CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team dropped its first match of the season at the Dunn Center Saturday afternoon 3-0, as they couldn’t overcome Ohio Valley Conference regular-season champion Morehead State by scores of 25-13, 25-22, 25-19.
Despite the loss, Austin Peay (17-15, 10-6 OVC West) enters next week’s OVC championship tournament as the fourth overall seed and will face fifth-seed Tennessee State in the opening round on Thursday in Morehead, Ky., at 4:30 p.m.
“It really doesn’t matter who wins the regular season it’s who wins three matches and wins the tournament championship,” Austin Peay coach Taylor Mott said. “Everyone goes back to 0-0 on Thursday and we have as good a chance as anyone to win the tournament.
“I just hope we can get to the championship match and see what happens.”
To reach the championship game, Austin Peay will need to play better than they performed on Saturday, as the Lady Govs struggled passing the ball; which led to problems with their setting and offensive attack against a much taller Morehead State (24-6, 16-0 OVC East)
“We did do some really good things, but then we would turn around and give up some easy points,” Mott said. “It’s hard to get into a rhythm when you do that. We played hard throughout, we just didn’t play throughout.”
It didn’t take long for Morehead State, who extended the nation’s longest winning streak out to 22 matches; while also becoming the eighth team to go through OVC play undefeated and the first since 2006 to accomplish the feat, to get off to a quick start.
Austin Peay scored the match’s first point, but the Lady Eagles scored nine of the next 11 points behind the play of Courtney Smith to go up 9-3.
But the Lady Govs only hit for a .129 attack percentage in the opening game — with seven errors and two service errors — on its way to a 25-13 setback.
“If you look at the stats, we had almost the same number of kills as they had,” Mott said. “But then you look and we had twice the number of errors and serve errors. Against a good team like Morehead State you can’t do that and expect to win.”
Austin Peay would come out much better in Game 2, jumping out to a 8-2 lead behind two kills each from senior Nikki Doyle and junior Lauren Henderson, but the Lady Eagles kept cutting into the Lady Govs lead – finally tying the game 19-19.
The two teams would trade the next six points before Morehead State closed out the game with three straight points for the 25-22 win.
In the third game, Austin Peay would keep the Lady Eagles close throughout the game, but the Lady Govs were never able to take the lead – with Morehead State closing out the match with a six-point win.
Junior middle blocker Lauren Henderson led Austin Peay with a 12-kill, .611 attack percentage performance, while Doyle added 10 kills and 12 digs in her final home match.
Morehead State’s Ellie Roberson led all hitters with 19 kills at a .417 attack percentage.
Austin Peay returns to action at the 2012 Ohio Valley Conference Volleyball Championship, which runs Nov. 15-17.
The entire tournament will be available for free on the OVC Digital Network.
Thursday, November 15 – First Round – Morehead, Ky.
Match 1 – No. 3 Belmont vs. No. 6 Eastern Illinois – 11 a.m.
Match 2 – No. 2 Southeast Missouri vs. No. 7 Jacksonville State – 1:30 p.m.
Match 3 – No. 4 Austin Peay vs. No. 5 Tennessee State – 4:30 p.m.
Match 4 – No. 1 Morehead State vs. No. 8 UT Martin – 7 p.m.Friday, November 16 – Semifinals – Morehead, Ky.
Match 5 – Match 1 winner vs. Match 2 winner – 4:30 p.m.
Match 6 – Match 3 winner vs. Match 4 winner – 7 p.m.Saturday, November 17 – Championship – Morehead, Ky.
Match 7 – Match 5 winner vs. Match 7 winner – 6 p.m.
Murray St.-APSU Photo Gallery