Appalachian State volleyball saw its season come to an end with a 3-1 loss (26-24, 21-25, 25-22, 27-25) to the College of Charleston in the semifinals of the 2011 Southern Conference Volleyball Championship on Sunday, Nov. 20 at the Pete Hanna Center.
The Mountaineers (21-11, 12-4) hung tough with the Cougars (24-9, 14-2)
throughout the entire match, forcing extra points in two of the four sets, but could not overcome a costly first-set loss to advance to the SoCon Championship match.
After the Cougars got off to a quick, 4-1 lead in the first set, Appalachian State battled back to and reeled off a 13-7 run to take a 14-11 lead midway through the set.
The Cougars responded with five-straight points to snag a 16-14 lead and force ASU to take a timeout to regroup itself.
Appalachian came out of the timeout to score three-straight and retake the lead, 17-16, to force a Cougar timeout.
The Mountaineers would lead 22-21 late in the set, but fell behind again (23-22). After staving off defeat twice, the Apps finally dropped he set by a 26-24 final.
Appalachian State came out hot in the second set, racing out to a 3-0 lead, which it would never surrender. The Cougars were able to tie the set at 12-12, but the Mountaineers answered every rally by Charleston before eventually picking up a 25-21 win.
The Cougars found themselves in a hole early in the third set as Appalachian got out to a 9-4 lead, but College of Charleston reeled off four-straight points to tie the match at 9-9.
Appalachian would find itself with another lead (16-13) midway through the set, but the Cougars strung together a 5-0 run to take an 18-16 lead and would never trail again on their way to a 25-22 win.
With the season on the line, the Mountaineers fought through a wild fourth set that featured 12 ties and seven lead changes.
Appalachian State and College of Charleston traded jabs throughout the set as neither team led by more than three points until the Cougars were able to pull away late (17-13) to seemingly put the match out of reach.
The Mountaineers, who showed resilience all afternoon, mounted an 8-2 run to take a 21-19 lead and give themselves new life.
Appalachian had its shot to send the match to a fifth and deciding set when it took a 24-23 lead, but the Cougars staved of defeat twice and eventually pulled out a 27-25 victory.
Maggie Seeds finished with a career-high 20 kills and four block assists to lead the Mountaineer attack while Anna Wagner finished with 15 kills and 11 digs.
Kasey Sauls posted 41 assists for the second-straight match to push her career total to 3,303 assists, the fifth-highest total in Appalachian State history.
Courtney Rhein had a match-high 29 digs to put her career total at 1,298 digs, fourth-best in the ASU record books. Kelly Rhein finished with 13 kills and 12 digs to complete a double-double.
College of Charleston was paced by Sloane White's 14 kills. Sarah Havel (11), Elyse Chubb (10) and Lizzie Theesfield (10) all had double-digit kill totals.
The Mountaineers .209 for the match and held the Cougars to a .186 attack percentage, but committed 29 errors to Charleston's 21. Appalachian did finish with a 10-9 edge in blocks.
The Cougars will square off against Samford tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the SoCon Championship match with the winner earning an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Appalachian State's 21 wins this season are the most since the 2006 campaign and C. Rhein finished the year with 599 digs, the third-highest single season total in ASU history.
Mountaineer head coach Matt Ginipro improved to 79-79 overall in five seasons at Appalachian and moved to 48-36 in the SoCon.
Photo Courtesy: Anna Wagner, by Dave Mayo, ASU Athletics