Friday night was the opening of conference play for the Gamecock volleyball squad who were eager to go coming off an upset of Tennessee in Knoxville the weekend before.
Hosting Austin Peay in Pete Mathews Coliseum, the Gamecocks came out sluggish in the early part of the match.
Coach Joseph Goodson called an early timeout in the first set as JSU trailed 9-4 and was not getting any momentum going.
Kaitlyn Zelhart helped give the Gamecocks a spark reeling off three consecutive points, and a 5-2 run pulled Jax State within two. However, they were unable to sustain a long rally and the Lady Govs went on to take the first set 25-19.
The second set opened with JSU behind early again down 5-1 and the score would stay near that margin as later on APSU led 16-12. A kill by Nicole Merget from an Abbey Heredia assist began to draw the Gamecocks closer and would eventually tie the set at 17 and then again at 19.
An error on APSU gave JSU its first lead at 20-19, and Jax State would stay ahead and win 25-23 to tie the match at one set apiece.
After getting back into the match JSU came out firing in the third and blew the Govs away as separate 8-0 and 7-0 runs were keys factors in the Gamecocks winning the set 25-8.
The fourth set never saw either team take more than a three point lead and with JSU holding a 24-23 lead it looked as JSU may close the deal until APSU stole the final three points to win 26-24 and send the game to a decisive fifth set.
The fifth set was back and forth the entire time, a kill by Emily Rutherford tied the set at 4, later Kacy Clinkenbeard’s kill tied it 7-7. An error by Austin Peay gave JSU a 12-11 lead and the Gamecocks would hold that lead and close the deal with a 15-13 win.
Merget and Clinkenbeard led Jax State with 17 and 15 kills respectively while Rutherford had 13 of her own. Heredia led the way with 42 assists while five Gamecocks had double-digits digs led by Samantha Bohne’s 16, Heredia and Rutherford each had 13 and Kelly Cole and Alina Agamy each added 11.
Following another five set win the next night over Murray State, and a 3-0 sweep of Tennessee Tech on Tuesday night, the Gamecocks start the season 3-0 in OVC play and will take on Southeast Missouri State on the road this Saturday.