Volleyball team drops home opener to Leathernecks


Han Byer

Junior Libero Christina Martinez Mundo, bumps the ball during the volleyball game against the Western Illinois University Leathernecks Tuesday evening at Lantz Arena. Martinez Mundo had 3 spikes.

Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor

The Eastern volleyball team dropped their home opener to Western Illinois 3-0 in Lantz Arena Tuesday evening after errors haunted them throughout the match. 

The Panthers are now 2-5 overall and sit at seventh place in the OVC.

The Panthers had a slow start in the first set as they had 13 attack errors and five service errors, allowing the Leathernecks to score 18 points off errors in the first half. The Panthers ended the game with 21 attack errors compared to the Leathernecks’ 10. 

The Leathernecks did not go uncontested in the first two sets as they only won by 3 and 4 points, respectively.  

Coach Sara Thomas said that the biggest thing that she learned from the match was that the team needs to continue to come together when the opponent is hot from the start. 

“We need to continue to grow as a team. Under adversity, how we can overcome it,” Thomas said. “So, a team that comes out hot like that, like, how can we stay tight and be patient and with urgency. I would say that was probably the biggest thing.” 

Freshman outside hitter Tori Mohesky had a season high of 10 kills, 11 points and six digs. Mohesky said that when the Panthers started to play their usual game, it was too late. 

“I think we started a little slow, especially that first set, it took us a while to warm up. Then, we dug ourselves a hole kind of and then we started to play like we normally do.” Mohesky said. “It was too late by then, but we should have carried that into the rest of the sets.” 

The Panthers had some key defensive plays throughout the match led by junior libero Christina Martinez Mundo as she was on the floor multiple times. Mundo had 13 digs to lead the Panthers. 

Freshman setter Catalina Rochaix had 26 assists, one assist away from tying her season high of 27. Emily Wilcox also contributed offensively has she had four kills and a .600 hitting percentage to lead the Panthers.  

The Panthers used their timeouts to their advantage to regroup after errors started to become more troubling. Thomas said that the main thing that was talked about during the match was remaining patient.  

“There’s different things that are said in different timeouts all the time. Sometimes they’re strategic of what’s coming at us, what we can do better,” Thomas said. “Are we sticking to our game plan. Other times it’s like let’s be patient. Let’s make sure we’re sticking to our game plan because if we don’t play our side of the court, then what they do doesn’t matter. We just got to keep getting better at being great within our system.” 

Junior outside hitter Giovanna Larregui Lopez led the Panthers with 14 kills. Lopez said that the Panthers did not have the start that they were looking for.  

Junior Outside Hitter Giovana Larregui Lopez hits the ball over the net during the match against the Western Illinois University Leathernecks Tuesday evening at Lantz Arena. The Panthers lost 3-0 to the Leathernecks. Larregui Lopez had 3 spikes, 14 kills and scored 14 points. (Han Byer)

“We didn’t start strong, that’s why it was hard to keep going but then we started making some adjustments. It wasn’t what we wanted but we’re gonna keep working hard to be ready for the next game.” 

The Panthers will head to the Eastern Kentucky Tournament starting Friday at 9 a.m. Thomas said that they need to focus on earning their points in order to succeed.  

“We got to be able to earn our points. Earn our points means kills, blocks and service aces and not depend on the other team to make the mistakes,” Thomas said. “We need to keep working on those that we want, because there is a certain number that we want to get, and we just have to keep working towards getting better at getting those earned points.” 

Mohesky also said that the team needs to be completely focused before tournament play begins.  

“We have to be totally focused, have intent with everything we do and just go after it,” Mohesky said.  

Autumn Schulz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]