VOLLEYBALL: Underrated Schiff kills Peay’s hopes

Amber North

Any athlete can have a performance worth noting on a given night.

But not many can bring it to the table on a regular basis. And that’s what junior Amanda Schiff has been doing all season.

“Schiff’s a kid that is worthy of getting recognition,” coach Travis Hudson said. “She’s the most underrated player to ever come to this program and is our most valuable player right now.”

Schiff, who leads the team in kills per game (3.49) and hitting percentage (.355), hit the .700 hitting percentage plateau for a second straight match with a .722 percentage. And she collected 14 kills in Western’s three-game win against Austin Peay in Diddle Arena Tuesday night.

“I’m definitely more consistent than I was last year,” Schiff said. “Last year not many teams paid attention to me, but this year people have paid more attention to me, so I did what I could to be more aware of my performance.”

Tuesday night was the second time the Lady Toppers (21-6, 7-2 Sun Belt) have beaten Austin Peay this season.

And similar to the first meeting Sept. 19, Western came away with the win in three games (30-20, 30-20, 30-20).

Western was sluggish in the first game, allowing the Lady Govs (11-12, 6-4 Ohio Valley Conference) to hit .273 behind the net. And Hudson isn’t accustomed to watching his team allow that high of a percentage.

“The score wasn’t indicative of how we played in Game One,” Hudson said. “We take pride in our defense, and we didn’t defend well.”

In the following two games the Lady Toppers’ defensive efforts intensified, with three players recording double-digit digs.

Senior libero Tracy May led the match with 14 digs, and juniors Amanda Cecil and Ashly Miller both added 10.

“We definitely responded well,” Hudson said. “We were the better athletes, but I wanted to win because we outworked them.”

Western also saw outstanding hitting performances from other players. Sophomore Jessie Wagner posted 10 kills on a .769 hitting percentage with no errors, and senior Cynda Derbort and junior Lyndsey Broerman both had nine kills a piece.

While Western students enjoy the Homecoming festivities Saturday, the Lady Toppers will be in Miami, Fla., to face conference rival Florida International (11-11, 3-6 SBC) for the second time.

In their previous meeting, Western defeated the Golden Panthers at home in three games. FIU is now fourth in the Sun Belt East division.

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