By JOEY CHAPMAN
Eastern volleyball took to Nashville, Tenn. last weekend for two important games in the closing stages of regular season play.
The Colonels first faced off against Tennessee State, who they beat 3-2 earlier in conference play. The first set began with neither team able to get the advantage. Tied at 15, Eastern, led by Celina Sanks, pulled away from the Tigers and eventually won the set 25-20.
The momentum quickly shifted in the second set, as Tennessee State dominated the Colonels and won 25-13 to even the match at 1-1.
Eastern was forced to fight from behind late in the third set as the Tigers led 22-21, but Eastern scored four unanswered points to win the set 25-23.
Jumping out to an 11-5 lead in the fourth set, Eastern seemed to be in control. But Tennessee State wouldn’t go down without a fight, and battled back to lead the Colonels 18-17. The teams traded points, but the Colonels scored three unanswered to win the set 27-25, and the match 3-1.
The win went down as the Colonels’ fifth straight conference win. Eastern was led by Sanks with 15 kills, with Ally Peters adding on 11 kills and seven digs.
The Colonels were hoping to avenge its loss earlier in the season to Belmont, but on Saturday the Bruins won in just three sets.
Eastern led to begin the first set, but Belmont sent the set into a back and forth battle. Eastern led late 24-22, but the Bruins would score four straight to win the set 26-24.
The teams traded the lead back and forth in the second set, though the Bruins rode a late wave of momentum to win 25-23. The Bruins led throughout the third set to win 25-19, ending the Colonels 5-game win streak in the OVC.
Eastern will play its final two home games this weekend. The Colonels will face Eastern Illinois 7 p.m. on Friday, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville at 4 p.m. on Saturday.