The Eastern Kentucky University volleyball team traveled to Columbia, South Carolina to compete in the Carolina Classic September 8th through the 12th and entered the tournament looking to improve their 2-5 record.
EKU’s first opponent on Friday was the host team, University of South Carolina Gamecocks (4-2). The Colonels fell in straight sets to the Gamecocks by scores of 25-20, 25-19, and 26-24.
Eastern kept the contest tight through the first set, but a closing 5-0 run by USC gave the set to the Gamecocks.
The score remained close in the second set too, but USC finished with another run that won the set and left the Gamecocks ready to close out the match in the third set.
The Colonel’s started the third set slowly but battled back from a double-digit deficit to tie the set at 22. EKU and USC fought back and forth until the Gamecocks closed out the set and the match with a score of 26-24.
Celina Sanks led the team with 10 kills while Cassie Knutson and Nikki Drost added eight and seven kills respectively. Drost and Chloe Rojas both led the team with eight digs a piece and Rachel Woody finished the game with 21 assists.
The next opponent for the Colonels in the Carolina Classic, and their second opponent of the day, was the Radford University Highlanders (6-1). Radford came into the game with only one loss on their record. EKU lost in straight sets again by scores of 25-14, 25-15, and 25-12.
The Colonels started the game slowly and found themselves down 16-10 in the first set and the Highlanders took the set after a 9-4 run.
EKU started the second set well and the score was tied 12-12. However, the Highlanders then went on a 13-5 run to win the set.
Radford carried their momentum from the second set into the third. The Colonels went back and forth in the third set with their foe, but came up short by a score of 25-12.
Drost led the team in both kills and digs (7-8) and Woody finished the game with a team high 17 assists.
The Colonel’s closed out the tournament with their most competitive match against the Miami (OH) University Redhawks (7-3). The Colonels lost in five sets by scores of 25-20, 25-19, 24-26, 16-25 and 10-15.
EKU opened with a strong start to the game by winning the first and second sets. In the third, the Colonels and Redhawks went back and forth until Miami (OH) closed it out with a two point run.
The Redhawks took control of the game after the third set and finished off the Colonel’s in the final two sets to win the match.
Drost led both teams with 16 total kills.
Rojas led Eastern with 18 digs, while Knuston added 11 kills and 13 assists and Sanks finished with 11 kills and 10 digs.
Woody had a great game leading both teams with 32 assists and adding 9 kills and 9 digs.
The EKU Colonels will head to Pittsburgh, Pensylvania this weekend to play in the Panther Challenge against Cleveland State University on September 15 at 4:30 p.m., the University of Pittsburgh on September 16 at 10 a.m. and the University of California Santa Barbara on September 16 at 5 p.m.
The Colonels also played in their first home game of the season on Tuesday September 12th at 7 p.m. against Seattle University.