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

Eastern exits break as highest-ranked OVC team in volleyball

Eastern’s volleyball team is looking to continue their four-game winning streak against Morehead State on Thursday and Friday.

Eastern is ranked 68th in the rating percentage index (RPI) NCAA Division I volleyball rankings. (File)

The Panthers are ranked 68th out of 344 Division I teams in rating percentage index (RPI) volleyball rankings.

Eastern is the highest-ranked team in the Ohio Valley Conference and the second-highest-ranked team out of Illinois, following 49th-ranked Northwestern.

Eastern is coming off of a nine-day break from play. Morehead State just played last Saturday in a loss against Western Illinois.

The players believe this extra rest could be a benefit to them in the coming matches.

“[The bye weekend] was something we were looking forward to because we had a really hard preseason,” Senior defensive specialist/libero Christina Martinez Mundo expressed. “We were looking forward to having a break before things got hectic with school and midterms.”

Libero Christina Martinez Mundo says the team focuses on themselves more than their opponents when practicing. (File)

During this break, the Panthers have been ironing out any issues they have noticed in past games.

“We’ve been really working on our tempo and also our attitude in the games,” sophomore setter Catalina Rochaix said. “We’ve also worked on communication, always working on communication.”

The Panthers are 14-1 on the season and undefeated (4-0) in conference play.

The Morehead State Eagles are coming in with an 8-8 record. They are 3-1 in conference play.

Eastern expressed the seriousness they will give Morehead State regardless of their record.

“[Morehead State] has a history and tradition of winning,” Head Coach Sara Thomas said with respect. “They know how to win, and just because they struggled last weekend doesn’t mean they will struggle against us.”

The players echoed their coach’s sentiment. Martinez Mundo expressed how the team has been locking in and focusing on themselves, not their opponents.

“We do follow what other teams do but we try to focus on us as much as possible,” Martinez Mundo said. “But we are looking forward to playing against them and using the many things we have worked on this week.”

Do not take this team’s lack of smugness as a lack of confidence. The team agreed that the Panthers have a very confident squad in both practices and games.

“We are confident as a team,” Rochaix said. “We have a really good practice every day, so we are confident in ourselves.”

The Panthers play Morehead State on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. and Friday at 4:00 p.m.

Both matches will be held at Lantz Arena.

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

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Rob Le Cates
Rob Le Cates, Editor-in-Chief
Rob Le Cates is a junior journalism major. He previously served as summer editor-in-chief, photo editor and assistant photo editor at The News.

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