Austin Peay Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – A final four match homestand for Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team starts with two opportunities for revenge as it hosts SIU Edwardsville and Eastern Illinois in Ohio Valley Conference contests.
The Lady Govs face Eastern Illinois in a 6:00pm, Friday contest before meeting SIUE in a 2:00pm, Saturday affair at the Dunn Center.Austin Peay (11-13, 5-3 OVC) returns home after a disappointing four-match road trip that saw it win one match. Five-set losses to both SIUE and Eastern Illinois opened that road trip, losses the Lady Govs have an opportunity to recover with this weekend’s action.
Despite the poor road trip, Austin Peay remains in the hunt for the regular-season crown, its 5-3 record at the halfway point is just two games behind league-leading Murray State – a team APSU beat earlier this season. In its final eight matches, APSU will play four of the five teams it is tied with or behind in the standings.
In order to make its season-ending push, Austin Peay will have to shore up its passing, which was a key factor in each of its three losses. The Lady Govs poor passing showed in two key ways during the road trip.
First, Austin Peay was charged with 16 total reception errors in the matches at SIUE and EIU, its highest two-match total since the season’s second week.
In addition, Austin Peay’s offense had two of its worst performances of the year, including a .112 mark at Belmont, Saturday, which was its lowest mark since September 12th.
“We have preached good passing all season,” said Lady Govs head coach Taylor Mott. “Good passing is important for our offense to stay in system and when we’re in system we have proven we’re tough to beat. I believe our problems during the road trip came down to intensity and focus. We weren’t able to maintain either for long periods of time, but that is something we can control. I expect us to do a better job of maintaining both during this homestand.”
Austin Peay has enjoyed a home-court advantage this season, posting a 4-1 record at the Dunn Center. That record includes an unblemished 4-0 mark in conference play, including two three-set sweeps.
“Winning at home is always key when you’re competing for a conference championship,” said Mott. “We had fantastic crowds during our first homestand and I believe our fans were important in each of those matches. This next stretch of four home matches is just as important and I’m hopeful our fans will show up and support us.”
The following day, Austin Peay will hold its Faculty/Staff Appreciation contest and will recognize members of the APSU community prior to the start of the match. After the match, the Lady Govs will host a free volleyball clinic presented by Academy Sports open to all children eighth-grade and younger.
Lady Govs to Watch
Freshman outside hitter Ashley Slay… The freshman posted 18 kills in APSU’s two matches last week, recording a .269 attack percentage in the process. Slay has shined during OVC play, recording 65 kills (2.59 per set), a .265 attack percentage that is second on the team and 19 blocks.
Sophomore libero Lizzy Bales… Moving into the libero spot last weekend, she provided key stability to APSU’s passing, recording 30 digs (4.29 per set) in matches at Tennessee State and Belmont. Bales also recorded three service aces to bolster the Lady Govs service attack, which ranks fourth in the OVC.
Scouting the Opposition
Eastern Illinois (9-12, 3-5 OVC) has mustered a split during each of its past three OVC weekends. Last weekend, the Panthers picked up a four-set win at UT Martin before falling in five sets at Southeast Missouri. Eastern Illinois has not swept or been swept in OVC play and has four five-set matches under its belt in eight league outings – its five-set win against APSU its only win in that group. Junior Chelsea Lee ranks third among conference hitters with 3.72 kills per set in OVC play.
SIUE (9-14, 1-7 OVC) has only its five-set win against Austin Peay to its credit in OVC play. The Cougars have lost their last three outings since that win, including back-to-back sweeps at Southeast Missouri and UT Martin last weekend – the first sweeps it has suffered in OVC play. Junior Kristen Torre paces the SIUE attack and ranks sixth among league hitters with 3.48 kills per set in league action.