Cape Girardeau, MO – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) volleyball team fired on all cylinders in the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference Volleyball Championship, Friday, defeating Tennessee Tech in three sets (27-25, 25-15, 25-19), at Houck Field House.
After being named First Team All-OVC selections, Wednesday, Mikayla Powell and Brooke Moore led the Govs offense with 16 and 12 kills, respectively, while middle blockers Claire Darland and Maggie Keenan combined for an efficient 15 kills and .636 hitting percentage.
The Govs opened with a 5-1 lead after four-straight Tennessee Tech errors. The Govs expanded the lead to 10-5, forcing the Golden Eagles to call their first timeout. Following the break, TTU tied the set at 12 and took their first lead at 17-16. The Golden Eagles then took their largest lead of the set at 22-20 and brought up a set-point after two-straight points, 24-20.
With their backs against the wall, Powell’s fourth kill brought APSU within three, with back-to-back TTU attack errors forcing the Golden Eagles to call their final timeout. Austin Peay took its first lead since the 16-15 mark following another TTU attack error and, following back-to-back kills by Maggie Keenan, the Govs won the day’s first set.
Riding the momentum from their first-set comeback, the Govs controlled the lead throughout the second set, in which they never led by less than four and posted a match-high .567 hitting percentage behind seven kills in an errorless frame from Powell.
Powell, Moore, Keenan, and senior Claire Darland each posted a .500 hitting percentage or better in the final set, combining for 15 kills and just a single error as Austin Peay won its 11th three-set match of the season.
With the win, Austin Peay State University punches its ticket to the semifinals round of the OVC Championship where it will face Morehead State at 3:00pm Friday, at Houck Field House. The Eagles defeated Belmont in three sets during their opening-round match.
Set-By-Set Austin Peay Against Tennessee Tech
1. After the Golden Eagles scored the match’s first point, the Governors took a quick 5-1 lead following four TTU errors and led 10-5, bringing up Tennessee Tech’s first timeout. The Golden Eagles went on a 7-2 run following the break to tie the set at 12 and led 19-18 later in the frame. The Golden Eagles expanded on their lead and brought up the match’s first set point at 24-20 after four-straight points. Facing their largest deficit of the morning, the Govs rallied to score three-straight points, bringing up another TTU timeout. After knotting the score at 25, back-to-back kills from sophomore Maggie Keened capped the comeback and gave the Govs the early lead.
2. Powell opened the second set with a pair of kills to start the second set and a Tennessee Tech error gave the Govs a 3-0 advantage and the lead stretched to 11-5 following Powell’s eighth kill of the morning. After TTU trimmed the Govs lead to four at 17-13, a 5-0 run by the Govs gave them a 22-13 advantage and APSU extended its lead following back-to-back kills by its First Team All-OVC in Powell and Moore.
3. After jumping out to a 6-2 advantage in the match’s final set, the Govs maintained the lead heading into the media timeout where they led 15-10. Austin Peay State University led 20-16 following TTU’s final timeout and finished the frame on a 5-3 run to secure the win and advance them to the semifinals.
APSU Coach’s Corner
Austin Peay head coach Taylor Mott
Overall takeaway… “It was nice to see us firing on all cylinders today. [Mikayla Powell and Tegan Seyring] did well, our middles, [Maggie Keenan, Claire Darland and Jaida Clark] did awesome. Our passing was good too. I feel like we have been really hit-or-miss lately where one position will do well, and others won’t, but today it was the first time in a while where we had options all over the court.
On Mikayla Powell… “I saw the same confidence that she had earlier in the season today. This is a tough league and I think she wasn’t used to getting blocked and that could have rattled her confidence along the way. It was awesome to see her come back today and be the Mikayla Powell we needed her to be.”
On tomorrow’s matchup… “Keep doing what you’re doing. Sometimes we can get overwhelmed. Scoring 25 can seem like a tall task so what we did in practice this week was just play to five points, so that’s what we’ll keep doing tomorrow- playing to each five. In the first set today, we were down 24-20 and you don’t ever come back from something like that, but we just kept our composure. We are and are just going to work in playing that way and keeping our composure.”
Last Time Against Morehead State
The Governors welcomed Morehead State, the defending OVC champions, to the Winfield Dunn Center, September 24th-25th, to open the OVC season.
After winning the first two sets against the Morehead, the Govs held off a late comeback State that saw the Eagles force a match-deciding fifth set. Mikayla Powell and Brooke Moore combined for seven kills as the Govs won the final set 15-8
In the first match against the Eagles, five Governors posted double figures in kills with Powell leading the team with 15 kills.
Maggie Keenan totaled 10 kills and no errors in the first matchup against MSU, finishing with a team-high .625 hitting percentage.
After holding off a late comeback bid in the first match, Austin Peay State University defeated the Eagles in four sets in the series finale, September 25th.
The APSU Govs held Morehead state to sub- .100 in the first set, and defeated the Eagles 25-14 following five kills and a .833 hitting percentage from Kaylah Jackson.
As they had the night prior, Morehead State answered back despite trailing by two sets and won the match’s penultimate set 25-15.
APSU finished the final set on a 5-1 to cap off the fourth set and complete the weekend sweep of Morehead State.
First Swings Ahead of Morehead State
Outside hitter Brooke Moore, a First Team All-OVC selection, is the only player in program history – and sixth in OVC history – to record 1,500 kills and 1,500 digs during their career. She enters Wednesday’s match with 1,580 kills (1st all-time) and 1,591 digs (8th).
With her seventh kill against UT Martin, November 7th, Moore became the APSU Govs all-time kills leader, passing Sarah Schramka’s (2001-04) previous record of 1,530.
APSU setter tandem of Caroline Waite and Kelsey Mead are in their second year combining to quarterback the Govs offense. The duo ranks 11th and 12th all-time in career assists, respectively. Waite has averaged 4.98 assists and 2.12 digs per set while Mead is averaged 5.26 assists and 1.67 digs per set with 31 aces in the regular season.
A defensive specialist, Erin Eisenhart posted two 25-dig outings during the final week of the regular season and had a team-high 17 digs in the win against Tennessee Tech, Thursday.
Right-side hitter Mikayla Powell, a First Team All-OVC selection and two-time OVC Newcomer of the Week, is currently second on the team in kills (299) and blocks (71) and is second in the OVC with a .307 hitting percentage.
After sweeping the Golden Eagles Thursday, Austin Peay is 12-4 this season in three-set matches this season.
Tennessee Tech 0, Austin Peay 3
Tennessee Tech Stats
Austin Peay Stats