Appalachian State suffered its first SoCon Volleyball loss of the season in a 3-1 defeat at the hands of North Division rival Elon on Saturday, Oct. 1 at Alumni Gym.
The Mountaineers (10-7, 2-1) picked up a first set win, but the Phoenix (13-6, 2-2) rallied for three-straight set wins en route to their second-straight SoCon victory.
ASU saw its season-high five-match winning streak come to an end with the loss but remained in a first-place tie with UNCG in the SoCon North after the Spartans fell to Western Carolina.
Appalachian got off to a quick start in the first set on Saturday night as it jumped out to a 13-8 lead in the early going. The Mountaineers would lead by as many as six points (17-11) on their way to a 25-20 first set victory.
The second set went the way of the home team in and back-and-forth battle that featured 13 ties and three lead changes. Neither squad led by more than three points during the entire set and Appalachian staved off defeat three times in the late stages of the set before the Phoenix pulled out the 28-26 win.
Elon picked up a 25-22 win in the third set which was a near mirror image of the second set. Both teams battled throughout a set that saw nine ties and five lead changes. ASU had an early two-point lead (13-11) but the Phoenix jumped in front 14-13 and never trailed again to take a 2-1 lead after three sets.
The Mountaineers would find themselves behind by as many as four points (21-17) late in the fourth set before rallying to pull within two points at 21-19. Elon was able to stem the tide and netted four the final five points to pick up a 25-20 match clinching set victory.
Maggie Seeds and Anna Wagner led the Apps with 14 kills apiece while Alison Blasingame finished one block assist short of her career-high with six block assists.
Courtney Rhein recorded 28 digs and Kasey Sauls led the Apps with 28 assists. Lauren Brown fell two assists short of her season-high with 21 assists.
Elon was paced by Caroline Lemke’s match-high 17 kills while Kris Harris recorded 13 kills. Megan McMahon (29) and Nickie Halbert (24) each finished with double-digit assist totals.
As a team ASU hit just .228, its lowest hitting percentage since a 3-1 loss to Western Michigan on Sept. 9. Both teams committed 22 attack errors and Elon recorded 10 blocks to Appalachian’s eight.
The Mountaineers return to action tomorrow when they take on UNCG in a battle for sole-possession of first-place in the SoCon North Division. The match is set to begin at 5 p.m. at UNCG’s Fleming Gym.
Appalachian Men's Soccer Defeats Elon in SoCon Opener
In his debut with the Apps, junior Boubacar Toure (Atlanta, Ga. / Georgia Perimeter College) scored the game winner tolift Appalachian State men’s soccer (5-2-2, 1-0-0 SoCon) to a 2-1 victory overElon (2-6-1, 0-0-1) in the teams’ Southern Conference opener on Saturday night.
“Tonight was a great team win,” commented head coach MattNelson. “We had a great all-around effortand are glad to beat a team as good as Elon. It’s a fantastic start to our goalof winning the conference crown.”
The Phoenix struck first, picking up the game’s openinggoal. In the 18th minute, Elon’s Gabe Latigue scored his first goal of theseason on a free kick from just outside the penalty box.
Appalachian responded less than 15 minutes later, as SeanDreybus (Newport News, Va. / Warwick)netted the equalizer in the 32nd minute. His short shot across the front of thegoal from the left side was his team-high fourth score of the season.
Early in the second period, Toure made his presence known ona strike from 12 yards out. His first career goal proved to be the differencemaker, as the Mountaineers cruised to the 2-1 victory and a flawless start tothe conference slate.
Sophomore Danny Free(Doncaster, England / Hall Cross School) notched a pair of saves in goal forthe Mountaineers, while Toure and Sekani Sinclair (Parkland, Fla. / Marjory Stoneman Douglas) tallieda game-high two shots.
Appalachian extends its unbeaten streak to six games(4-0-2). With its last loss coming to Mercer (2-0) on Sept. 4, the Mountaineershave guaranteed themselves at least 31 days between losses. The last time theApps went more than 30 days without a loss in one season was 1978, when theyposted a 9-0-2 regular-season record en route to a SoCon championship and NCAATournament second-round appearance.
The Mountaineers return home on Wednesday, Oct. 5 for anon-conference game against Winthrop (3-6-0). Kick off is at 7 p.m. at ASUSoccer Stadium.