The UTM volleyball team was defeated by a 3-0 margin to Eastern Illinois (22-25, 21-25, 14-25) this afternoon at Skyhawk Fieldhouse.
The Skyhawks (7-11, 1-1 OVC) were led offensively by Emily Keaton, who hit .250 while registering a match-high 11 kills. Lynsey Hazelwood (eight), Allie Whimpey (eight) and Shelby Hoskins (seven) also combined to do most of the damage for UTM today.
Amanda Crask (33 assists) and Chelsea Bowles (15 digs) also recorded match-high totals in their respective categories.
“It was a tough loss today,” Skyhawk head coach Darrin McClure said. “We knew coming in that Eastern Illinois is a really good team and I give them a lot of credit. I don’t think our girls were completely ready to play and things like this can happen, even on your home court.”
UTM controlled the majority of the first set before a late Panther run. The Skyhawks led 7-2 thanks in part to three early kills by Hazelwood. Eastern Illinois would get within two at 9-7, but the Skyhawks would soon push their lead back out to six at 16-10. Back-to-back kills by Hoskins gave UTM the 19-15 edge, but the Panthers would go on a 10-3 run to close out the set.
Keaton had five kills against just one error in 10 swings in the first set, while Crask (12 assists) and Bowles (eight digs) also guided the Skyhawks, who hit .263 in 38 attempts.
The Skyhawks led for the early stages of the second set before Eastern Illinois would open up an 8-5 lead. After the Panthers led 13-9, four straight points by UTM evened the score at 13-all. The two teams then swapped points before a 4-0 Eastern Illinois run made the score 18-14. A Hoskins kill and block by Keaton and Alisha Erves sliced the Skyhawk deficit to 18-16 but that would be as close as UTM would get the rest of the way.
Hazelwood’s four kills and Crask’s 12 assists paced the Skyhawks in the second set.
UTM trailed 3-0 to start the third set until a Hoskins kill got the Skyhawks on the scoreboard. Keaton provided a kill and service ace on back-to-back possessions to tie the score at 6-6 but the Panthers would answer with four unanswered points. Eastern Illinois led 15-9 and Keaton had a pair of kills for UT<’s next two points but the Panthers concluded the set on a 9-3 run.
The Skyhawks continue their four-match OVC homestand this Tuesday, Oct. 1 when they play host to Southeast Missouri. First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m.