Starkville, MS – Sophomore outside hitter Nikki Doyle made quite the impression in her first appearance, her 15-kill performance leading Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team to a three-set sweep (25-12, 25-20, 25-23) of Montana, Friday afternoon, at the Mississippi State Maroon Classic.
Doyle, who missed last season due to an injury after transferring from UC Santa Barbara, recorded a match-best 15 kills and finished with a .286 attack percentage in her first match as a Lady Gov.
Austin Peay (1-0) jumped out to an eight-point lead, 13-5, in their first full rotation of the first set. Doyle then scored three of the Lady Govs next four points, extending the lead to 10 points, 17-7. Austin Peay would close the set by scoring eight of the next 13 points to post a 25-12 victory.The Lady Govs raced out to an early 13-6 lead in the second set. However, Montana (1-1) recovered and used a 6-3 run to force an Austin Peay timeout at 16-12. The lead would shrink to two points, 16-14, before APSU could regain control. The Lady Govs would not regain a comfortable margin, but took advantage of three consecutive set-ending Grizzlies errors to post the 25-20 victory.
The third set was vastly different from the first two as Montana and Austin Peay traded the lead nine times in the set. The Grizzlies led by a 19-17 margin late in the set before the Lady Govs posted a 5-1 run to take a 22-20 lead. Montana then followed with three straight points to take the 23-22 advantage, but would not score again in the set. Doyle ended the MU run with a kill and junior libero Paige Economos followed with a service ace to set up match point, 24-23. Austin Peay won the set courtesy a Montana attack error.
Junior outside hitter Ilyanna Hernandez added eight kills and senior middle blocker Taylor Skinner chipped in six kills. Defensively, Skinner led the Lady Govs with four kills while Economos had a team-high 13 digs.
Jamie Thibeault led Montana with eight kills, nearly a third of the team’s 25-kill output.
Austin Peay continues its stay at the MSU Maroon Classic with a 7:30pm contest against host Mississippi State.