Panthers honor seniors, clinch OVC Tourney spot over weekend

Adam Tumino, Sports Editor

The Eastern volleyball team honored its seniors over the weekend in more ways than one.

On Saturday, the four seniors were acknowledged in a pregame ceremony with their families.

Outside hitters Kylie Michael and Danielle Allen, middle blocker Kameryn Sillmon and setter Bailey Chandler were presented with framed jerseys from their teammates.

But the day before, the team clinched a spot in the OVC Tournament for the first time since 2017, giving the seniors their first chance to play in the postseason. 

Michael, a redshirt senior, was on the team in 2017 but did not play, using her redshirt season. 

Eastern clinched its postseason spot Friday with a 3-1 win over Austin Peay, the Panthers’ fourth win in their last six matches. It was also perhaps their most dominant win of the conference season, coming against an Austin Peay team that was 12-4 coming in. 

The Panthers won the first two sets 25-13 before the Governors took set three 25-21. Eastern bounced back to win the fourth set 25-20. 

They outhit Austin Peay .290 to .118 and recording 54 kills to the Governors’ 42. 

Allen led all players with 18 kills and Sillmon set a game high with 6 block assists. 

The loss for Austin Peay locked them into third place in the conference. 

The Governors came back Sautrday to pick up a 3-1 win of their own, ending the regular season for both teams. 

They won the first set 25-22, but Eastern responded to win the second set 25-17, the most lopsided set in the match. 

Austin Peay won the third and fourth sets by scores of 25-20 and 25-23. 

The Panthers were outhit in the match .260 to .218 while only having four-fewer kills than the Governors. 

Allen once again led the team in kills with 22, two shy of her season-high. 

Allen also hit .432, the highest of any player with more than 5 kills in the match. 

Michael and Sillmon finished second and third on the team in kills with 13 and 6 respectively. 

Michael also led the team with 17 digs to pick up a double-double in her final home match. She also surpassed the 500 kill mark for her career. 

Chandler appeared in all four sets and recorded 20 assists and 6 digs. It was her fifth match of the season with 20 or more sets. 

She ends her Panther career with 2,248 asssists, ranking ninth in program history. 

Allen ends the regular season ranked fourth in the OVC in kills per set with 3.53.

Sillmon is in the top ten in the OVC in multiple categories. She ranked 10th with 0.92 kills per set and sixth with a hitting percentage of .272.

Michael ranked seventh in the conference with 30 service aces but led the conference with 0.35 aces per set. 

The Panthers will play again Thursday at 6 p.m. against top seeded Southeast Missouri. 

 

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