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Lady Govs return to OVC play with crucial road trip

 

APSU Women’s Volleyball

Austin Peay State University GovernorsClarksville, TN – Two dangerous opponents await Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team as they return to Ohio Valley Conference play, Friday and Saturday. The Lady Govs will travel to Tennessee Tech for a 7:00pm, Friday contest before visiting defending OVC champion Jacksonville State in a 2:00pm, Saturday match. Both matches can be seen on OVCSports.tv, the league’s live streaming video site.

Austin Peay (11-2, 2-0 OVC) will look to bounce back from a three-set loss to Lipscomb, Tuesday, in Clarksville. It was the Lady Govs first loss since losing to Mississippi State, August 27th – the season’s first day. Austin Peay’s offense had a particularly bad night, as Lipscomb held it to a season-low .114 attack percentage. Sophomore Nikki Doyle, the OVC “Offensive Player of the Week,” led the Lady Govs with 10 kills.

Head coach Haley Janicek (center) and the Lady Govs travel to Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State this weekend. (Courtesy: Robert Smith/The Leaf-Chronicle)

Head coach Haley Janicek (center) and the Lady Govs travel to Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State this weekend. (Courtesy: Robert Smith/The Leaf-Chronicle)

“I believe what happened against Lipscomb was a good lesson for the team to learn,” said Lady Govs head coach Haley Janicek. “I’d rather learn that lesson in non-conference play than against a conference opponent. We had a good week of practice and we’ll see how the team responds to a loss like that. I believe it will give them a little more motivation to push themselves. We can’t afford to allow ourselves to get too comfortable.”

Doyle leads the OVC’s hitters with 162 kills (3.86 kills per set). The Lady Govs also feature three hitters among the league’s top 10 in attack percentage: senior Taylor Skinner (2nd/.322), senior Jessica Mollman (6th/.265) and junior Kayla Grantham (10th/.255).

The Lady Govs will try to rebound at two sites that have not been welcoming in the past. Austin Peay is 9-25 all-time at the Eblen Center and has only won twice in its last six visits there. Meanwhile, the Lady Govs are only 2-5 all-time at Jacksonville State since it joined the league with one win in the last five tries at Mathews Coliseum.

“We have to make sure our heads are in the right place this weekend,” said Janicek. “Tennessee Tech has done some good things in the past and Jacksonville State has proven to be one of the best programs in the league. We have to go in with the right mindset, knowing it’s going to be a battle. If we play our style of volleyball and we’re consistent and disciplined, I believe we’ll do good things.”

Tennessee Tech (2-11, 0-2) returns home after suffering conference losses at Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee Tech last weekend. The losses extended the Golden Eagles losing streak to seven matches, dating back to a September 3rd victory against Northwestern State at the Samford Invitational. Tennessee Tech’s only other victory came in Cookeville when it downed Belmont in four sets, August 31st.

The Tennessee Tech offense enters the weekend ranked fifth in attack percentage (.175) but 10th in kills (10.72 per set). Additionally, the Golden Eagle defense is ranked 10th in both opponents attack percentage (.256) and digs (12.96).

Senior Leah Meffert leads Tennessee Tech’s offense with 125 kills (2.98 kills per set) this season, including 24 kills (3.43 kills per set) in last weekend’s two matches. Senior Marie Peddicord has chipped in 101 kills and a team-best .258 attack percentage this season, ranking seventh in attack percentage.

Jacksonville State (6-7, 1-1) split its OVC-opening weekend matches, falling in four sets at preseason-favorite Morehead State before winning in four sets at Eastern Kentucky. The Gamecocks have two wins in their last seven matches entering this weekend’s contests.

The Gamecocks offensive numbers are deceptive, as they rank seventh in attack percentage (.175) and fifth in kills (12.62 kills per set) this season. However, JSU opened OVC play with a .231 attack percentage (fifth-best) and averaged 13.88 kills per set (fifth-best).

Jacksonville State’s defense may be the tougher challenge, entering the weekend as the league’s best and limiting opponents to a .161 attack percentage – slightly better than the Lady Govs’ second-place .166 mark in the same category.

Caitlin Vorbeck leads Jacksonville State’s offense with 144 kills (3.20 kills per set) while Kara Slater has 109 kills (2.42 kills per set) while posting a team-best .257 attack percentage.


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