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Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team will seek to equal its best-ever start to Ohio Valley Conference play when it starts a four-match road trip with a 7:00pm, Friday contest at SIU Edwardsville.
The Lady Govs then continue the weekend swing with a 2:00pm, Saturday affair at Eastern Illinois.
Austin Peay sophomore outside hitter Sammie Ebright is averaging 2.88 kills per set and has posted a .310 attack percentage in last six matches. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay (10-10, 4-0 OVC) remained atop the OVC standings and reached .500 overall for the first time this season with three-set sweeps of both Murray State and Morehead State last week.
Those wins were the latest in a stretch that has seen APSU win seven of its last eight, beginning with a September 18th win at Tennessee.
“We have played well at times during the last three weeks,” said Lady Govs head coach Taylor Mott. “However, I believe we have room to improve even now. Saturday’s match (against Morehead State) was big because we stepped as a team and found a way to win. That will be big for us as we begin playing conference matches on the road.”
The Lady Govs 4-0 conference start is one win shy of the best OVC start in program history, a mark set by the 2009 squad which went on to finish second in the league race. The 2014 team could match that with a win Friday at SIUE. However, the two teams on this weekend’s slate caused Austin Peay trouble last season. The Lady Govs split its two matches with SIUE, winning in Edwardsville, and lost both matches to Eastern Illinois.
“Playing on the road in conference is always tough,” said Mott. “You’re traveling and dealing with buses and hotels while the other team gets to sleep in its own beds and play in front of its fans and that’s a tough combination. However, if we’re going to compete for the regular season title, it’s something we have to overcome. I believe this team is ready for that challenge.”
What to Watch For
Junior setter Aubrey Marsellis… the reigning OVC Setter of the Week, she ranks second among league setters with 11.27 assists per set. She has one triple double this season, posting a 12-kill, 24-assist, 10-dig performance at Western Kentucky, September 13th.
Sophomore outside hitter Sammie Ebright… in her last six matches, she is averaging 2.88 kills per set and has posted a .310 attack percentage. That recent stretch follows a season-opening stretch that saw her average just 1.56 kills per set in the first 14 matches, while hitting an anemic .146.
Scouting the Opposition
SIU Edwardsville (8-11, 0-4 OVC)
The Cougars winless start to OVC play is deceiving as they have won a set in each of the four matches and own a 6-12 set record. SIUE opened its home schedule Saturday with a four-set loss to Tennessee State.
Junior middle blocker Kristen Torre leads the SIUE offense with 240 kills (3.20 per set) and an impressive .371 attack percentage, leading the league in attack percentage and ranking eighth in kills average. She is part of a one-two punch for the Cougars with freshman outside hitter Ashley Witt adding 215 kills (2.87 per set) but at a more modest .150 attack rate.
Eastern Illinois (7-10, 1-3 OVC)
The Panthers’ OVC record is just as deceptive as SIUE’s. Eastern Illinois has won a set in each league match, posting a 8-10 set record. Eastern Illinois won its home opener in four sets against SIUE, October 1st, and followed that with a five-set home loss to Belmont.
The Panthers also have a potent one-two punch leading their offense. Junior outside hitter Abby Saalfrank is averaging a team-best 3.29 kills per set while hitting .166. Junior outside hitter Chelsea Lee is close behind at 3.25 kills per set at a better .236 attack percentage. That duo ranks fourth and sixth among league hitters in kills average.
Video – Head Coach Taylor Mott
About APSU Sports Information
Austin Peay State University Sports Information provides the latest news and updates on the Athletic endeavors of the student-athletes at APSU. Under the direction of Brad Kirtley, the APSU SID’s office consists of Cody Bush, and Colby Wilson. To contact the APSU Sports Information office, contact, 931.221.7561.