By JOEY CHAPMAN
Coming off consecutive wins on the road, Eastern finally got a chance to prove itself against the same teams in front of a home crowd.
Tennessee Tech (5-18, 3-7 OVC) made the trek to Alumni Coliseum on Friday, coming off a 3-1 loss against the Colonels (7-19, 6-4 OVC) last weekend.
Tech managed to grab the advantage in the beginning stages of the first set, though the Colonels remained within striking distance of the Golden Eagles. Eastern battled back to tie the game at six apiece off a kill by Ally Peters, then jumped out to a 10-7 lead. TTU battled back to tie the game at 10, sending the set into a back and forth battle. After tying the game at 16 all, Eastern scored five unanswered points and never looked back, winning the set 25-21.
Eastern opened the second set with a 5-0 lead, but Tennessee Tech fought back to cut the Colonels’ lead to just one point at 8-7. The Colonels weren’t phased by the efforts of the Golden Eagles, going on a six point tear and eventually cruising to a 25-15 victory.
The Golden Eagles made a statement coming out of the locker room, quickly taking a 6-1 lead in the third set. The Colonels battled back within one, although Tech would dominate offensively and take the set 25-15. The fourth set saw tight play early, but a strong run by Eastern midway through the set allowed the Colonels to grab the momentum and roll to a 25-14 win.
Celina Sanks and Ally Peters led the Colonels with 13 and 12 kills respectively, with Ciera Koons attributing a match-high 4 blocks.
Jacksonville State (12-17, 2-8 OVC) visited Eastern on Saturday night with hopes of avenging its 3-0 loss to the Colonels last weekend.
After getting ahead in the first set 6-4, the Colonels took full control and scored nine unanswered points. While the Gamecocks managed to chip away at the lead, the Colonels were able to withstand the Golden Eagles’ push to win the set 25-19.
Eastern was able to ride the momentum into the second set, setting up a run early to go ahead 9-6. The Gamecocks managed to stay in the game, but Rachel Vick got a kill that allowed Eastern to go on yet another run increasing the score to 20-12. Jacksonville State had no answer for the Colonels, giving Eastern the 25-15 win.
In a mainly back and forth third set, neither team was able to claim a major advantage over the other. The set eventually tied at 16 and the Colonels scored five unanswered points to move in front 21-16. The Gamecocks tried to set up a run late in the match, but the Colonels denied them to pick up a 25-21 set win and a 3-0 match win.
Sanks led the way for Eastern with a match-best 15 kills, while Koons and Vick added on four blocks each.
The impressive performances gives the Colonels a season-best four game win streak as it heads into the second half of OVC play.
Eastern’s OVC schedule takes it to Nashville, Tenn., for the weekend. The team will face off against Tennessee State (11-11, 6-4 OVC) at 7 p.m., Friday and Belmont (11-11, 8-2 OVC) at 5 p.m., Saturday.