Notebook: Belmont 8-0 in OVC, SIUE, Eastern Kentucky both 0-6.

Tom O'Connor, Volleyball Reporter

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Six of the eight teams that reached the playoffs last November, including Austin Peay at 14-2, won more than half of their conference games.

These six teams managed to stay above sea level as the OVC elimination tournament approached.

All four non-playoff teams last season were, at least against conference opponents, anywhere from three to five games below this particular threshold.

Currently, the OVC can be broken down into two neatly separated subdivisions, with one half of the teams above .500 and the other below.

Jacksonville State, which is sandwiched between the top and bottom tiers, has been, over the course of this past weekend, somewhat stale, falling to Boston College, Grand Canyon and Southern Utah.

A .083 attack percentage and 30 attack errors spelled defeat for the Gamecocks versus Grand Canyon University on Saturday, indicative of the Gamecocks’ overall performance in these two facets. In relation to conference teams, the Gamecocks are ninth in hitting percentage and eighth in opponent attack percentage, both falling in the below average range.

Some teams, like Belmont (0-8), Southern Illinois Edwardsville (0-6) and Eastern Kentucky (0-6), have been drowning in the Ohio Valley Conference talent pool, stuck at the very bottom of the standings.

As the Bruins embarked on the 2018 season, the team, now in last place, has excavated little of the remains from a playoff run 10 months ago. Belmont has gone 0-3 in six of its eight games this season and has spawned a shakeup to the roster, almost half of whom are freshman.

Hosting the Curb Event Center Bruiser Showcase, Belmont succumbed to University of Maryland-Baltimore County (3-2), Tulsa (3-0) and East Tennessee State (3-0), matches

Before UMBC spoiled Belmont’s season best 76 digs and 62 kills with a win in set five, the Bruins

However, on the other end of the OVC pecking order, Austin Peay (6-0) and Southeast Missouri (5-2) have adapted to the tournament habitat.

Take Austin Peay for example.

At 6-0, Austin Peay dashed through both the Kangaroo Classic and Middle Tennessee Blue Raider bash unscathed, coming up short in only four of the 19 sets it played.

According to the rating percentage index (RPI), which compares teams based on wins and strength of schedule, the Governors are a top 60 Division I school thus far.

Two Austin Peay seniors, middle blocker Kaylee Taff and Kristen Tucker, were named as members of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raider bash this past Friday and Saturday.

For the Redhawks Invitational, hosted by Loisiana-Monroe last Friday, Southeast Missouri parroted the 1986 school record for best start to a season in its 3-0 win over University of Louisiana-Monroe.

Southeast Missouri sophomore Laney Malloy the most kills of her volleyball career with 16, and senior Madara Bajare exerted a personal best .440 attack percentage.

A number of Southeast Missouri players are represented in the upper echelons of the Ohio Valley Conference.

Bajare, on a per set basis, is tenth in the conference in points, eighth in kills and sixth in hitting percentage.

            Tom O’Connor can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]