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Lady Govs end 19-year drought, down top seed to win championship

By DAVID SCHERER | Staff Writer

For the first time in 19 years the APSU Lady Govs Volleyball team captured the OVC championship. It was just the second time in the program’s history and followed a remarkable regular season marked with its ups and downs.

The Lady Govs entered the OVC tournament with the second seed and therefore were given a bye in the first round. In their semi-final match they easily defeated Tennessee Tech 3-1, and geared up for a rubber match against regular season champion Morehead State.

APSU got out to a fast start against Morehead but ended up losing the first set 23-25, making everyone wonder whether this Cinderella story would fold before their very eyes, but senior Sarah Alisaleh made sure that was never going to happen.

According to coach Haley Janicek, “Sarah did an incredible job of splitting up the offense. She ran a really effective system and spread the offense really well for our outsides to succeed. In an outside-dominated match our outsides (Sophomore Nikki Doyle and Junior Ilyanna Hernandez) really pulled through for us.”

The second set proved easier for the Lady Govs as Alisaleh guided the team to a 25-14 set victory. The third saw the Lady Govs fall behind yet again, but they were able to muster a 13-4 run to end the set and go ahead 2-1. Senior Taylor Skinner sealed the set with a kill.

APSU led the fourth set from beginning to end and capped the match victory with a 5-2 run. Morehead State lost in the championship match for the second consecutive year.

Janicek talked once again about the Lady Govs’ goal to just get better with each and every set. “To be honest the entire match is a blur. We’ve talked all season long about getting one percent better,” Janicek said. “We made a bunch of errors in the first set, a few too many errors for us to play consistent volleyball. That second and third set we nailed things down and got better the rest of the way. Most importantly we held our composure when things got rough on the court.”

The Lady Govs face Louisville this Saturday, Nov. 27, in Louisville., Ky. The Lady Cardinals advanced to the Big East tournament championship match for the sixth straight year Saturday, Nov. 20, with a four set victory over Marquette. TAS

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