App State volleyball fell twice to South Alabama to open the 2020 season on Friday in the Holmes Center.
The Jaguars (3-5, 3-1 SBC) prevailed in the first contest 25-23, 25-18, 25-13 and took the nightcap 25-14, 25-19, 25-16.
In the first match, five players recorded at least three kills for the Mountaineers (0-2, 0-2 SBC). Lexi Kohut led the way with six kills, Grace Morrison had five kills, Victoria Wilform tallied four kills and Anna Kincaid and Madison Baldridge tallied three apiece.
Emma Reilly had a team-high nine digs and Sophie Cain had a team-best 14 assists to go along with six digs.
In the opening set, App State used back-to-back aces from Wilform to jump out to a 5-2 lead. South Alabama countered with the next three points to tie the score at 5-5. App State retook the lead at 11-9, only to see the Jaguars reel off three consecutive points to jump in front 12-11. Later in the set, South Alabama opened a 18-15 lead, only to see the Black and Gold score three consecutive points, capped off by a Kohut service ace, to tie the score at 18-18. With the set knotted at 22-22, the Jaguars scored two consecutive points to take a two-point lead. The Mountaineers used a Morrison kill to pull within 24-23, but South Alabama won the next point to take the opening frame.
After App State won the first point of the second set, South Alabama scored seven straight points to take a 7-1 lead. The Jaguars pushed their lead to 11-3, before five consecutive Mountaineer points trimmed their deficit to 11-8. South Alabama scored four straight points later in the set to push their lead to 16-9. The Mountaineers pulled within 20-16 late in the frame, but could get no closer.
In Set 3, South Alabama took a commanding 11-2 lead early on. The Mountaineers pulled within seven points, but could get no closer in the set as the Jaguars prevailed in the final frame 25-13.
In the second contest, Kohut paced the Mountaineer offense with eight kills. Wilform added six, Daryn Armstrong chipped in with four and Kincaid and Baldridge each had three. Cain dished out 16 assists and Reilly reached double figures in digs with 10.
A kill by Wilform in the first set gave App State an early 9-8 lead. South Alabama answered with five straight points to take a 13-9 edge. Following a Mountaineer point, the Jaguars went on a 6-1 run to take a 19-11 lead, en route to a 25-14 first set victory.
In Set 2, South Alabama used a 6-1 spurt to build a 13-6 lead. App State chipped away at the Jaguar lead and pulled within 16-13 on a service ace by Kincaid. The Jaguars came right back with four straight points, but the Black and Gold responded with three consecutive points to pull within 20-16. The Mountaineers trimmed their deficit to 22-19, before South Alabama reeled off three straight points to take the second set 25-19.
App State took an early 6-3 lead in the third set on a kill by Amya Giger. South Alabama scored five straight points to take an 8-6 advantage. App State scored the next two points to tie the score, but the Jaguars went on a 4-1 run to take a 13-9 lead. South Alabama pushed its lead to 17-11 and the Mountaineers got within five points twice, but couldn’t get any closer.
The two teams will square off again on Saturday in the finale of the weekend series. First serve is set for 1 p.m. in the Holmes Center.