Brentwood, Tn – Senior outside hitter Jada Stotts was named to the preseason team and Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team was picked fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference’s preseason poll, Wednesday.
Stotts, of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, was named to the league’s preseason team for the second consecutive year.
Austin Peay volleyball picked fourth in preseason OVC Poll (APSU Sports Information)
She battled through an injury-plagued campaign in 2013, playing in just 70 percent of the team’s sets, but still finished the year ranked fourth among the league’s hitters with 3.27 kills per set.
“I am pleased Jada was named to the league’s preseason team,” said Lady Govs head coach Taylor Mott. “She had a rough 2013 but still put together a quality campaign. We’re hopeful she will rise to the occasion in her senior year and show her true capabilities on the court.”
Austin Peay was picked to finish fourth in the league’s regular-season race, the same spot it finished it 2013, picking up one of 24 first-place votes and scoring 169 points.
Morehead State was picked to repeat as the league champion after receiving 15 first-place votes and 228 points. The Eagles were followed by Eastern Illinois (5 first-place votes, 210 points) and Belmont (2 first-place votes, 185 points).
“I was not surprised (being picked fourth),” said Mott. “Preseason polls are more about the past than the future. We weren’t at 100 percent most of last year and that hurt us in the conference race. Although we lost a key middle (Lauren Henderson), we return a lot of experience from last year and I believe that will be a difference for us this year.”
The Lady Govs were followed closely by Eastern Kentucky (165 points), SIUE (1 first-place vote, 156 points) and Southeast Missouri (147 points) in the fifth, sixth and seventh spots.
Austin Peay began its preseason work, Monday, with 14 players reporting.
The Lady Govs return 11 letter winners and five starters from last season’s campaign.
Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Sammie Ebright returns after earning OVC All-Freshman honors last season. In addition, senior setter Cami Fields, junior setter Aubrey Marsellis, junior outside hitter Samantha Strother and sophomore libero Syd Litchfield are among the team’s returning starters.
“While Jada was the only player named to the preseason team, we have a lot of players who will make a difference for us this season,” said Mott. “Sammie returns after a great freshman season and we expect her to improve. Cami experienced some injury problems last year but returns in better shape to start this year. We have a solid group of middle blockers who we expect to step up this season.”
Austin Peay begins its 2014 campaign at the Clemson Invitational, Aug. 29th-30th, opening with a noon, Friday match against Troy followed by a match against host Clemson.
That tournament is the first of 11 consecutive matches away from the Dunn Center.
The Lady Govs open their home slate with a Sept. 16th nonconference tilt against Chattanooga. The OVC schedule gets underway when APSU hosts UT Martin, Sept. 26th.
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