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Southeast tops EIU in home finale
For seniors Emily Johnson, Emily Wahlman, Bobbi Carlile and Jessica Houpt, Friday night marked the final time they would pound spikes over the net at Houck Field House.
With an emotional sendoff before the game, Southeast and its four seniors wasted no time in dispensing Eastern Illinois 30-19, 30-18, 30-23.
"We wanted to play well for the seniors," Southeast coach Cindy Gannon said.
And play well they did, cruising in all three games. The Panthers were in each game for the first 10 points, but held their only lead in the third game.
Johnson got things going early, crushing several balls around, and sometimes through, the Panther blockers. Johnson picked up yet another double-double with 12 kills and 16 digs.
All of the seniors got into the act. Carlile banged out eight kills, Houpt had 11 and Wahlman added two kills and three aces.
Carlile said the seniors were focused for the match, and playing conference rival Eastern Illinois didn't hurt.
"We were all just ready," she said.
For Carlile the final home match didn't seem like such a big deal with tournament play right around the corner.
"It hasn't really set in yet," Carlile said.
Carlile said she would miss some of the familiarities of Houck though.
"It's always hot and it smells," she said smiling. "But it's the place to be."
After crushing Eastern in game two, the Otahkians had their hands full early in game three. The Panthers led at one point 8-6, but Southeast quickly regained the lead and pulled away by as many as eight points before it closed out the match 30-23.
Sarah Frost tied Johnson for the team lead in kills for the match with 12. Setter Emily Scannell had another solid night with 43 assists, seven kills and seven digs.
Carlile said the team really wanted to go into the tournament on a positive night, and that showed with their play.
"We're pretty confident right now," she said.
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