COLUMN: The volleyball team’s future is bright


Rob Le Cates

Caleb Jensen, a junior sports media relations major, can be reached at 581-2812.

Caleb Jensen, Columnist

Looking forward and not back. This is what the members of the Eastern Illinois University volleyball team should be doing after what looked like might be a promising run in the OVC tournament was cut short after a hard-fought match against Southeast Missouri.

The team finished 15-15 with a record of 10-8 in OVC play, the best record EIU volleyball has posted since 2015. there is no denying just how far this team has come since last season when they posted a 4-14 record in conference, and even before that time, going back to when coach Sarah Thomas was first brought in 3 seasons ago, as compared to their record this season.

What sits in the mind of any team after falling short like the panthers did, is just how much they are capable of,, and how they build off the efforts of this season and come in even stronger next season.

As it is, there are plenty of reasons why the panthers are poised to be even better next season, among them that most of the team’s best players will hopefully be back next season since most of them are juniors or younger, which feels good when you have 3 players who earned all-OVC honors including OVC player of the year Giovanna Larregui Lopez, another all first team selection in Kaitlyn Flynn, and an all second team selection in Christina Martinez Mundo.

And that’s not to mention some freshman standouts as well.

I could write paragraphs upon paragraphs outlining all the stats that I dug up, but I don’t need to do that to justify the strength of the team because their improvement over time speaks for itself, and I’d rather not go through it because even after hours of research I still can’t even pretend to understand half the lingo.

But above all, stats don’t necessarily tell the full story of the season, and perhaps upsets are some of the best proof of that.

After a loss to SIUE earlier in the season, Coach Thomas told me that the game ultimately comes down to battling on the court. The Panthers battled all season, and for that matter have only gotten better at it as the season has gone on.

As disappointing as the the end to season might have been, the Panthers have no reason to be disappointed about the way this season went.

After the SIUE game, Freshman Lilli Amettis told me that the loss shouldn’t affect the teams mindset, and likewise neither should their early tournament exit. The team should have more drive and determination than ever for next season, coming off a season where they have much to be proud of, and hopefully much to be optimistic about.

Caleb Jensen is a junior sports media relations major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]