Volleyball team to play SIUE at home in first OVC matches


Rob Le Cates

Kaitlyn Flynn (right), sophomore outside hitter, sets the ball during volleyball practice Thursday afternoon at Lantz Arena. The Panthers will start OVC play against the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Cougars.

Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor

The use of bench players is the Eastern volleyball team’s biggest weapon going into conference play tomorrow evening against SIUE. 

According to coach Sara Thomas, being able to utilize each player on the team is something that will help the Panthers succeed in their first pair of OVC matches. 

“I don’t have just one individual. Those of you that have been following, we use our bench. The players come off the bench quite a bit,” Thomas said. “Having that confidence that I can use anybody and that they have confidence knowing their roles of okay, maybe I’m gonna go in and I’m gonna serve on game point, that’s a big deal. Or I need to go I need to go in get one block, or whatever their role is. Knowing that they have the confidence from the staff and each other, that is our biggest weapon.” 

One of the players that has come off the bench for the Panthers this season is sophomore outside hitter Kaitlyn Flynn. 

Flynn has 97 kills through the seven matches that she has been in this season, leading the OVC overall. Flynn led her team to win the Geri Polvino Invitational earlier this season after posting a season high of 29 kills. 

Last weekend, Flynn led the Panthers with 17 kills and was second on the team with a .455 hitting percentage, which led the Panthers to sweep Duquesne 3-0. 

Flynn said that she credits being pushed by the people around her for her success. 

“I think just like pushing myself and like having my teammates and coaches who pushed me every single day to be better and bettering the things that I’m good at and then getting better at things that I’m not so good at,” Flynn said. 

The Panthers will continue to utilize players like Flynn against the Cougars. The Cougars are currently 5-6 and are right behind the Panthers in the OVC.  

The Cougars are led by outside hitters Sydney Hummert and Savannah Christian, who have 117 and 110 kills, respectively. Christian is currently eighth in the OVC with a .268 hitting percentage. Caroline Waite also poses a threat as she has 18 service aces. 

Chrisina Martinez Mundo is also another key player for the Panthers going into OVC play. Mundo is second in the OVC with 250 digs, averaging about 5.32 per set. Mundo’s 250 digs has also earned her the tenth spot in the nation for total digs. 

The Panthers, as a team, are 75th in the nation in digs per set and third overall in the OVC in digs per set.  

Mundo said that she has been allowed more freedom to move on the court, which has led to her success. 

“I think I’ve been just a little bit more myself and more free and that’s something my coaches build with me,” Mundo said. “They allow me to progressively have more range and be more free and be able to move and read. So, I think it’s just that my coaches have been more trusting and able to let me do that.” 

According to Flynn, fans can expect a successful Panther volleyball weekend if they come out to Lantz Arena.  

“I think all of us out there being loud and cheering and winning,” Flynn said. 

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