CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – SIUE volleyball posted season highs in kills (71) and digs (104) but fell in its Ohio Valley Conference opener at Austin Peay in five sets.
SIUE dropped to 10-3 overall and 0-1 in the OVC while Austin Peay improved to 12-2 overall and 1-0 in the OVC. The Governors and the Cougars traded set wins until Austin Peay prevailed Friday night 25-19, 24-26, 25-21, 17-25, 19-17 at the Winfield Dunn Center.
The Cougars turned in a spirited performance in their first OVC outing of the season, battling from a set down twice to force a fifth set. Austin Peay avoided two match points and won the match on a service ace by Kristen Stucker.
"It was all about momentum tonight," said SIUE Acting Head Coach Kendall Paulus.
The offense and the defense was balanced for the Cougars.
Three SIUE players completed the match with double-doubles. Scott added 19 digs to her kills total. SIUE setters Samantha Knight (31 assists, 13 digs) and Mallory Nicholson (29 assists, 15 digs) both had double-doubles in the same match for the first time this season.
Christina White paced Austin Peay's offense with 17 kills. Austin Peay hit .184 as a team while the Cougars finished with a .208 hitting percentage.
Despite leading the Governors in kills, hitting percentage and digs, Austin Peay grabbed a key statistic by collecting nine service aces to SIUE's two.
"Their serving was really good," added Paulus.
With the teams trading set victories over the first four sets, the fifth set became even tighter. The two teams battled for seven lead changes and 13 ties in the fifth set. Scott stepped up for five of her team-leading kills in the final set for the Cougars.
SIUE next heads to face defending OVC champion Murray State for a 1 p.m. match Saturday. Murray State claimed a four-set victory over Eastern Illinois in the two teams' OVC opener Friday in Murray, Kentucky.
"We want our players to hold their heads high tonight because it was a tough match and we battled," Paulus said. "It was 17-19 in the fifth set so we clearly didn't let up. We have to move past this and focus on Murray State."