PITTSBURGH, Penn. – The Eastern Kentucky University volleyball team dropped matches against the University of Pittsburgh and the University of California Santa Barbara on the final day of the Panther Challenge.
The Colonels fell to Pitt by scores of 16-25, 18-25 and 12-25.
Against the Panthers (6-4) the teams went point-for-point for a majority of the first set. Pitt pulled ahead 13-11, but Kaylin Johnson, an All-Panther Challenge selection, came up with a kill from Rachel Woody to bring EKU within one, 13-12. An attack error from the Colonels sparked a 7-1 run, 20-13, for the Panthers that Eastern Kentucky would be unable to recover from, dropping the set 16-25.
Nikki Drost led the Colonels with 10 kills, hitting .304 in match one. Johnson led the charge for the blockers with three in the match.
EKU fell to UCSB (1-11) by scores of 26-24, 16-25, 19-25 and 15-25.
The Colonels (2-12) came out strong in game two, jumping out to an immediate 4-1 lead. A bad set from EKU tied the score at 6-6, allowing the Gauchos to go toe-to-toe with the Colonels for the remainder of the set. The teams tied the score eight times throughout the set, but a service error from UCSB and a kill from Celina Sanks sealed the game for EKU, 26-24.
Sanks notched 14 kills for the Colonels while Drost notched a double-double with 11 kills and 10 digs.
Woody tallied 38 digs.
EKU opens Ohio Valley Conference play next weekend with two games in Nashville, Tennessee. They will play at Tennessee State University on Friday at 7 p.m.and at Belmont on Saturday at 3 p.m.