Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team will get a clean slate as it opens Ohio Valley Conference play with a 7:00pm, Friday road contest at Jacksonville State before a 2:00pm, Saturday affair at Tennessee Tech that will wrap up a season-opening 17-match road trip.Austin Peay (3-12) will have the opportunity to start anew after a rough nonconference slate.
The trip through the season’s early schedule was made all the more difficult with the loss of junior Jada Stotts, a preseason All-OVC selection who has missed the last 10 matches after suffering a lower body injury, September 6th.
However, Stotts should be available for this weekend’s matches – an addition that should inject a dose of much-needed offense.
“Getting Jada back would be a big lift for our team entering conference play,” said Lady Govs head coach Taylor Mott. “Still, without her we discovered quite a bit about ourselves. We had several players step up offensively and make a difference. While we’re not happy about our record, this weekend is a clean slate and we have to go out and play Austin Peay volleyball.”
Senior Calyn Hull has been the Lady Govs biggest contributor during Stott’s absence. She enters conference play ranked 10th among OVC hitters with 3.04 kills per set (164 total kills).
In addition, senior Calyn Hull has continued her steady improvement. Last weekend, she posted 10 service aces and 10 blocks and enters league action leading the team with 24 aces and 31 blocks. Henderson ranks second among the league’s servers in aces per set (0.44) and has recorded a league-best 24 total service aces.
Scouting the Opposition
Jacksonville State Gamecocks
Jacksonville State (7-8) enters the weekend with a win in five of its last seven outings. The Gamecocks posted a 1-3 record at the Tennessee Invitational, last weekend. They stunned host Tennessee with a five-set victory after dropping three-set decisions to Coastal Carolina and Georgia Tech.
The Gamecocks did not drop a set in a four-match sweep through the Alabama State tournament, September 13th-14th. Sophomore Emily Rutherford leads JSU with 3.22 kills per set, ranking sixth among the league’s hitters.
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles
Tennessee Tech (4-6) returns to action after a nearly two-week layoff. The Golden Eagles last action was the Kennesaw State Tournament, September 13th-14th, where they posted a 1-3 record with a five-set win against Stony Brook and losses to Kennesaw State, Coastal Carolina and Samford. Tennessee Tech will open league action against Murray State, Friday, before hosting Austin Peay.
Under first-year head coach Dave Zelenock, TTU has been a balanced offense squad with four players averaging more than two kills per set. Senior Elise Robertson leads that quartet with 98 kills (2.65 per set). Sophomore Cody Dodd and her league-leading 0.46 service aces per set paces the league’s best serving squad (1.62 service aces per set).
Last season’s meeting and series histories
Jacksonville State posted a four-set victory at Austin Peay in the 2012 OVC opener for both teams. In a match moved to the Memorial Health Building due to a power outage, JSU’s Rutherford posted 19 kills to lead all hitters, while APSU’s Henderson led the home cause with 16 kills. The Gamecocks lead the series by a 13-11 margin and have won five of the last seven meetings.
Austin Peay bounced back from that loss to Jacksonville State with a four-set victory against Tennessee Tech in the Dunn Center. Stotts led Austin Peay with 18 kills and was one of four hitters to record more than 10 kills. Natalie Penrod led Tennessee Tech with 14 kills, but was the only TTU player to reach double-digit territory. Tennessee Tech leads the all-time series, 44-32, including a 25-12 edge in Cookeville. However, Austin Peay has won the last eight meetings in the series.
See it on the Web
Fans can follow the Austin Peay-Jacksonville State volleyball match with live statistics available courtesy the Jacksonville State athletics department… the Lady Govs contest at Tennessee Tech will be available via ipTV nationally for free at OVCDigitalNetwork.com with live statistics also available – both provided by the Tennessee Tech athletics department.