Jacqui Spurgeon (Waxhaw, N.C./Marvin Ridge) and Lindsey Sauls (Prairie Village, Kan./Shawnee Mission East) each tallied career-high kill totals as Appalachian State University volleyball picked up a thrilling 3-2 win over BIG EAST foe
Georgetown in the opening match of the VCU/Third Degree Sportswear Invitational on Friday at the Stiegel Center. The Mountaineers (2-6) staved off defeat in a gritty fourth-set performance to send the Hoyas (5-1) to their first defeat of the season by scores of 21-25, 25-17, 20-25, 29-17 and 15-12. Georgetown was able to snag a first-set victory in a back-and-forth battle that featured seven ties and two lead changes, but App State would not back down, bouncing back in the second set to knot the match at 1-1.
The Mountaineers raced out to an 8-4 lead in the second set thanks to a balanced performance before the Hoyas were able to draw within one point (11-10) thanks to a 5-0 run. Appalachian would respond with a 7-0 run of its own to take an 18-10 lead en route to a set victory. After snagging a second-straight 8-4 lead to start the third set, the Mountaineers would fall prey to another Georgetown run as the Hoyas reeled off 10-1 run to jump out to a 14-9 lead.
The Apps would tie the set twice in the late stages, but Georgetown hung on for a third-set victory to take a 2-1 advantage and pin the Mountaineers to the wall. With the possibility of elimination looming, Appalachian State was able to hold off the Hoyas and grind out an incredible 29-27 third-set victory. The Mountaineers led for a majority of the set before Georgetown stormed back to take the lead late.
The Hoyas were able to push App State to the brink three times in the late stages but squandered three-straight match-point opportunities as the Apps finished the match on a 3-0 run to finish off a thrilling, 29-27 third-set win. The Mountaineers dominated the fifth and final set of the match as they never trailed en route to a 15-12 victory and a 3-2 match win.
Spurgeon led the Apps with a career-high 22 kills while Sauls finished with a career-best 15 kills and five digs. Lauren Gray (Round Rock, Texas/Round Rock) and Dalton Tolliver (Ortonville, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) each tallied nine kills while Paige Brown (Overland Park, Kan./St. James Academy) recorded a career-high 41 assists while matching her season-best with 19 digs.
Courtney Rhein (York, Pa./Eastern York) finished with 21 digs in the match while true freshman Meghan Mahoney (Leawood, Kan./ Blue Valley) tallied 15 digs. Jessica Eley (Kansas City, Mo./Bishop Miege) set a career-high with nine block assists while Tolliver added eight of her own.
The Hoyas were paced by Alex Johnson’s match-high 25 kills. Johnson also led all players with 25 digs while Haley Lowrance tallied a match-high 62 assist. The Mountaineers hit .159 on the attack while Georgetown recorded a .162 attack percentage. Appalachian State finished with 15 kills to the Hoyas’ 14 and committed 29 attack errors to Georgetown’s 35.
App State returns to action tomorrow when it faces tournament host VCU at 1 p.m. before finishing the weekend against Virginia at 4:30 p.m.
MATCH NOTES: The Apps improved to 175-163 all-time in regular-season tournament play... App State also moved to 20-12 in five-set matches under head coach Matt Ginipro... the Mountaineers have won four-straight five-set matches dating back to last season... the 29-27 victory in the third set on Friday marked the highest score in a set-victory for the Mountaineers since Oct. 23, 2010 when the team notched a 30-28 first-set win over Davidson in a 3-0 sweep of the Wildcats... Rhein increased her career-dig total to 1,459... she needs 369 more digs to move into first-place in App State history.
Photo Courtesy: Jacqui Spurgeon, ASU Athletics