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Top-seeded APSU Govs roll into OVC Tournament finals with win over Eastern Kentucky

2017 OVC Volleyball ChampionshipClarksville TN – As the top seed and playing on their home floor, Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team was expected to make the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament finals and they didn’t disappoint, as they defeated Eastern Kentucky, Friday, November 17th, 2017 at the Dunn Center, by a 3-1 final (19-25, 25-12, 25-14, 25-12) to advance to the tournament’s championship game.

The win, along with earning the Governors a spot in the championship game, set a school record for wins in a season, moving them to 29-5, and breaking a tie with the 1992 team.

Austin Peay Volleyball advances to the OVC Volleyball Championship game with three set win over Eastern Kentucky Friday night at the APSU Dunn Center.
Austin Peay Volleyball advances to the OVC Volleyball Championship game with three set win over Eastern Kentucky Friday night at the APSU Dunn Center.

But the fourth-seeded Eastern Kentucky Colonels (13-19), who were one of only two teams that were able to take a regular-season conference match versus the Govs, came out strong and jumped out to an early 5-1 lead in the opening set over the Governors, powered by back-to-back kills by Cassie Knutson.

But Austin Peay responded with a run of their own and tying the match 6-6 on a kill by OVC Player of the Year Ashley Slay.

Eastern Kentucky would retake the lead and built the margin out to as many as five points, 19-14, following an ace by Kennedy Wilson, forcing Austin Peay to take a timeout.

But unfortunately for the Govs they couldn’t slow the Colonels, with Austin Peay never getting any closer that three points the rest of the way and EKU taking the opening set, 25-19.

That first-set loss seemed to wake the Govs up, as they led wire-to-wire by jumping out to a 5-1 lead, powered by three kills by Slay.

EKU would close the Govs lead to one, 6-5, but APSU responded and built its lead back out to four points, 10-6, following a kill by Brooke Moore.

Moore would lead all players with 22 kills in the match.

That would be the beginning of the end for the Colonels, with the Govs continued to extent their lead and forcing the Colonels to call a timeout, with the Govs up six, 13-7, after a kill by Cecily Gable.

The EKU timeout didn’t slow the Govs momentum, with APSU extending its lead to eight points, 17-9, forcing a second timeout by EKU.

But in the end, there was no stopping the Governors, as they rolled to a 25-12 win in the set and evened the match at 1-1.

Set three had Eastern Kentucky make what for all intensive proposes was its final stand of the match, as the two teams traded point-for-point through the first 19 points, before Govs took the first two-point advantage of the match, 11-9, on an attack error by EKU.

That would be the crack that the Govs were looking for, as they started to get their offense rolling with kills from Slay, Moore and Christina White, to open a four-point lead, 15-11, and forcing an EKU timeout.

The timeout didn’t slow the Govs momentum, as they scored four straight points following the timeout – including kills by Slay and Moore, forcing EKU to have to call its final timeout in a last-ditch attempt to stall the Govs.

But there was no stopping Austin Peay, as they put together an 11-0 overall run to come away with a 25-14 win in the set and take a 2-1 advantage.

The fourth and final set would have the Colonels hang around early-on, but Austin Peay wasn’t to be denied its spot in the finals, as it broke open a one-point lead, 11-10, with a closing 14-2 run to win the set and the match 25-12.

The Govs will now face rival Murray State, who beat Eastern Illinois in their semifinal contest, at noon Saturday, November 18th at the Dunn Center, with a conference championship and an automatic berth into the NCAA Championship Tournament on the line.

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Chris Austin
Chris Austinhttp://www.clarksvillesportsnetwork.com
Chris Austin is a graduate of Clarksville High School and Austin Peay State University. Chris is a former Head Softball Coach for APSU, and assistant basketball coach for CHS. Chris has worked at the Leaf-Chronicle, and WJZM News/Talk/Sports radio. Has also worked at the Sports Information Department at APSU, and has covered championship events for the Ohio Valley Conference and NCAA. Chris is an avid sports fan and can be found at most Austin Peay State University sports events.

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