Appalachian State University volleyball dropped its weekend finale to Southern Conference rival UNCG by a 3-1 final on Sunday night at the Holmes Center. The Mountaineers (5-13, 1-3 SoCon) were
able to snag a first-set victory, but ultimately could not hold off the Spartans (8-7, 3-1), who downed the Apps by scores of 25-17, 27-25 and 29-27 over the final three sets.
Appalachian jumped out to an early 6-1 lead in the first set, forcing UNCG to burn an early timeout. The Spartans would come out of the break to pull within three points (7-4) but were never able to gain the lead as the Mountaineers led the entire set en route to a 25-21 win.
The second set was nearly a complete reversal of the second as UNCG grabbed an early lead and stayed in front nearly the entire set to tie the match at 1-1. A back-and-forth third set would ensue as the teams swapped leads four times throughout. The Mountaineers snagged a quick 6-2 lead, but the Spartans rallied to pull within one point (12-11).
App State pieced together a short, 4-0 run to force a UNCG timeout and extend its lead to 16-11, but the Spartans would again rally to tie the set at 21-21 before finally taking the lead. The Apps were able to push UNCG to the edge by grabbing a 25-24 lead, but were unable to close out the Spartans, who rallied to take a 27-25 third-set win.
The fourth and final set would prove to be just as entertaining as the third as the teams again swapped the lead four times. The Spartans enjoyed their biggest lead of the set at 19-14, but a late push by the Mountaineers tied the match at 24-24. Both teams had opportunities to close the other out in the late stages, but it was UNCG that would prevail by a 29-27 final.
Jessica Eley (Kansas City, Mo./Bishop Miege) tallied a carer-high 14 kills for the Mountaineers while Dalton Tolliver (Ortonville, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) and Emily Corrigan (Johns Creek, Ga./Chattahoochee) each recorded 12. Lindsey Sauls (Prairie Village, Kan./Shawnee Mission East) put down 11 kills and Courtney Rhein (York, Pa./Eastern York) finished with 25 digs.
Karrian Chambers paced the Spartans with 20 kills and 22 digs while OIivia Humphries tallied 16 kills on the night. Kellie Orewiler finished the match with 25 digs and Emily McMurtrey notched 57 assists.
The Mountaineers struggled on the offensive side of the net, hitting just .180 on the attack while UNCG finished with a respectable .259 hitting percentage. Both teams were effective defensively as the Apps tallied 12 blocks to the Spartans’ 10.
Appalachian State returns to action on Thursday when it travels to Western Carolina for a 7 p.m. match before returning home on Saturday, Oct. 6 for a 7:30 p.m. duel with Georgia Southern.
MATCH NOTES: The Mountaineers dropped to 27-22 all-time against UNCG... Rhein needs just 205 more digs to become App State’s all-time leader... she has recorded 1,624 career digs and needs 76 more to move into second all-time... Appalachian State was awarded a point by the officials in the first set due to a rotation error by UNCG.