Eastern Illinois volleyball scored three of the final four points in the fifth and deciding set on Saturday afternoon as the Panthers beat Memphis, 3-2 (24-26, 25-14, 27-29, 25-22, 17-15), in their second match of the EIU Panther Invitational.
Maggie Runge and Taylor Smith were big in those final EIU points. Smith set up Allie Hueston to put EIU up 15-14. After a kill by Memphis Kate Hoerdemann tied the match at 15, EIU scored the final two points. Runge hammered home a kill to put EIU up 16-15 before Runge and Smith combined for a block to seal the victory.
EIU moved to 1-1 on the season and hosts Bradley on Saturday evening in the final match of the weekend. Memphis dropped to 0-2 and wraps up tournament action against Green Bay.
Runge had 12 kills as she was one of four players to finish with double figure kills for the Panthers as they featured a balanced offensive attack. Hueston had 12 kills and a six blocks (2 solo, 8 assisted). Smith just missed a triple double finishing with 11 kills, 33 assists and nine digs.
Memphis won the opening set 26-24 with kills by Brianna Kadiku and Faith Myers sandwiched around an attack error by EIU. In the second set, Memphis could not find any offensive rhythm as they finished with a negative .125 attack percentage. The Panthers defensive play at the net in the second set was a big factor in the poor hitting. EIU had nine blocks as they pulled away for a 25-14 win. Hueston, Brown and Runge all had four block assists in the set.
The two schools battled back and forth in the next two sets with Memphis winning set three 29-27. The Tigers hit .262 in that set while EIU hit .250 with 20 kills. The Panthers picked up the fourth set win 25-22. EIU closed that set with a 4-1 run with Hueston scoring two of the Panthers points on kills.
EIU finished the match with a .202 hitting percentage and 17 total blocks. Maria Brown had a double-double with 11 kills and 14 digs. The senior also had four of the Panthers nine service aces. Memphis was led by Hannah Flowers with 16 kills.
GREEN BAY 3, BRADLEY 0
In the opening match of the Saturday session Green Bay improved to 2-0 on the season with a victory over Bradley. The Phoenix won 3-0 (25-23, 26-24, 25-22).
Taylor Wolf had 12 kills to lead Green Bay. Erica Haslag had 17 kills for the Braves.