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

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Panthers hold off Screaming Eagles in first conference game of the season

During+Eastern+Illinois+University+the+Panthers+won+3-2+against+University+of+Southern+Indiana+Eagles+at+Lantz+Arena+Monday+Night.
Sia Deykoontz
During Eastern Illinois University the Panthers won 3-2 against University of Southern Indiana Eagles at Lantz Arena Monday Night.

The EIU Panthers beat the University of Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles 3-2 in an overtime thriller Monday evening at Lantz Arena.

The Panthers won in the fifth set 15-10.

This win puts EIU at 11-1 on the season and 1-0 in conference play.

Panthers’ Head Coach Sara Thomas reminded the team of their motto before they went out to play the fifth set.

“‘Focus on that moment; that ball and that point at that time’,” Thomas said. “Once you start thinking too much about the outcome, you start playing not to win, but to lose. We want to play to win.”

The Panthers grabbed the win in the fifth set while recording 10 kills and only 1 error.

Eastern dominated the first set, winning 25-6. At one point, the Panthers went on an 18-0 run.

During this set, the Panthers dropped 15 kills while the Screaming Eagles only recorded three.

The second set was more challenging for the Panthers as they lost 26-24.

The loss came down to the last two serves which went the Screaming Eagles’ way.

Eastern still got more kills than USI, with 18 and 14 respectively.

The Panthers committed eight errors in the second set, and the Screaming Eagles ended the set with four errors.

Junior outside hitter Kaitlyn Flynn reflected on this set, saying it is best to keep focusing on the game and not dwell on previous mistakes.

Outside Hitter Giovana Larregui López (15), and Outside Hitter Kaitlyn Flynn (11) both attempt to score a point against University of Southern Indiana Eagles at Lantz Arena Monday Night. (Sia Deykoontz)

“We say ‘Always have the memory of a goldfish’,” Flynn said. “We knew conference is a different level from preseason and we knew they were going to come out and play.”

The third set went well for the Panthers as they won 25-20. Eastern’s errors dropped to four while USI’s rose to seven.

The Panthers recorded 16 kills while the Screaming Eagles recorded 12 in the third set.

Flynn had insight on the teams turn around after the second set.

“I think we got a little excited after that first set just because we blew them out of the water, but I think we did a good job of coming back after losing the second set,” Flynn said.

The Screaming Eagles won the fourth set 25-22.

EIU’s errors increased to seven while Southern Indiana’s decreased down to five.

The Panthers still had more kills than their opponents, scoring 14 and 12 respectively.

Sophomore middle blocker Kate Dean exited the match due to a head injury later in the fourth set.

“The ball just came really fast and hard at my face, and it hurt really bad,” Dean said. “So, I decided not to keep playing just to be safe; its early, and I didn’t want to risk it…I feel a lot better now.”

Notable players from the Panthers include senior outside hitter Giovana Larregui López (25 kills, 7 assists), sophomore setter Catalina Rochaix (4 kills, 55 assists) and senior libero Christina Martinez Mundo (23 Digs).

The Panthers’ next game will be against UT Martin in Martin, Tennessee on Friday at 6 p.m.

Aidan Cusack can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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