APSU Women’s Volleyball
Charleston, IL – Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team shook off some early rust to post a come-from-behind four-set Ohio Valley Conference victory (17-25, 25-19, 25-21, 26-24) against Eastern Illinois, Friday night, at Lantz Arena.
Austin Peay (21-6, 12-4 OVC), which picked up second place the night before while idle, secured the second seed in the upcoming OVC Volleyball Championship with Friday’s victory. It is the second consecutive year the Lady Govs have finished second in the regular-season race.
However, Eastern Illinois (14-14, 6-9 OVC) made their visitors work for the victory. The Panthers picked up the opening set after taking a 5-4 lead courtesy a Lady Govs service error. EIU pushed the lead to four points, 12-8 after scoring three consecutive points and did not look back. Eastern Illinois’ Kylie Cavanah closed the set with consecutive service aces to post the 25-17 victory.
However, the Panthers could not carry that momentum forward into the second set. Austin Peay raced out to an 8-0 lead that was helped along by five EIU errors. The Lady Govs would eventually lead the set wire-to-wire, evening the match with a 25-19 victory.
The third set was a closer affair with 10 ties and two lead changes. Senior Sarah Alisaleh scored a kill and then went to the service line and served up an ace to give Austin Peay a 19-17 lead it would not relinquish. The Lady Govs would not gain a secure lead until a 3-1 run gave it a 24-20 lead. Senior Jessica Mollmann proved critical in the set, scoring six kills on seven attacks (.857 attack percentage), including a kill for set point.
Austin Peay seemed to have the fourth set well under control early. The Lady Govs opened with a 6-0 run and led by 10 points, 18-8, after a kill by freshman Lauren Henderson. But Eastern Illinois stormed back with a 15-5 run to tie the set, 23-23. That huge comeback was capped by six consecutive points with five kills by four different EIU hitters. Alisaleh would end the run with a kill to give APSU match point at 24-23. Eastern Illinois staved off that first match point with Alex Zwettler’s kill. Austin Peay would prevail after back-to-back kills by sophomore Nikki Doyle.
“This was an interesting match,” said Lady Govs head coach Haley Janicek. “Both teams battled when they were up and lost their composure when they were down. But we made an adjustment early and played more consistently. Our service, once again, changed the match. We were able to get EIU out of their system with our service game and gave ourselves a chance.”
Mollmann continued her excellent late-season play, finishing with a team-best 14 kills and an impressive .591 attack percentage. It is her fourth consecutive double-digit kill effort.
“Jessica once again played like a senior tonight,” said Janicek. “I could not have expected or asked more of her. She came up big offensively when we needed her most tonight.”
Eastern Illinois’ Zwettler led all hitters with 20 kills while posting a .298 attack percentage. The Panthers lost despite posting advantages in kills (57-53), digs (71-70) and blocks (10-8) while limiting its service errors (9-11).
Austin Peay closes out the road portion of its 2010 slate with a 5:00pm, Saturday contest at Southeast Missouri.