Austin Peay Sports Information
West Lafayette, IN – Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team opens its 2015 season when it meets Ohio in a 3:00pm (CDT), Friday contest to open the Purdue Mortar Board Premier at Holloway Gymnasium.
The Lady Govs stay continues Saturday with a 10:00am contest against host Purdue followed by a 4:00pm matchup with VCU.Austin Peay returns five of its top seven hitters from last season’s team which posted a 14-18 record and 8-8 league mark.
Senior outside hitter Sammie Ebright leads the returning group after recording 219 kills (2.40 per set) last season. In addition, sophomore Ashley Slay returns after earning OVC All-Newcomer honors last season and finishing with 179 kills (1.95 per set).
The offensive tone will be managed by senior setter Aubrey Marsellis, a preseason All-OVC pick. Possibly the most all-around setter in the OVC, Marsellis finished last season with 165 kills (1.36 per set) at a .249 attack percentage, 271 digs (2.24 per set), 56 blocks (0.46 per set) all while handing out 977 assists (8.07 per set).
“I was encouraged by the performance of our returners in our scrimmage last weekend,” said Lady Govs head coach Taylor Mott. “We return a lot of players that had good seasons. I believe they’ll each continue their improvement this season.”
Still Austin Peay will enter the opening weekend seeking an answer to the question of “Who Will Fill Jada Stotts Shoes?” Stotts, who was Austin Peay’s Legends Award Winner for Most Outstanding Senior and a first-team All-OVC pick, leaves behind a big hole in the Austin Peay lineup. She led the team in kills (408, 3.49 per set), service aces (38) and digs (416, 3.56 per set) last season.
“Jada left some big shoes to fill,” said Mott. “However, I believe we have the right players in place to fill her role. It won’t be something that falls on one person’s shoulders; everyone will need to pick up their part of the load. I believe we’ll be a more balanced offensive unit this season, which will make us tougher to defend.”
Joining the eight returning letter winners will be a group of six newcomers. The talented crop of freshman impressed Mott during Sunday’s Red-Black scrimmage and should see plenty of action during the opening weekend.
“Our freshmen showed they are able to keep up with the pace during the scrimmage,” said Mott. “There’s still plenty of room for growth but I believe they will be ready to impress this weekend.”
Scouting the Opposition
Ohio posted an unblemished 16-0 mark (losing just nine sets) in the Mid-American Conference last season but saw its season end with back-to-back five set losses, first to Western Michigan in the MAC tournament then to Dayton in the the NCAA Volleyball Championship. The Bobcats return five starters from last season’s team, but lost Kelly Lamberti who led the team with 437 kills (4.05 per set).
Purdue finished fifth in the Big Ten Conference last season, posting a 22-10 overall record and a 12-8 league mark. The Boilermakers lost their Big Ten Conference opening round contest at Wisconsin and we’re not selected to the NCAA Volleyball Championship. Purdue returns four starters from that squad, including senior outside hitter Annie Drews and her team-best 423 kills (3.92 per set).
VCU reached the second round of the NCAA Volleyball Championship last season, finishing with a 17-13 record and a 9-5 league mark – good for third place in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Rams also return their leading hitter – senior outside hitter Kalah Jones, who finished with 369 kills (3.27 per set) last season.
Catch it Live
Austin Peay’s match against Purdue will be available on the BTN2GO Gamehub (www.btn2go.com), an online video portal available for a monthly fee. Live statistics for all three matches will be available through Purdue’s Gametracker (www.purduesports.com).