Clarksville, TN – A pair of familiar foes will visit the Dunn Center when Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team hosts SIU Edwardsville and Eastern Illinois in a pair of Ohio Valley Conference matches. The Lady Govs face the Cougars in a 7:00pm, Friday contest before a Noon, Saturday contest against Eastern Illinois.
With the two matches, Austin Peay (9-15, 6-2 OVC West) begins a five-match homestand over the next 12 days that will conclude the home portion of its schedule.
More importantly, the Lady Govs begin the second half of OVC play. APSU enters the second half second in the overall OVC race – two games behind Morehead State – and lead the West Division by one game over Eastern Illinois.
This weekend’s opponents will be familiar, coming a week after Austin Peay traveled to EIU and SIUE last weekend and split the two contests. The Lady Govs led 2-0 at Eastern Illinois only to surrender that lead in a five-set loss. The next day, Austin Peay dropped the opening set at SIU Edwardsville but bounced back to win the match in four sets.
“Playing the same opponents back-to-back is one of the more difficult parts of our schedule,” said Lady Govs head coach Taylor Mott. “We didn’t have our best outings when we faced these two teams last weekend. I believe we will take what we learned and be ready for what these teams will throw at us this weekend.”
Senior Lauren Henderson was last weekend’s impact player, recording 25 kills (2.78 per set) at a .339 attack percentage while leading the team with 12 blocks (1.33 per set). She remains second among league blockers with 1.24 blocks per set in league action.
Meanwhile, junior Jada Stotts will look to build on her performance at SIUE where she posted a team best 18 kills and a .326 attack percentage. It was an impressive bounce back performance after her struggles at Eastern Illinois where she had 10 kills and 11 attack errors in the five set match.
“Lauren continues to just plug away,” said Mott. “Everytime out she gives us a front-row presence both in her attack and her block that causes other teams a lot of problems. Jada battled at Eastern Illinois but I was more impressed that she showed a lot of heart with the way she bounced back against SIUE. We need both of them playing their best volleyball as we head into the second half of conference play.”
Scouting the Opposition
SIU Edwardsville (8-13, 4-4 OVC West) split its two OVC outings last weekend, defeating Murray State in four sets before falling to Austin Peay. The Cougars have split their two OVC matches in each of the season’s first four weeks.
The Cougars will be looking to bounce back from an uncharacteristic defensive outing against the Lady Govs. SIUE allowed Austin Peay to post a .338 attack percentage in their previous meeting, the highest mark it has allowed in league play this season. The Cougars will turn to junior Chelsea Colclasure, who is second among OVC liberos with 5.21 digs per set, to lead the defensive effort Friday.
Eastern Illinois (11-10, 5-3 OVC West) improved to 4-0 at home after winning its two OVC home matches last weekend, defeating APSU in five sets before downing Murray State in four sets. The Panthers return to the road this weekend where they are just 2-6 in 2013.
EIU leads all OVC teams with 14.36 kills per set and it ranks fourth among OVC teams in attack percentage (.215) during league play. After a 22-kill effort against the Lady Govs and a 14-kill performance against the Racers, senior Reynae Hutchinson improved her league lead in kills, moving up to 3.94 kills per set in league action.
Austin Peay’s now has a three-match win streak against SIUE after last week’s win in Edwardsville. The Lady Govs lead the all-time series 7-3 and leads the OVC series between the two teams, 3-2.
With Eastern Illinois win in Charleston last weekend, the home team has won the last three meetings in the Austin Peay-Eastern Illinois series. The Panthers also gained an 18-17 edge in the all-time series, but Austin Peay holds a 10-6 advantage in matches played at the Dunn Center.
On the Web
Both matches this weekend will be available on the OVC Digital Sports Network, the OVC’s free nationwide ipTV service. In addition, live statistics for each match can be seen by visiting LetsGoPeay.com – Austin Peay’s official athletics website.