Allen given 1st team All-OVC honors for Panthers

Eastern+outside+hitter+Danielle+Allen+swings+on+a+kill+attempt+in+a+match+against+Austin+Peay+on+Nov.+13+in+Lantz+Arena.+Allen+had+a+team-high+22+kills+in+the+match%2C+which+Eastern+lost+3-1.

Rob Le Cates | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern outside hitter Danielle Allen swings on a kill attempt in a match against Austin Peay on Nov. 13 in Lantz Arena. Allen had a team-high 22 kills in the match, which Eastern lost 3-1.

Adam Tumino, Sports Editor

The OVC announced its postseason volleyball awards Wednesday, on the eve of the OVC Tournament.

Eastern, which will play Southeast Missouri Wednesday in what it the Panthers’ first OVC Tournament appearance since 2017, had representation on the All-OVC first team for the second-straight season.

Senior outside hitter Danielle Allen was given the All-OVC honor after finishing fourth in the conference in kills per set with an average of 3.53.

Allen upped that number in the Panthers’ final seven matches, averaging 4.72 kills per set. Her success during this stretch was instrumental in the Panthers’ postseason push, as the team went 4-3 in those matches and clinched the eighth and final seed in the tournament.

Her 342 kills on the season were the most by an Eastern player since 2014 and are the 16th-most in a single season in program history.

The Panthers were 4-14 in conference play this season.

Eastern’s opponent Southeast Missouri had plenty of representation in the postseason awards.

The Redhawks had three players receive first team All-OVC honors in outside hitters Laney Malloy and Zoey Beasley and setter Claire Ochs.

Southeast Missouri Libero Tara Beilsmith received second team All-OVC honors while head coach Julie Yankus was named OVC Volleyball Coach of the Year.

Ochs was also named Setter of the Year and Malloy was named Player of the Year.

Malloy ranked third in the OVC with 3.96 kills per set and Ochs ranked third with 10.38 assists per set.

The Redhawks earned the OVC regular season title with a 14-4 conference record. Their overall winning percentage of .767 was the highest in the conference.

Elsewhere in the conference, a pair of Murray State players received individual postseason awards.

Racers’ outside hitter Brooke Watts was named OVC Freshman of the Year. She led the conference with 4.58 kills per set, which ranked 15th in the nation this season.

Libero Becca Fernandez was named OVC Defensive Player of the Year. She led the conference with 5.50 digs per set which ranked sixth in the nation.

The Racers finished with a conference record of 11-7, placing them fifth in the OVC. They will play four seed Tennessee-Martin Thursday.

The other tournament matches Thursday will include second-seeded Morehead State playing seven seed Belmont and the three seed Austin Peay and six seed Tennessee Tech.

The semifinals will take place Friday with the championship match scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m.

 

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