APSU Sports Information: APSU Volleyball
Clarksville, TN – With a pair of confidence-building victories in hand, Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team will continue its five-match home stand with a pair of weekend Ohio Valley Conference contests.
The Lady Govs host second-place Southeast Missouri in a 7:00pm, Friday contest before meeting fourth-place Murray State at 2:00pm, Saturday. Both contests will be played at the Dunn Center.The Lady Govs snapped a nine-match losing streak with consecutive victories at Tennessee Tech, last Saturday, and against Eastern Kentucky, Monday. Austin Peay posted its season’s first three-set sweep at Tennessee Tech but may have found more confidence in a hard-fought five set victory against Eastern Kentucky.
“We’re still working on our consistency within a match,” said Lady Govs head coach Bill Egbert. “I was impressed with the way with fought against Eastern Kentucky. We showed a lot of heart and determination with a short bench. Hopefully we can carry the momentum of those two wins forward into the next four home matches.”
Freshman outside hitter Jada Stotts was a pleasant surprise against Eastern Kentucky, filling in on the right side as junior Alex Sain and senior Kayla Grantham – the regular starters at the position – missed the game due to illness and injury, respectively. Stotts responded well to her second collegiate start, posting a career-best 13 kills with a .414 attack percentage. She led an offensive effort that saw four players finish the match with 10 or more kills.
Stotts 13-kill outing made her the sixth Lady Govs hitter to record a 10-plus kill outing this season. Junior outside hitter Nikki Doyle, who ranks fourth among OVC hitters with 3.43 kills per set, has 17 of the team’s 37 10-kill outings this season. Senior outside hitter Ilyanna Hernandez, who is averaging 2.86 kills per set, has nine 10-kill performances.
“I believe our consistency will improve as we become more balanced offensively,” said Egbert. “If we can get a couple of other hitters to be a threat it will make life easier for all of our hitters. Right now, teams know they only have to worry about Nikki and Ilyanna. We need to give our opponents someone else to think about.”
Southeast Missouri (7-11, 5-2 OVC) has been an surprise early in the OVC race as first-year head coach Julie Folliard has her squad second in the OVC race after three weeks. The Redhawks were picked ninth in the league’s preseason poll after finishing the 2010 campaign with a 4-14 conference mark. Junior outside hitter Karlee Lursen has been a large part of SEMO’s resurgence, leading the team with 3.40 kills per set in OVC action after finishing last season with 2.11 kills per set.
Murray State (4-14, 4-3 OVC) enters the weekend in a five-team logjam for fourth place. The Racers went winless through their non-conference slate but have won four of their seven OVC contests. Murray State features a formidable one-two punch with senior middle blocker Teresa Krog and junior outside hitter Cassy Woolverton. Krog leads the team with 3.79 kills per set in OVC play while posting a .249 attack percentage. Woolverton has seen her production jump in conference action, averaging 3.24 kills per set in league play after posting just 2.43 kills per set in non-conference action.
Season Notables To Date
After finishing the 2010 campaign ranked second nationally in service aces per set (2.06 saps), Austin Peay has not been nearly as dangerous from the serving line in 2011, entering the weekend ranked 316th (0.75 saps) out of 322 Division I teams.
Besides Doyle (17) and Hernandez (nine), the other Lady Govs players with 10 or more kills in a match this season are freshman middle blocker Hillary Plybon (five), senior outside hitter Kayla Grantham (three), sophomore middle blocker Lauren Henderson (two) and freshman outside hitter Jada Stotts (one).
Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Henderson ranks fifth among the league’s blockers, averaging 0.87 blocks per set. Only three Lady Govs players have ended the season averaging at least one block per set, the last being Jaimie Thill (1.01 bps in 2004).
Freshman setter Cami Fields continues to do on the job learning and ranks third among the league’s setters with 10.06 assists per set and is one of only two freshmen – along with Eastern Kentucky’s Abbey Cvelbar – ranked among the league’s top 10.