Abby O’ Conner (1), Kate Hendle (2), and Lauren Snyder (13), swept all three OVC player of the week awards in volleyball after defeating EIU and SEMO. (Trey Burke)

By Langdon Barnes

The Eastern Kentucky women’s volleyball team had a very successful weekend. Going into their first game Friday night, they were winless at 0-12. By the time the weekend was over, they improved their record by winning both of their matches. On Friday, they hosted Southeast Missouri State (6-9, 3-3 OVC). The Colonels lost two of the first three sets and it looked as if they were going to continue their winless streak. They then pulled through on the next two sets to win their first match of the season.

The game scores were 26-24, 24-26, 22-25, 25-24, and 15-7.

Eastern hit .259 compared with .173 from Southeast Missouri. The first set was tied 23-23, but two kills by Junior Lauren Snyder gave Eastern the 1-0 lead.

Southeast Missouri then won the next two sets, both of which went down to the wire.

The Colonels then started the fourth set with a hot streak. They went ahead 14-5 before evening the match, taking the set win with 25-14. During the fifth set, Eastern was up 8-6 and then went on a 7-1 run to end the match and get their first victory.

“We had a real long week between our games,” Coach Laurie Duncan said. “Our practices were great, and we got better as a team.”

Snyder added 11 digs, three service aces, and three block assists to go along with her match-high 30 kills. Senior Lindsey Loescher added 19 kills and 14 digs, and Autumn Harms put in 11 kills and five blocks.

On Saturday, the Colonels hosted Eastern Illinois. Eastern won the match 3-1, notching the team’s second win in a row. Eastern (2-12, 2-3 OVC) lost the first set before winning the next three to take the match.

Game scores were 21-25, 25-22, 25-17 and 25-20.

Melanie Boykins and Stephanie Arnold had nine kills each for EIU, (7-12, 1-6 OVC), but it was not enough.

Lauren Snyder again led the team with 21 kills and only two errors in 46 attacks. Lindsey Loescher added three aces to go along with her 13 kills and junior Abby O’Connor recorded a career-high 36 digs.

The first set was tied a total of 11 times. The Colonels were up 16-11 before the Panthers tied it up at 18-18. Eastern scored the next point before EIU railed in four straight to be up 23-20. Back-to-back EIU scores gave them the first set.

Eastern won the second set with a kill by Autumn Harms and an EIU attack error to make it 25-22 which tied the match 1-1.

The Colonels dominated the entire third set. They scored the first five points and were up by one point (14-5). Snyder finished the set with a kill to give Eastern a 2-1 lead.

EIU tied the fourth set 3-3 before Eastern scored four straight. The Panthers then scored the next point, but the Colonels went on another 4-0 run to go up by eight. EIU made a comeback to cut it to three, 23-20, but the Colonels scored the next two points to win their second straight match.

Three Eastern players earned OVC awards this week. Lauren Snyder was the Offensive Player of the Week, Abby O’Connor was selected as Defensive Player of the Week, and Kate Hendle was recognized as the Setter of the Week.

“We’ve been improving and defended our home court this weekend,” said coach Duncan. “We might be 2-12 overall, but we are 2-3 in the OVC. That is the record we are really looking at.

Volleyball plays at home this Friday against Murray State at 7 p.m. and Saturday against Tennessee Martin at 2 p.m.