Courtesy of Luke Thompson of Leaf-Chronicle
CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — The new floor at the Dunn Center received rave reviews from Austin Peay athletes after hosting its first week of practices and fall workouts.
Govs senior forward Anthony Campbell, who tore his ACL twice on the old floor in the past two years, said the anchored resilient wood system with a rubberized base gives a lot more and doesn’t leave him nearly as sore following a hard workout. Campbell expects to begin playing pickup games at the Dunn with his teammates this week for the first time since December.
“Whenever you dribble you can feel it,” Campbell said Wednesday, adding that the floor provides more lift on jump shots. “When you land you can definitely feel it’s a little bit softer.”
Lady Govs guard Nicole Olszewski said the team is eager to show off the darker, newly varnished maple floor to fans in the team’s first exhibition game Nov. 5 against Martin Methodist, two days after the men open against Central Missouri. The improved feel is obvious, and the junior who played the latter part of last season with a stress fracture in her foot said it’s comforting to know the surface put in by Connor Sports Floor was specially designed to protect athletes’ knees and ankles.
Olszewski and Campbell both said another noticeable effect is the way their shoes stick to the floor, unlike old courts such as the one in Canada where Campbell said he watched his teammates slide all over the place as they tried to move. Austin Peay volleyball outside hitter Jada Stotts said it’s not quite ideal for diving, but overall she has few complaints.
“I think it’s beautiful,” said Stotts, who will lead the Lady Govs in their first match at the Dunn Center this year on Sept. 21 against Jacksonville State. “I’m extremely excited to play on it and I know we’ll have a pretty good crowd. It’s a little sticky, but we’re breaking it in.”
Stotts agreed with the basketball players that jumping feels a lot better, and she’s thrilled about the addition of barely visible “ghost lines” that serve as the only real change in the court’s design. The Lady Govs will still put tape down to make the lines clear for matches, but significantly less is now needed for practice.
Lady Govs heating up just in time for OVC play
Austin Peay finished its season-opening 15-game road trip on a high note behind more great play from Stotts, the Ohio Valley Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week.
The sophomore earned a starting spot in place of graduated senior Ilyana Hernandez and didn’t take long to cement herself as the team’s top player. She leads the Lady Govs (6-9) with 195 kills and 141 digs, despite missing most of the preseason with a broken left hand.
“I guess it really helped to show me how bad I wanted to be on the court, watching my team and not being able to play,” Stotts said.
As a seldom-used reserve under former coach Bill Egbert a year ago, Stotts recorded only 66 kills with an attack percentage of .126. This year under new coach Taylor Mott, her attack percentage is up to .247 and it took her only seven matches to surpass her kills total from last season.
She led the way Tuesday with 19 kills as Austin Peay roared past Middle Tennessee State in its third consecutive three-set victory, doubling its victory total from the first 12 matches. Stotts has plenty of confidence in her fellow hitter.