Volleyball won 3-1 over Tritons in exhibition match


Monique Peterson

Number 18 TaKenya Stafford, a sophomore outside hitter dives to bump a ball during their exhibition game against University of Missouri- St. Louis on Saturday afternoon at Lantz Arena.

Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor

The Eastern volleyball team finds preseason success with a win over Missouri-St. Louis during an exhibition match Saturday evening in Lantz Arena.

Head coach Sara Thomas said that the main focus of the match was to prove that it takes more than one player to make things happen on the floor.

“I mean, you never know going in what’s going to happen, you know, and so we put our primary focus on us and that it takes all 18 of them, no matter what,” Thomas said. “I think that we accomplished that tonight. You know, everybody was ready, chemistry on and off the floor was great.”

The Panthers won in four sets and the final scores were: 25-17, 13-25, 25-11, 25-21.

There were three main players that kept the offense going the entire game. Junior outside hitters Ella Collins, Elisavet Papageorgiou, and Giovana Larrequi Lopez all had ten kills. The three hitters highly contributed to the .190 hitting percentage on the night. The Panthers had 54 kills on the night as compared to the Triton’s 31.

Thomas said that the mindset during the last few weeks of practice leading up to the match has been centered around the team, not just individual players.

“It’s all about the team, the team is the star that we are focusing on,” she said. “Our culture, our chemistry, healthy competition, and just getting one percent better every day.”

The mindset of focusing on the team really showed for the Panthers tonight as three different setters were in double digits for assists. Freshman setter Catalina Rochaix led the Panthers with 19 assists while senior setter Summerlyn Smith and freshman setter Sylvia Hasz both 13 kills each.

Thomas said that she gives credit to the juniors and seniors for building the leadership that is expressed on the floor.

“We’ve got Ashley Sharkus, she is a junior and Catalina Roachix who’s a freshman, they are on my leadership group,” she said. “Then you’ve got plenty of the juniors and the seniors who all built this foundation and then they have helped our new players coming in to know like, this is how things go. So that’s been the biggest difference between last year and this year, you know, three years under our belt with the same girls, they know our expectations. I gotta give our juniors and seniors that credit and even past players for helping our foundation get really strong.”

The defense also pushed the Panthers to the win as liberos Christina Martinez Mundo and Ashley Sharkus combined for 8 digs. The Panthers had 68 digs on the night while the Triton’s posted 48.

The Panthers will head to Indianapolis next Friday to compete in the Butler Top Dawg Tournament to start their season. The first game will kick off at 11 a.m. against Butler.

Thomas said that preparing her players for the tournament involves reminding them to take things one at a time.

“It’s just focusing on us. We just take it one day at a time, one opponent at a time, especially during the preseason. “It’s to get us ready for conferences and so, just take it one day at a time and like I said, get one percent better.”