. 

Then their winning streak began. Indiana State beat Alcorn State and Belmont in the Middle Tennessee/Belmont Invite.

They then hosted the Sycamore Invitational, beating IUPUI 3-1, Western Michigan 3-2 and Austin Peay 3-2 to win their own tournament. 

Indiana State has faced two OVC teams so far this season in Belmont and Austin Peay, and will of course face another in Eastern this weekend. 

The Panthers have faced one MVC team this season. They played Southern Illinois on Sept. 10, beating the Salukis 3-2. 

The pair of matches between Eastern and Indiana State will be the 33rd and 34th all time, with Eastern owning a 20-12 advantage in the series. Eastern has also won the last two matches with the Sycamores with the most recent one taking place on Sept. 16, 2017, a 3-2 win for the Panthers. 

Indiana State’s top offensive threat so far this season has been sophomore middle blocker Karinna Gall. 

Gall is averaging 2.76 kills per set to lead the team. Freshman middle blocker Storm Suhre is leading the team with a .360 hitting percentage, which ranks fifth in the MVC. 

Senior libero Melina Tedrow is leading the team with 4.45 digs per set, ranking sixth in the conference. 

As a team, the Sycamores ranks third in the MVC with a .242 hitting percentage. They rank fifth in the conference with 13.15 kills per set. 

Eastern also ranks third in its conference with a hitting percentage of .217. The Panthers currently rank sixth in the OVC with 12.23 kills per set. 

Eastern is led offensively by senior outside hitter Danielle Allen, who is averaging 3.68 kills per set. That puts her fourth in the OVC in kills per set. 

Sophomore middle blocker Emily Wilcox currently leads the OVC with a .364 hitting percentage. She has 58 kills and just 15 attack errors in 118 total attacks. 

Junior setter Summer Smith is sixth in the OVC with 8 assists per set. She was just named OVC Setter of the Week after averaging 10.08 assists per set in the Southern Illinois Saluki Tournament last weekend. 

The match Friday will begin at 5 p.m. in Terre Haute. Sunday’s match will start at 4 p.m. in Lantz Arena. 

 

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