Austin Peay Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team begins its 16-match Ohio Valley Conference schedule with a pair of road contests, Friday-Saturday.
The Lady Govs travel to UT Martin for a 7:00pm, Friday contest at Skyhawk Fieldhouse before traveling to Southeast Missouri and a 5:00pm, Saturday matchup at Houck Field House.
Austin Peay (5-10) enters league action on a winning note after claiming a five-set victory against Southern Miss, Saturday, at Memphis’ Tiger Invitational.
It was the Lady Govs third victory against a Conference USA opponent this season, joining wins against UAB and Florida International.
The Lady Govs stay in Memphis epitomized its season to date. Austin Peay opened with a four-set loss to Memphis as its serve-receive and passing broke down. Then a three-set loss to Mississippi State saw Austin Peay battle through an unfocused effort.
However, the squad put its best effort together in the finale against Southern Miss, staving off four match points to win the fourth set before a dominating fifth-set win.
“I was impressed with our fight against Southern Miss,” said Austin Peay head coach Taylor Mott. “We got the day off to a bad start and were in a big hole against Southern Miss. But we found a way to get back in the set and ultimately win that match. I believe we learned something about ourselves in that effort and I hope we carry that into conference play.”
Offensively, sophomore Ashley Slay regained her form at Memphis, leading Austin Peay’s attack in all three matches, finishing the tourney with 39 kills (3.25 per set) while also recording a team-best 15 blocks (1.25 per set). She enters league play ranked eighth in attack percentage (.263) and 10th in kills per set (2.79).
Defensively, Senior April Adams posted an impressive 54 digs (4.50 per set) in the Memphis tournament. The effort moved her into the OVC’s top five in digs and she enters league play ranked fifth with 4.20 digs per set this season.
“We’ve had great individual performances throughout the preseason,” said Mott. “What we still have to do is have that one match where everyone is focused on having their best performance. It’s now the time of year where we have to prove what we’re capable of and I believe we will get off to a good start this weekend.”
Three Things To Know
Get Out of the Gate Quickly: Austin Peay will look to replicate its start to the 2014 season when it opened Ohio Valley Conference play with four straight wins. However, those four wins all came at the Dunn Center while this year the Lady Govs will have to accomplish that take on the road.
4x4x4x4: The 16-game OVC volleyball schedule will be easy for Austin Peay fans to remember. The Lady Govs play in two-week, four-game blocks – opening up on the road for four matches, then a four-match home stretch, back on the road for four and ending with a four-match home stand.
Scouting the Opposition
Under first-year head coach Jaclynn Yocum, the Skyhawks may have been the busiest team in the season’s first four weeks, cramming 17 matches and 63 sets into their preconference slate. UTM, which will open its home schedule against APSU, owns wins against The Citadel, Mississippi, Alabama A&M and Arkansas-Pine Bluff entering league action.
Sophomore outside hitter Lael Ceriani and junior outside hitter Madison Wessling are the Skyhawks leading hitters, averaging 2.51 and 2.43 kills per set, respectively.
Southeast Missouri (4-9)
The Redhawks also have picked up four wins in their preconference schedule, with victories against Gardner-Webb, The Citadel, Northwestern State and Bradley. Southeast Missouri returns home for the first time since the opening weekend, when it was held winless in three matches.
Sophomore middle blocker Nzingha Clarke is a front-row threat both as an attacker and a blocker. She is second among SEMO hitters with 2.72 kills per set but leads the team with 0.76 blocks per set.
UT Martin: UTM won the last meeting between the two teams, November 11th, 2014, and ended Austin Peay’s six-match win streak in the series. Still Austin Peay owns a 43-31 edge all time, including a 20-18 mark at Skyhawk Fieldhouse.
Southeast Missouri: Austin Peay swept last season’s regular-season series against Southeast Missouri, including a three-set victory at Houck Field House, November 7th, 2014. The Lady Govs have won the last three meetings and five of the last six. However, the Redhawks lead the series 33-24 and own a 19-6 advantage in Cape Girardeau.
Catch It Live
Sammie Ebright and the Lady Govs start OVC play this weekend at UT Martin and Southeast Missouri