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Austin Peay State University’s Lady Govs Volleyball to travel to Illinois

 

Austin Peay State University Sports Information: APSU Volleyball

Austin Peay State University Lady GovsClarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team will look to begin a late-season charge when it travels to Illinois for a pair of Ohio Valley Conference matches. The Lady Govs will meet SIU Edwardsville in a 7:00pm, Friday contest at the Vadalabene Center before traveling to Eastern Illinois for a 6:00pm, Saturday contest at Lantz Arena.

Austin Peay (6-16, 4-7 OVC) has won four of its six October matches to climb out of the league’s cellar and move within one game of sixth place – the final spot in the OVC Volleyball Championship – with nine matches remaining in the OVC regular-season race. The Lady Govs will need to begin their move soon to make the tournament and look towards this weekend’s matches, against two teams around them in the standings, to start a late-season charge.

Freshman setter Cami Fields ranks second among OVC setters in assists per set (11.11) in league play this season. Austin Peay travels to SIU Edwardsville and Eastern Illinois this weekend. (Mateen Sidiq/Austin Peay State University)

Freshman setter Cami Fields ranks second among OVC setters in assists per set (11.11) in league play this season. Austin Peay travels to SIU Edwardsville and Eastern Illinois this weekend. (Mateen Sidiq/Austin Peay State University)

“We have played better volleyball in the last month,” said Lady Govs head coach Bill Egbert. “We still have moments where we show some inconsistency, but this group is coming together at the right time. We have an opportunity this weekend to maintain our momentum on the road.”

It will be Austin Peay’s second meeting against both SIU Edwardsville and Eastern Illinois. The Lady Govs lost close matches to both squads in September, falling to Eastern Illinois in four sets before dropping a five-set decision to SIU Edwardsville.

Nikki DoyleThe Lady Govs have become a more consistent offensive squad during October, primarily through a more-balanced attack. Five players have averaged more than two kills per set during the month – junior outside hitter Nikki Doyle leading the effort with 3.57 kills per set. Two freshmen also have figured prominently in the offense: middle blocker Hillary Plybon (2.61 kills per set) and outside hitter Jada Stotts (2.22 kills per set).

“More hitters have gotten involved in our offense and that has made it tougher for opposing defenses to key on any one player,” said Egbert. “Nikki and Ilyanna (Hernandez) have seen their offensive production improve as we have become more balanced offensively. That balance will be crucial as we make our way through the rest of the regular season.”

Cami FieldsAnother key to the Lady Govs recent success has been the play of freshman setter Cami Fields. Austin Peay’s lone setter this season, she had an inconsistent start to the season but has begun to find her form in the season’s latter stages. In October, she has averaged 11.57 assists and 2.78 digs per set while throwing in 17 kills in 23 sets. In OVC play this season, Fields ranks second among the league setters with 11.11 assists per set, only trailing league-leading Morehead State setter Caitlin Clark.

“Cami has really made strides this season,” Egbert said. “She didn’t let the rough start get her down, if anything she has worked harder to understand what we are asking of her. Cami has learned her craft on the court and our hitters are starting to reap the rewards of her work.”

Hillary PlybonSIU Edwardsville (8-15, 3-8 OVC) followed its victory against Austin Peay, Sept. 24, with a six-match losing streak. The Cougars snapped that stretch in its last outing, Saturday, with a five-set victory against Jacksonville State. Despite its ninth-place league standing, SIUE is not a team to be overlooked as it has been swept only once in 11 conference matches. SIU Edwardsvile also features a balanced offensive effort with eight players each averaging more than one kill per set. Sophomore middle blocker Kelsey Augustine leads the team with 207 kills (2.23 kills per set) and a .307 attack percentage.

Ilyanna HernandezEastern Illinois (6-16, 4-7 OVC) has won its last three matches, winning both ends of its Jacksonville State-Tennessee Tech road trip, last weekend, before downing Illinois-Chicago in non-conference action, Monday. Sophomore outside hitter Reynae Hutchinson leads the team with 3.15 kills per set (214 kills) and a .215 attack percentage. Junior outside hitter Emily Franklin also has proven to be a consistent scoring threat with a team best 237 kills (2.93 kills per set).

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