Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team dropped its second straight Ohio Valley conference match at the Dunn Center, Oct. 26th, as the Eastern Illinois State University Panthers defeated the Lady Govs 3-1, by scores of 25-20, 25-27, 25-22, 25-19.
The back-to-back losses are the first for the Lady Govs (9-17, 6-4 OVC West) since they dropped results to the University of Memphis and Jacksonville State University on Sept. 21st and 27th.
It was also the first back-to-back conference losses at home since Oct. 14th and 25th, 2011, when they fell to Southeast Missouri and Tennessee Martin.
Game 1 of the match started off as a back-and-fourth affair, as the two teams were tied seven times early on – including for the last time at 11-11 on a kill by Lady Govs Jada Stotts.
But Eastern Illinois (13-10, 7-3 OVC West) would follow that kill with a 6-0 run to go up 17-11, aided by three attack errors by Austin Peay to go along with one service return error.
The Lady Govs would rally back, getting to within two points, 19-17, as they put together a 4-0 run – highlighted by two kills and an ace by Stotts.
But that would be as close as the Lady Govs would get the rest of the way in the opener, with EIU answering right back with a 4-0 run of its own on the way to taking a 1-0 lead, 25-20.
Game 2 would see the Lady Govs get out quickly, as they got out to a 6-2 lead behind two kills and a block by Lauren Henderson along with kills by Stotts and Sammie Ebright.
The Panthers would rally to tie the game for the first time 7-7 on a kill by Reynae Hutchinson, followed by a back-and-fourth series of points between the two teams with ties at 9-9 and 10-10.
Eastern Illinois would then take its first lead of the second game 11-10 on an attack error by Austin Peay and would build that lead out to as many as five points, at 17-12.
But Austin Peay would score four of the next five points – including two kills by Stotts — to cut the Panthers advantage back to just two points, 18-16.
That rally by the Lady Govs seemed to rattle the Panthers, as they recorded three attack errors in four attempts, followed by a kill by Ebright, to have the game tied for the first time since 10-10 at 22-22.
It would be a dogfight from then on, as the two teams traded points, with tied coming at 23-23, 24-24 and 25-25.
But Eastern Illinois would be the first to blink, as Austin Peay got a kill from Liz Landon to go up 26-25, followed by an attack error by the Panthers to give the Lady Govs a 27-25 Game 2 win and even the match 1-1.
Unlike the second game, Game 3 would see the Panthers sprint out to an 8-2 lead, forcing a timeout by the Lady Govs.
Whatever coach Taylor Mott told them during the timeout worked, as the Lady Govs stormed back to take their first lead of the game 12-11 on a kill by Stotts.
Both teams would dig in after that, with the two teams tying three times, including the last time at 15-15.
The Panthers would take the lead for good, 16-15, on a kill by Abby Saalfrank, as they held on for a three-point win and take a 2-1 games lead.
Eastern Illinois would wrap out the match by taking the fourth game, as the Panthers broke open an early 3-3 tie with a 5-0 run, with the Lady Govs never getting any closer than three points the rest of the way.
Overall, the Lady Govs struggled with their offense attack, hitting for a .117 attack percentage, despite being led by Henderson’s 15 kills, Stotts’ 13 kills and Ebright’s nine.
Eastern Illinois, who finished with a .197 attack percentage, was led by Hutchinson’s match-high 19 kills – while Stephanie Arnold and Amy Martin added 11 kills each.
Austin Peay will return to action on Oct. 29th, 7:00p.m., as they continue its homestand versus Tennessee State.