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Plybon’s career-best outing not enough as Lady Govs fall to UT Martin

 

APSU Sports Information: APSU Volleyball

Austin Peay State University GovernorsClarksville, TN – Freshman middle blocker Hillary Plybon finished with a career-high 17 kills but it wasn’t enough as Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team fell in four sets (24-26, 25-22, 19-25, 18-25) to UT Martin, Friday night, in Ohio Valley Conference action at the Dunn Center.

Austin Peay (6-16, 4-7 OVC) will wonder what could have been after splitting the first two sets. The Lady Govs actually had the first opportunity at set point, 24-23, but committed three consecutive errors – a ball handling mistake on set point, an attack error and a reception error – and allowed UT Martin to escape with a 26-24 victory. Plybon had a huge hand in the set, scoring eight of her kills in the frame, including back-to-back kills twice to keep the set at hand.

Freshman Hillary Plybon recorded a career-high 17 kills in the Lady Govs loss to UT Martin, Friday night. APSU Volleyball. (Courtesy: Keith Dorris/Dorris Photography)

Freshman Hillary Plybon recorded a career-high 17 kills in the Lady Govs loss to UT Martin, Friday night. APSU Volleyball. (Courtesy: Keith Dorris/Dorris Photography)

The Lady Govs opened the second set with five of the first seven points. But UT Martin (13-7, 8-2) put forth a massive 16-7 run to build an 18-12 lead. Austin Peay climbed back in to the set thanks to consecutive kills by senior Ilyanna Hernandez and junior Nikki Doyle which cut the deficit to 19-15 and forced a UTM timeout.

The stoppage stymied the Lady Govs momentarily but they found their stride again with sophomore Lauren Henderson scoring consecutive points to close the game to 21-19. Austin Peay tied the set, 21-21, on a UT Martin attack error. The Skyhawks scored the next point before Doyle, senior Kayla Grantham and Hernandez recorded kills in succession to end the set.

Hillary PlybonAfter the break, UT Martin dominated the action in the third and fourth sets as Austin Peay’s offense struggled. The Skyhawks broke out to a 14-4 lead and led the third set wire-to-wire but had to withstand a late Lady Govs charge before winning 25-19.

The fourth set was close early on with the teams exchanging the lead twice in the opening 11 points. UT Martin broke open the set with five consecutive points to build an 11-6 lead. Austin Peay would close within one point, 13-12, and force a UTM timeout but could not maintain the rally. UT Martin used a four consecutive points to build a safe lead en route to the 25-18 win.

Lauren HendersonIt was a night for the defenses with Austin Peay winning the back-row defensive battle by a narrow 100-98 margin  in digs while UT Martin won the front-row with a 10-9 block edge. The libero battle proved especially riveting with UTM’s Kasey Elswick, who ranks second nationally in digs, recording 12 third set digs and 38 total. Austin Peay senior Paige Economos matched her counterpart with a 13-dig first set and 33 digs overall.

Plybon and Henderson – the Lady Govs middle blocking duo – led the Lady Govs offense with 17 and 12 kills, respectively. Doyle added 12 kills to lead the outside hitter corps which had an off night. Austin Peay finished the night with 60 kills but only recorded a .132 attack percentage.

Nikki DoyleAshley Doherty and Kelly Hogan each had 13 kills to pace the Skyhawks offense. UT Martin recorded 54 kills in the win with a .216 attack percentage.

Austin Peay, which finished the five-game homestand with a 3-2 record, returns to the road for a pair of OVC contests next week, beginning with a 7:00pm, Friday contest at SIU Edwardsville.


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