APSU Sports Information: APSU Volleyball
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team begins a critical four-match Ohio Valley Conference road trip with two league outings this weekend. The Lady Govs will face the two teams currently tied for second place in the standings, first a 7:00pm, Friday contest at Tennessee State, followed by a 2:00pm, Saturday contest at UT Martin.Two weeks remain in the OVC’s regular-season race and Austin Peay continues to find itself in the middle of the hunt for one of six coveted spots in the upcoming OVC tournament. The Lady Govs (7-9 OVC) are in seventh-place, one game behind Eastern Kentucky and Murray State, which are tied for fifth place at 8-8. However, the bigger picture finds five teams separated by three games in the standings – ranging from second place to eighth place.
Austin Peay won’t be able to sneak up on either of its opponents this week after sweeping the OVC’s weekly volleyball honors. Junior Nikki Doyle, the league’s Offensive Player of the Week, enters the weekend ranked third among league hitters with 3.51 kills per set while posting a .237 attack percentage. Freshman Cami Fields, the OVC Setter of the Week, ranks second among all conference setters with 10.35 assists per set. Senior Paige Economos closed out the sweep with OVC Defensive Player of the Week honors and now ranks third with 4.97 digs per set.
“Nikki, Cami and Paige had great weeks last week,” said Lady Govs head coach Bill Egbert. “We need that effort from everyone as we make the push for the tournament over the next two weeks. We will play quality opponents in their home gyms the rest of the way so we have to up our game to match the importance of the contests.”
Tennessee State (15-9, 10-6 OVC) sits in second place largely on the strength of a 7-2 OVC record at Kean Hall. The Lady Tigers are closing out a four-match homestand, going 2-1 in the previous three matches, including a five-set victory against Lipscomb, Tuesday. Austin Peay won the first meeting between the two teams in three sets, October 11th, but Egbert is wary of this week’s meeting with Tennessee State.
“I am 100 percent sure that we didn’t see the best of Tennessee State when we played them here,” said Egbert. “I also know they are a completely different team playing in front of their home crowd. Throw in that it’s their Senior Night and we’re going to have our hands full if we don’t come ready to play in an exciting atmosphere.”
UT Martin (15-11, 10-6 OVC) also has been strong on its home court, posting a 7-4 record at Skyhawk Fieldhouse this season. The Skyhawks have faltered in the past two weekends, losing three of their four contests, with two of those losses coming on the road. UT Martin will seek the season sweep of Austin Peay after winning the season’s first meeting in four sets, October 14th.
“Plain and simple UT Martin outplayed us the first time we met this season,” Egbert said. “But I also know we are a better team now than we were then. We have made a lot of strides forward in our offensive game plan and I expect our match Saturday will be a hard-fought battle between two good teams.”