The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

‘That was pretty magical’ Thomas says about the 11-0 run to help Eastern top Valparaiso

Head coach Sara Thomas and the Panthers are 2-0 after winning both games on Friday in Lantz Arena.

On the first day of the EIU Panther Classic, Eastern beat the University of Louisiana-Monroe 3-0, and the Panthers also beat the Valparaiso Beacons 3-2.

On Friday afternoon, the first game for the Panthers was a win over the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks. Senior outside hitter Giovana Larregui Lopez led the Panthers with 17 kills, junior outside hitter Kaitlyn Flynn led with two aces and sophomore setter Catalina Rochaix led with 36 assists against the Warhawks.

“We played very systematically,” Thomas said. “First game of the season can either have a lot of jitters or go out firing, so I was happy with how and what we did.”

That evening, the Panthers and the Valparaiso Beacons competed in a hard-fought game that went back and forth for the first four sets.

Finishing the first set with an 8-1 run, the Beacons got the first win over the Panthers 25-18, and the Panthers recorded only seven kills in the set.

Eastern came back to win the second set 25-20, recording 21 kills, and the Panthers recorded a 7-0 run against the Beacons.

Valparaiso won the third set 25-18, and they went on a 5-2 run in the final points to gain a 2-1 lead against Eastern.

Panthers’ Natalie Mitchem had two crucial kills to help the Panthers fight back to win the fourth set over the Beacons 25-21.

During the back-and-forth battle between the two teams, the graduate outside/opposite hitter, Mitchem, killed the ball from the far right side of the court to give Eastern leverage in the fourth set.

“I felt like I was seeing my block and putting it away when I had that one-on-one,” Mitchem said. “I was really confident in myself.”

An 11-0 run from the Panthers is how the final set started, and Mitchem continued to remind the team to stay strong.

“I feel like everybody really took that and we wanted that win,” Mitchem said.

Junior libero/defensive specialist Laura Paniagua finished the set with a service ace to seal the 15-4 set win and the 3-2 game victory for the Panthers.

“We know what we’re capable of,” freshman middle blocker Julia Stanev said. “We trusted in ourselves and trusted in each other.”

Mitchem led the Panthers with 25 kills, Rochaix led with two aces and 53 assists, and Stanev led with seven blocks against the Beacons.

The Panthers ended the game with 64 total kills over the Beacons’ 54.

Eastern is back in action for the last day of the EIU Panther Classic, and the Panthers will compete against the Akron Zips on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. in Lantz Arena.

Zaria Flippin can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Zaria Flippin
Zaria Flippin, Sports Editor
Zaria Flippin is a junior sports media relations major. This is her first year at The News.
Ashanti Thomas
Ashanti Thomas, Photographer
Ashanti Thomas is a senior digital media major. She previously served as photo editor and assistant photo editor at The News.

Comments (0)

Commenting on the Daily Eastern News web site is a privilege, not a right. We reserve the right to remove comments that contain obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language. Also, comments containing personal attacks or threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
All The Daily Eastern News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest