Starkville, MS – Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team wrapped up its stay with a pair of victories, Saturday, at the Mississippi State Maroon Classic. The Lady Govs defeated Arkansas-Little Rock, 3-2 (21-25, 25-15, 25-20, 23-25, 15-8), in the morning’s contest before posting a three-set sweep (25-22, 25-12, 25-17) of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the nightcap.
Austin Peay (3-1) used a balanced scoring attack in the day’s first contest against UALR, with four players reaching double-digit kill territory. Sophomore outside hitter Nikki Doyle led all hitters with 19 kills, senior middle blocker Taylor Skinner and junior outside hitter Ilyanna Hernandez each added 15 kills and junior outside hitter Kayla Grantham chipped in 10 kills.Arkansas-Little Rock (0-3) grabbed the first set by capitalizing on four straight Austin Peay attack errors en route to a 7-1 lead which it held on to for the first set victory. The second set was a close affair until the Lady Govs used runs of 6-0 and 7-1 to break the set open and run to a 25-15 victory, tying the match.
After the break, UALR and APSU were again locked up in a tight battle but the Lady Govs scored eight straight points to turn a 11-13 deficit into a 19-13 lead.
The Trojans would close to within three points, 23-20, but the Lady Govs were able to get the match’s last two points to seal the victory. Austin Peay also was the first to 23 points in the fourth set but committed a pair of attack errors to allow UALR to battle back from a 23-22 deficit to win 25-23.
In the decisive fifth set, the Trojans led 7-6 but watched APSU score four-straight points to take a 10-7 lead and finally score a match-ending five straight points.
The day’s second match saw the Lady Govs hold onto their control into the late stages of each set. Hernandez’ three-straight kills in the opening set gave APSU a 9-5 lead then Doyle’s three straight kills pushed the lead to 13-7. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi would make a late run – closing to within two points, 20-18, but Austin Peay would hold on for the 25-22 victory.
The second set was a runaway affair with the Lady Govs jumping out to a 9-3 lead and later holding a 19-9 advantage en route to the 25-15 victory. The third set was more of the same as APSU raced out to 9-3 lead again and pushed the advantage all the way to 22-11 before closing the match with a 25-17 victory.
Doyle finished with 15 kills against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and finished the Maroon Classic with a team-best 60 kills (4.29 kills per set). Skinner chipped in 10 kills.
Austin Peay’s service game was particularly impressive Saturday, recording 15 service aces against UALR and 12 against TAMCC to finish the tournament with 37 service aces. Hernandez led the Lady Govs with nine aces while Skinner served up eight aces. Both Grantham and junior libero Paige Economos each had seven aces.
Austin Peay returns to action next weekend at the IUPUI Hampton Inn Invitational with contests Saturday and Sunday.