CHARLESTON -- All-around player Taylor Smith, a Mattoon graduate, from volleyball has been named the Eastern Illinois Female Senior Athlete of the Year for the 2018-19 academic year The award is presented by the athletic department to the top senior (completing their eligibility) for their athletic success during their Panther career and most recent academic year. A list of finalists is announced each April and then voted on following the conclusion of the athletic year.
Smith, a 6-0 outside hitter/setter, was one of the most versatile players in the nation as she could attack, set, block and defend in several positions for the Panthers team. She twice led the NCAA in triple-doubles for a season and finished second in the NCAA in that category as a senior. Smith was a two-time first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference selection during her career. As a senior she was a second team All-OVC pick as she slid around to help bolster a young team in a variety of positions during the year. Smith would finish her career with more than 800 kills, 1,900 assists, 1,100 digs and 250 blocks.
Smith was one of five finalists this year for the EIU Female Senior Athlete of the Year Award. She was joined on the list by Daphne Chang from golf, Pedra Hicks from track, Grace Lennox from basketball and Lauren Oostman from swimming. The winners of this year’s five EIU Athletic Awards included Smith (Female Senior Athlete of the Year), Alexander Hollins (Male Senior Athlete of the Year), Abby Wahl (Female Newcomer of the Year), Josiah Wallace (Male Newcomer of the Year) and Srishti Slaria (EIU Athletic Director’s Award – presented in April at the Senior Awards Banquet).
Smith was the 2016 EIU Female Newcome of the Year and in 2015 was on the Ohio Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year.
At Mattoon she played under Mark Jackley helping the Green Wave to a 31-9 Class 3A sectional championship team. Smith was a four-year starter and a three-time All-Apollo Conference player. She set a single season record for the most digs in a season with 378 and has school records in kills (1,218) an daces (178, including 49 her second year)
EIU's Papavasilopoulos selected to 2019 Oracel Master's Series
Eastern Illinois women’s tennis player Rachel Papavasilopoulos has been selected as one of 32 individuals that will compete at the 2019 Oracle Master’s Series this September in Malibu, Calif. The event features some of the top NCAA Division I collegiate players in the nation and will be played Sept. 26-29.
Papavasilopoulos was named the Ohio Valley Conference Women’s Tennis Player of the Year this past season as she posted a 19-3 record in the spring including a 7-1 record in OVC action. Papavasilopoulos was ranked 18th in the ITA Midwest Rankings at the end of the season as she added a 9-2 record in singles play in the fall which included a 1-1 record at the ITA Midwest Regional.
In doubles action Papavasilopoulos teamed most of the season with Srishti Slaria with the pair ranked 14th in the Midwest Region. She was 16-2 in doubles action with four matches during the season left unfinished.
Slaria was ranked 73rd in the final ITA Midwest Regional singles rankings while Abby Carpenter and Karla Contreras were ranked 79th in doubles in the region.
EIU baseball adds junior college pitcher
Eastern Illinois baseball head coach Jason Anderson has announced the addition of a right handed starting pitcher as the Panthers signed Lincoln Bowman as the 12th incoming player on the 2020 roster.
Bowman comes to EIU following a two-year stint at Roane State Community College in Tennessee where he played for coach Zach Sterner. Bowman played a big role for the Raiders pitching staff over the last two seasons as he started 23 games. He would work 107 innings on the mound posting 105 strikeouts.
“We are excited to add Lincoln to our program. He helps provide some depth to a competitive pitching staff for our 2020 season,” said Anderson. “He will bring with him two years of pitching experience in a very competitive region 7 junior college conference. Our coaches identified Lincoln early this spring and immediately recognized his fit and how he would help our program win an OVC Championship.”
The Panthers had two players recently selected in the 2019 MLB Draft including junior starting pitcher Michael YaSenka who was selected in the 17th round the St. Louis Cardinals.