The APSU beach volleyball team wrapped up its home slate on Wednesday, April 14 after falling 2-3 to the UT Martin Skyhawks in consecutive matches.
Prior to the first match, the Governors recognized their trio of beach volleyball seniors in MiMi Arrington, Claire Darland and Jenna Panning. Of the three, Panning and Arrington are the only two who were members for the program’s inaugural season in 2017.
The Govs trailed early in the first match of the doubleheader after Arrington and Darland fell in straight sets from the No. 4 position.
The two teams traded scores with the duo of Caroline Waite and Erin Eisenhart picking up APSU’s first point, but Tegan Seyring and Morgan Rutledge falling to leave the Skyhawks just a single match away from the win.
However, the senior duo of Brooke Moore and Panning defeated UTM’s Lucy Kaufman and Hanna Phillips 21-15, 21-10 from the No. 1 position to keep the Govs hopes of a win in grasp.
Despite the late comeback bid, the Governors dropped the match after Aysha Hood and Karli Graham fell 21-14, 21-16.
Match two presented a near indistinguishable resemblance to the first.
After falling in their first set, the Govs answered back to get on the board. The two teams then went on to trade scores until one pairing remained.
Maggie Keenan and Hood picked up a 21-10 first set victory but were outbattled in the second after falling 21-23. In the match’s decisive set, the duo fell 15-5.
Despite the loss, APSU head coach Taylor Mott says in order of the team to pick up their first win, they just have to keep competing.
“We just have to keep playing,” Mott said. “The more you play, the better you get. We do have two girls that are not with us that are two of our better beach players so when we get them back it will be a big difference. We’ve just got to keep playing and keep grinding.”
Mott also praises her group of seniors for their journey from being members of the program’s inaugural team, to being where they are now.
“It has been awesome to see because when they started, they had not played much beach volleyball, if any,” Mott said. “It was really cool to see like Jenna Panning in our ones just kill it and become such a good beach volleyball player. It has been a lot of fun to see where they started and where they are now.”
After starting off their season with four-consecutive home matches, the Govs will be on the road for the remainder of the abbreviated season that lasts until April 25.
Up next, APSU will travel to Jacksonville State for a round-robin styled tournament this weekend. They will face Eastern Kentucky (Saturday, 11 a.m.), Chattanooga (Saturday, 7 p.m.), Morehead State (Sunday, 10 a.m.) and finish off the evening with the hometown Gamecocks (Sunday, 6 p.m.)
Following their trip to JSU, the Govs will reacquaint with the Skyhawks in Martin, Tenn. for a doubleheader on Wednesday, April 21.