APSU Sports: Austin Peay Volleyball
Clarksville, TN – Fresh off a hard-fought five-set victory, Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team returns to Ohio Valley Conference action when it hosts Eastern Illinois in a 7:00pm, Friday contest followed by a 2:00pm, Saturday affair against SIU Edwardsville at the Dunn Center.
Austin Peay (10-12, 3-3 OVC West) will return to the floor less than 48 hours after posting a five-set victory against Middle Tennessee, Wednesday night. For the first time this season, the Lady Govs won after falling behind 2-0. Austin Peay battled back thanks to the record-breaking performance of senior outside hitter Nikki Doyle whose 34-kill performance broke a nearly decade old mark.
The Lady Govs enter this weekend’s matches tied for second in the OVC West race but tied for sixth in the overall conference race. They have split each of their first three conference weeks and have been unable to find a consistent winning formula in league play. However, Austin Peay has won two straight matches and seven of its last 10 overall.
Doyle has moved into the lead position among the OVC’s hitters, averaging 4.27 kills per set in league action. Sophomore Cami Fields also leads the league’s setters at 11.55 assists per set in OVC action.
“Nikki and Cami have stepped up their effort in conference play,” said Lady Govs head coach Taylor Mott. “We need a little more consistency from Nikki, but her performance against Middle Tennessee proved she is capable of taking over a match. Cami has worked hard on her craft all season and I believe we’re starting to see the dividends of that work as the season progresses.”
Eastern Illinois (4-15, 1-5 OVC West) picked up its first conference win with a four-set decision against Eastern Kentucky, last Saturday. The win snapped a 10-match losing streak that dated back to September 7th. It also was the second of two strong performances by the Panthers who took OVC East-leading Morehead State to five sets the previous day. Freshman Abby Saalfrank leads Eastern Illinois with 3.13 kills per set in conference play and ranks ninth among the league’s hitters.
SIU Edwardsville (7-10, 3-3 OVC West) also has split each of its first three conference weeks. The Cougars losses have come to OVC West-leading Southeast Missouri, OVC East-leading Morehead State and Belmont. Junior Kelsey Augustine has led SIU Edwardsville with 2.45 kills and 1.10 blocks per set in league action.