Volleyball team now tied for first place after sweep of SEMO


Han Byer

Freshman outside and opposite hitter, Lilli Amettis (left), and junior libero and defensive Specialist Christina Martinez Mundo (right) celebrate with their team after scoring a point in the third set against the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Cougars at Lantz Arena Friday evening. The Panthers won 3-1 against the Cougars.

Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor

It was quite the weekend for the Eastern Volleyball team as it swept Southeast Missouri in back-to-back matches for the first time in 12 years. 

The Panthers are now 12-8 overall and 6-1 in conference, battling for first place with UT Martin, who is also 6-1. The Panthers and the Skyhawks will face off this Friday in Lantz Arena in a doubleheader starting at 11 a.m. 

The first match was led offensively by junior outside hitter Giovana Larregui Lopez. Lopez had 15 kills and a hitting percentage of .244 to go along with her 12 digs. It was her eighth double-double of the season.  

Sophomore outside hitter Kaitlyn Flynn had her seventh straight double-digit match of the season and her third double-double as she posted 10 kills and 14 digs. 

Senior middle blocking duo Ireland Hieb and Annika Black were strong at the net for the Panthers as Hieb had seven kills and three block assists and Black had four blocks. 

The setting duo of freshman Catalina Rochaix and senior Summerlyn Smith collected 22 and 19 assists, respectively. Junior libero Christina Martinez Mundo had 16 digs to lead the Panthers to the 3-0 win over the Redhawks.  

The Redhawks were led by Kaelyn O’Brien, who had 12 kills, and Kayla Closset, who had 10. Libero Tara Beilsmith had 28 digs to lead the team. Setter Izzy Lukens had 17 assists. 

Lopez and Flynn once again led the Panthers in the second match as they swept 3-0. Lopez led with 16 kills while Flynn had another double-digit match with 13 kills.  

Flynn also had her second consecutive double-double with 11 digs to go along with her 13 kills. 

Freshman outside hitter Lilli Amettis continues to be a bright spot in the Panthers’ offense as she had her fourth match with double-digit kills with 12. 

The Panthers had a .212 hitting percentage and they forced 20 attack errors, holding the Redhawks to 29 kills. Hieb and Emily Wilcox were a large part of that as Hieb had two block assists and Wilcox had one. Wilcox also had three service aces. 

Mundo had 18 digs to lead the team to add to her six assists and one service ace. Rochaix and Smith continued to be strong presences as Rochaix had 16 assists and Smith had 14. 

The Redhawks were led by Closset once again with 13 kills and Beilsmith, who leads the OVC in digs, had 28. Blockers Avery Torrey and Mackenzie Meehan had six and five blocks, respectively. 

The Redhawks are now 8-10 overall and 3-3 in the OVC, putting them at fifth place, along with Tennessee Tech. 

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