Austin Peay Volleyball NCAA Tournament Bound
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team rallied from behind two games to one down and 16-15 in the fourth set to defeat Murray State 3-2 to win its third Ohio Valley Conference Tournament title in program history and earn the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
The Govs also won tournament titles in 2010 and 1992, with the 2010 squad being the other APSU team to make an NCAA Tournament field.
For the most part it looked like it wasn’t going to go Austin Peay’s way, as the Govs (30-5) struggled with its offense with Murray State defense keying on OVC Player of the Year Ashley Slay, holding her to a .000 kill percentage on 30 attempts in the match.
But midway through the fourth set, OVC Coach of the Year Taylor Mott pulled Slay and inserted Logan Carger who responded with four kills in seven attempts and two blocks, as the Govs closed out the set 10-5 to even the match at two games each.
The deciding set was all Austin Peay, with the Govs breaking an early 2-2 tie with the Racers (22-9) with Brooke Moore (two kills) and Kaylee Taff (kill) starting things off, but it was a 4-0 run that pushed the Govs lead out to 9-4 advantage that gave APSU all the momentum in the deciding set.
Moore would finish with 15 kills, with Taff adding 12.
Murray State would never get any closer than four points the rest of the way, with Taff recording the final kill to wrap up the title, 15-10.
Moore, a freshman, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, with Allie O’Reilly and Kristen Stucker joining her on the All-Tournament squad, along with Eastern Illinois’ Allie Hueston, Eastern Kentucky’s Cassie Knutson and Murray State’s Rachel Holthaus and Callie Anderson.
The match started with Austin Peay jumping out to a quick 3-0 lead only to see Murray State roar back to take a 6-5 lead, after running off five straight points.
The two team would battle back-and-fourth after that, with five ties – including the last at 10-10 – before the Racers ran off three straight points to go up 13-10.
A kill by Slay would end the run, but the Govs couldn’t find a way to get its offense going consistently only putting together back-to-back points twice the rest of the way and getting on closer than 22-21 before Murray State closed out the opening set with three straight points and a 25-21 win.
Set two had both teams step up their defense, and in doing so had the set be no more than a one or two points contest until either way the Govs were about to build a three-point lead, 14-11, on an ace by O’Reilly.
White led Austin Peay and all players with 20 kills.
Murray State came out hot in Set three, jumping out to a 5-2 lead and built that out to as many as six points, 15-9, following an attack error by Austin Peay.
The Govs would try to rally, cutting the Racer lead down to as few as three points twice, the last coming at 20-17, following a kill by Slay, but that would be as close as they would get the rest of the way in the set with Murray State winning the set 25-20 and go up two games to one.
The 2017 NCAA Volleyball Tournament begins November 2nd, 2017 with the Govs finding out their opponent on the NCAA Selection Show, which will be at 8:00pm on November 26th.
Murray State (22-9) vs. Austin Peay (30-5)