CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. -- The battle for an Ohio Valley Conference win went to four sets at Austin Peay Saturday afternoon. Courtney Smith turned in a career high perfomance and despite Tech's strong defense, 12 blocks to the Lady Gov's seven, the Golden Eagles were grounded 3-1.
Set scores for Austin Peay were 25-19, 25-27, 25-18, 25-17.
Outside hitter Natalie Penrod led the Golden Eagles with 14 kills on 43 swings and a .209 clip. Kelsey Gray turned in another flawless performance tallying nine kills on 18 swings with zero attack errors hitting .500. Freshman Audrey Lewis had six kills with Cody Dodd and Madison Keyes each chipping in with four kills respectively.
Smith sprawled for a match and career high 24 digs. Tech's block again stood out in the match as the team collected 12.0 blocks. Senior Katrinia Devorken led the Golden Eagles with one solo block and five block assists. Gray added a solo block of her own and assisted in three blocks. Keyes recorded five block assists and Dodd had three block assists.
Sixteen tie scores and eight lead changes gives just a small glimps of the battle the Lady Govs gave the Golden Eagles. The Lady Govs would gain a sizeable lead, but the Tech refused to give in. The Golden Eagles fought back with in one or two points but ran out of time at the end of the sets.
In set one, Tech never let a Lady Gov run go more than three points, an improvement from the previous evenings match against Murray State. The Golden Eagle offense gave Austin Peay about all it could handle defensively, as the attack placed balls out of reach. Back-to-back kills by Austin Peay's Jada Stotts sparked a final three point run by the Lady Govs and gave them a 25-19 advantage.
The second set proved to be more of the same aggressive play, and Austin Peay held a three point lead at 23-20. A three-point serving streak by Smith tied the match at 24-24. The Golden Eagles again tied the match at 25, and a kill from Penrod sealed the deal as Tech won the second set 27-25.
The ten minute break between sets two and three allowed the Lady Govs to compose themselves and hindered the Golden Eagles from gaining any match-changing momentum. The battle continued well into the third and fourth sets, but the Golden Eagles came up short despite Smiths outstanding career performance and Techs blocking effort.
The Golden Eagles finally return to Cookeville, Tenn. Tuesday, Sept. 25 for their first home match of the season. The Golden Eagles will host Jacksonville State at the Hooper-Eblen Center Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m.