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APSU Volleyball moves into tie for OVC First Place with Eastern Illinois win

APSU Sports Information

APSU Women's Volleyball - Austin Peay State UniversityCharleston, IL – Behind junior Ashley Slay‘s 15-kill performance, Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team posted a three-set Ohio Valley Conference sweep (28-26, 27-25, 25-15) against Eastern Illinois, Friday night, at Lantz Arena.

The first two sets were defined by each team posting impressive come-from-behind efforts.

Austin Volleyball takes care of business at Eastern Illinois Friday night. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Volleyball takes care of business at Eastern Illinois Friday night. (APSU Sports Information)

In the opening frame, Austin Peay (13-7, 4-1 OVC) raced out to a 12-5 lead but could not hold the advantage.

The Panthers slowly reeled the Govs back in and fended off three set points to tie the set 24-24. Eastern Illinois would get a pair of set point chances, but could not convert and an EIU error ended the set, 28-26.

Eastern Illinois (4-16, 1-4 OVC) tried to flip the script in the second set, building a 19-14 lead to force an Austin Peay timeout.

The Govs responded with a 6-0 run –the Panthers using both their timeouts to try and stop the run – to take a 20-19 lead. The Panthers again had to fend off three APSU set points to tie the set, 24-24, but the Govs didn’t allow EIU to take a lead. Slay hammered home back-to-back kills to end the set.

APSU Volleyball - Sammie EbrightSlay left little doubt about the outcome in the third set, posting a kill on three of the first six points as Austin Peay broke out to a 5-1 lead. The match like turned when Eastern Illinois’ Taylor Smith – its offensive leader – was lost to injury with the Govs leading 6-3. Austin Peay broke the set open with a 8-1 run and never looked back.

Slay led a potent one-two offensive punch with sophomore Cecily Gable, who finished with 12 kills. The duo combined for 27 of the Govs 46 kills in the contest. However, the Govs also had a stellar night at the service line, posting 11 aces. Senior Sammie Ebright led that effort with five aces.

Smith finished with six kills, a .500 attack percentage, 18 assists and three blocks prior to her injury. Josie Winner and Maria Brown each added a team-leading eight kills.

Inside The Box Score

APSU Volleyball - Ashley SlayGovs End Long Frustration
Friday’s win in Charleston snapped the Govs seven-match losing streak against Eastern Illinois which dated back to 2011. It also was the Govs first win at Lantz Arena since October 22nd, 2011, ending a four-match losing streak there.

Slay Finding Her Swing
Slay’s 15-kill outing followed a 13-kill effort at Eastern Kentucky, last Saturday. Oddly, it was her first back-to-back double-digit kill outings since September 9th-10th. Slay is hitting .383 in the two matches.

Gable Returning To Form
Cecily Gable finished with 12 kills (.312 attack percentage) at Eastern Illinois. It was her second consecutive 12-kill performance, following her outing at Eastern Kentucky.

APSU Volleyball - Cecily GableGovs Acing OVC Competition
Austin Peay posted 11 service aces at Eastern Illinois, one shy of its season-best outing set against UT Martin, September 24th. The Govs have scored 39 aces in five OVC matches, averaging 2.44 aces per set. Eight different Govs servers have posted a service ace in league action.

APSU Keeps Chugging Along
The Govs win also was its eight victory in its last nine outings. Austin Peay has posted six three-set wins in that stretch and won 24 of the 29 sets played.

Govs End Night In First Place Logjam
Austin Peay will go to sleep tonight tied for first place in the OVC race. The Govs are one of four 4-1 squads after Murray State moved to 4-1 with a five-set win at previously unbeaten SIU Edwardsville, which fell to 4-1. Those three teams join Jacksonville State, which entered the night at 4-1 while awaiting its Saturday contest at Tennessee Tech.

Austin Peay continues its Illinois trip when it meets OVC-leading SIU Edwardsville in a 2:00pm, Saturday contest.


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