JP Wood, Sports Writer
Jacksonville State dropped two in a row on the road this past week to two tough opponents in volleyball action. The Gamecocks, who are now 11-12 (4-6 OVC), fell to defending champs Austin Peay on Friday night and conference heavyweight Murray State on Saturday.
Austin Peay showed why they are the favorite to win the conference yet again in a 3-1 match against JSU. Addie Halverson led the Gamecocks offensively with 16 kills, followed by Kaylee Frear with nine. Kaylie Milton, Lena Kindermann, and Sadie Anderson each finished with 6 kills apiece. Dani Steele set a career best with 17 digs, while Lexie Libs and Jade Humphrey followed up with 16 and 14 respectively. JSU dropped the first two sets, and, although they dominated the third set 25-14, could not overcome the Governors’ .382 hitting percentage in the fourth set, losing 25-13.
JSU pushed another conference power to their absolute limits on Saturday. Multiple Gamecocks set records in the thrilling five set match, which saw Murray State steal one from the Gamecocks. Frear collected a season high 19 kills, and hit a perfect 1.000 clip in the opening set. Milton finished with 16 kills, while Anderson matched her career high with 14 kills. Libs led the offense with a career best 61 assists, the most by a Gamecock since Jennifer Hart in 2014. For the second day in a row, Steele contributed 17 digs, while Halverson and Ashley Clingan added 11 and nine respectively. As a team, Jax State collected 68 total digs.
Going in to set number four down 2-1, JSU found themselves trailing 22-16. JSU began a 9-1 comeback to win the set 25-23, led by Frear and Anderson. JSU dropped a rough fifth set 15-10.
The Gamecocks will take a quick break from OVC play in a contest against the other JSU, Jackson State, and then will take on Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State this weekend.