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Lady Govs searching for streak-busting victory

APSU Sports Information: APSU Volleyball

Austin Peay State University Lady GovsClarksville, TN – Austin Peay’s volleyball team returns to action with three Ohio Valley Conference matches in a four-day span while seeking to end an eight-match losing streak. The Lady Govs begin that search with a 6:00pm, Friday outing at Jacksonville State before traveling to Tennessee Tech for a 2:00pm, Saturday contest. Austin Peay will return home to begin a five-match home stand with a 6:00pm, Monday matchup with Eastern Kentucky.

Austin Peay begins a stretch of three matches in four days with a Friday OVC contest at Jacksonville State. (Courtesy: Robert Smith/The Leaf-Chronicle)
Austin Peay begins a stretch of three matches in four days with a Friday OVC contest at Jacksonville State. (Courtesy: Robert Smith/The Leaf-Chronicle)

The Lady Govs saw their current losing streak reach eight after dropping its two home contests last weekend. Austin Peay dropped a four-set decision to Eastern Illinois before suffering a disappointing five-set loss to SIU Edwardsville.

Against the Cougars, Austin Peay led 2-1 after a dominating, 25-14, third-set win but SIUE won the final two sets to escape with the win.

Ilyanna Hernandez“It comes down to finding a way to win,” said Lady Govs head coach Bill Egbert. “We are putting ourselves in a position to be successful but when the opportunity is there we aren’t finding a way to get the kills we need to win.”

Senior outside hitter Ilyanna Hernandez has led the Lady Govs during OVC play so far, recording a team-best 62 kills (3.65 kps). That total includes a career-high 25-kill performance against SIU Edwardsville that also was the first 20-kill performance by any APSU hitter this season. Hernandez owns the top two kill performances this season, earlier recording 17 kills at Eastern Kentucky.

Nikki DoyleHowever, the Lady Govs have struggled offensively in conference play. Hernandez has led the charge but she only is being supported by junior outside hitter Nikki Doyle (53 kills, 3.12 per set), sophomore Lauren Henderson (40 kills, 2.35 per set) and freshman Hillary Plybon (34 kills, 2.00 per set). No other Lady Govs hitter has posted more than 10 kills in four OVC matches.

“I am concerned our offense has been unbalanced in conference play,” Egbert said. “We really only have four hitters we can turn to right now and our opponents are figuring that out. We need one or two of our other hitters to find their touch and give our opponents someone else to worry about.”

Lauren HendersonJacksonville State (4-10, 2-2 OVC) is one of four OVC teams with two conference wins this season. The Gamecocks most recently won a five-set contest at Murray State, Saturday, after falling in four sets at Southeast Missouri. Senior Stephanie Koontz recorded 35 kills in the two contests, including a career-high 19 kills against Murray State. She ranks ninth among conference hitters in league play with 3.44 kills per set.

Tennessee Tech (1-13, 0-4 OVC) has lost its last five outings, including both ends of its Murray State-Southeast Missouri road trip last weekend. The Golden Eagles have struggled this season with just nine set wins in 14 matches (.180 set win percentage). Freshman Ellen Canti had 19 kills in last weekend’s two matches to lead the TTU offense. Tennessee Tech’s offense has been held to a .128 attack percentage this season and is averaging less than 10 kills per set.

Hillary PlybonEastern Kentucky (7-8, 2-2 OVC) will visit the Dunn Center at the tail end of a three-game road trip that takes them to Eastern Illinois and SIU Edwardsville over the weekend. The Lady Colonels opened OVC play with a four-set victory against the Lady Govs, September 16th, but are 1-2 since. Sophomore Ashley Edmond and freshman Hannah Burkle each had 16 kills in EKU’s five-set victory against UT Martin, Saturday. Edmond ranks fifth among OVC hitters with 3.30 kills per set, just behind APSU’s Doyle (3.43 kills per set).


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