The final word in the APSU huddle following a timeout was simple as the Redhawks of Southeast Missouri clawed their way within a couple points needed to force a fifth set.
The Lady Govs did just that, showing resiliency on Saturday in the second-straight match to defeat SEMO, 3-1. Senior outside hitter Jada Stotts led the way with a season-high 24 kills, helping her team open Ohio Valley Conference play with back-to-back wins for the first time 2010.
“It’s huge,” Stotts said. “This is exactly how we wanted to start off to really show our presence in this conference, and let everyone know we’re ready to go. It just gives us all the momentum for the next game on Tuesday against Murray, because that’s a great, great team.”
Murray State will also bring a 2-0 conference record into the rivalry match, with first serve beginning at 7 p.m.
Against the Redhawks, APSU got off to another good start, winning the opening set, 25-20. But in the second, the Lady Govs began giving away points with three early attack areas, and SEMO capitalized. Before APSU was able to reach 10, the Redhawks were cruising with 21 points, and ended up winning the one-sided set, 25-15.
A much-needed halftime break was needed for APSU head coach Taylor Mott to talk privately with her team, making some adjustments that would pay off in sets three and four.
“We didn’t really change our lineup; we just changed the energy,” Mott said. “We brought in a different libero with April (Adams) struggling a little bit, but really it was just energy. When we have energy and play hard with confidence, we’re hard to beat, but we go through these slumps sometimes.”
The Lady Govs bounced back in the third, getting kills from six different players to pull away from their opponent, 25-18. But the fourth featured more ups and downs than APSU would have liked. After going up 12-7 on SEMO, the Lady Govs felt their lead slip away as the Redhawks knotted the score at 19-19, then took the lead, 23-20. Mott signaled for timeout, and after the stoppage, Stotts fired away to contribute on all five points in that span, including the final two kills to down the Redhawks.
Now, it’s all about finding their groove to stay consistent as the homestand continues on Tuesday.
“It’s just about believing in your teammates,” Stotts said. “I think we’re doing a really good job of building relationships on the team, and being able to look at each other and say,’It’s okay if you make a mistake. We have your back.'”
Photo: Jada Stotts (#14) (Chris Malone/The All State)