CLARKSVILLE – Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team suffered through another sub-par offensive outing and fell in four sets (20-25, 27-25, 22-25, 19-25) to Eastern Illinois, Saturday, in Ohio Valley Conference action at the Dunn Center.
Defense held sway during the match with neither team enjoying much offensive consistency. Austin Peay (9-16, 6-4 OVC) was held to a .117 attack percentage with only 49 kills, thanks to an Eastern Illinois defense that was credited with 13.5 blocks and 72 digs. The Panthers offense posted a .197 attack percentage and was held in check by a Lady Govs defensive effort that produced 11 blocks and 74 digs.
The defensive effort produced a closely-fought affair with 23 ties and 10 lead changes during the match. The first three sets were each secured in the closing moments.
In the first set, Eastern Illinois (13-10, 7-3 OVC) needed a 4-0 run to turn a 19-17 lead into a 23-17 advantage it would not relinquish. The second set needed overtime and saw Austin Peay battle from a 25-24 deficit with three straight points, including kills by Lauren Henderson and Liz Landon to win 27-25.
Eastern Illinois controlled the early portion of the third set, breaking out to a 9-3 lead. Austin Peay brought the set back even with a 8-2 run, thanks largely to six EIU attack errors. The Lady Govs briefly held a 15-14 lead but the Panthers erased that lead with a 4-0 run. A later 3-0 run helped Eastern Illinois solidify its lead at 21-18, and Austin Peay could not close the gap.
The Panthers controlled the fourth set in nearly wire-to-wire fashion. Eastern Illinois used a 5-0 run to turn a 3-3 tie into an 8-3 lead. The Panthers slowly expanded their lead the set’s remainder before settling on the 25-19 final.
Henderson again led Austin Peay with 15 kills a .364 attack percentage and seven blocks. Junior Jada Stotts added 13 kills but was held to a .111 attack percentage.
Reynae Hutchinson led Eastern Illinois with 19 kills but also was held in check to the tune of a .163 attack percentage. Stephanie Arnold and Amy Martin each chipped in 11 kills.
Austin Peay continues its five-match home stand with a 7 p.m., Tuesday contest against Tennessee State.