Clarksville, TN – Looking to defend its title from a year ago, the Austin Peay State University (APSU) beach volleyball team kicks off the Ohio Valley Conference Beach Volleyball Championship with a quarterfinal match against No. 3 Chattanooga on Thursday that begins at 1:00pm CT, at the Morehead State’s Fazoli’s Breadstick Beach in Morehead, Kentucky.
Austin Peay State University shared the regular-season title with UT Martin and after several tiebreakers, the Skyhawks claimed the No. 1 seed for the tournament with the APSU Govs taking the No. 2 seed.
After the regular season, the Governors picked up a plethora of all-conference awards, headlined by Marlayna Bullington being named the OVC Player of the Year and Bullington and her partner Kelsey Mead being named the OVC Pair of the Year. Bullington and Mead, along with the duo of Brooke Moore and Mikayla Powell, were named First Team All-OVC Pairs, while Demi McInnis and Tegan Seyring earned Second Team All-OVC honors.
In addition, the trio of head coach Taylor Mott, associate head coach Travis LeBlanc, and volunteer assistant Stephanie Spencer were named the OVC Coaching Staff of the Year after leading the Governors to a program-record 18 wins.
Austin Peay State University has squared off with in-state rival Chattanooga (16-12, 5-3 OVC) three times this season and has won all three matches.
The Mocs feature a pair of All-OVC duos with No. 1 pairing Baylee Young and Gylian Finch earning first-team honors and No. 2 pairing Neva Clark and Paige Gallentine earning second-team honors.
Playing in the No. 1 position, Bullington and Mead lead the APSU Govs with a single-season, program-record 20 wins this year. The conference’s top pairing enters the tournament after winning their final match of the regular season and winning eight of the last ten matches they have played.
In the No. 2 spot, Moore and Powell have won 19 matches this season, which also broke the previous single-season wins record of 18 which was held by Jenna Panning and Haley Turner. The Governors’ second pairing won back-to-back matches to close the regular season and has won in six of their last ten outings.
McInnis and Seyring have won 14 times in the No. 3 spot this season and have won back-to-back matches entering the postseason. A graduate student from the Lone Star State, McInnis also picked up a pair of wins with another partner this season and her 16 wins are the fifth-best single-season mark in APSU history.
Caroline Waite and Janvier Buggs have taken control of the APSU Govs’ No. 4 position and have won eight matches in that spot this season. The duo is 13-8 overall this season and has won six of its last ten matches to close out the regular season.
After winning three times in the final weekend of the regular season, the Govs’ No. 5 pairing of Karli Graham and Elizabeth Wheat have a team-best seven wins on the No. 5 line this season.
The freshman-senior combo is 7-8 overall this season but won six of its final ten decisions to wrap up the regular season.
The winner of Thursday’s game between the Governors and Mocs will play the winner of a 4:00pm match between UT Martin and the winner of No. 4 Morehead State and No. 5 Eastern Illinois. The loser of the Austin Peay-Chattanooga match will play the loser of Morehead State and Eastern Illinois in an elimination match on Thursday at 6:00pm.
At the completion of the regular season, the OVC announced that it had received automatic qualification for the 2022 NCAA National Collegiate Women’s Beach Volleyball Championship.
The winner of the OVC Tournament will receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament, which has been expanded to 16 teams and will be played May 6th-8th at the Gulf Beach Place in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The selections will be on April 30th at a to be determined time.
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