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McCall Denny
McCall Denny had 18 kills for the Mountaineers.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

App State Volleyball Ousted From Sun Belt Tournament in Five Sets

The East Division No. 4 seeded App State volleyball team faced West Division No. 5 seed Louisiana on Thursday in the second round of the Sun Belt Tournament, falling to the Ragin’ Cajuns 3-2 (19-25, 25-14, 25-22, 13-25, 12-15). Thursday’s match marked the third consecutive meeting between the teams. The Mountaineers had closed out the regular season with a pair of victories against the Ragin’ Cajuns on Nov. 11 and 12.

“We have so much to be proud of this year,” said head coach Sarah Rumely Noble. “The team gave their all every single day and the growth has been incredible. I am proud to be their coach.”

App State went 18-10 this season and won 11 of 12 matches between Oct. 6 and Nov. 12.

Senior McCall Denny recorded a team-high 18 kills as well as 11 digs for her 12th double-double on the season. Junior Sophie Cain also recorded her 10th double-double this fall, tallying a team-high 17 assists and 14 digs, the second-most on the team. Freshman Alyssa McBean led the Mountaineers in digs, recording 18. McBean also matched fellow freshman Maya Winterhoff for the lead in aces, both serving up four. Winterhoff and senior Sarah Missroon each totaled four blocks.

App State recorded 12 aces compared to Louisiana’s three.

App State and Louisiana went point-for-point in the first set. The Ragin’ Cajuns recorded a 4-0 run to lead 11-7, but the Mountaineers answered with a 4-0 run of their own to tie things up at 11-11. When Louisiana posted three consecutive points to jump ahead 17-14, the Black and Gold responded with three points to tie things up at 17 all, but it wasn’t enough to slow Louisiana’s momentum. The Ragin’ Cajuns took set one, 25-19.

The Mountaineers kicked off the second set with a 3-0 run. App State steadily extended its lead to 11-8, which the Ragin’ Cajuns answered with a 4-0 scoring run to take a 12-11 lead. A pair of kills from Denny and errors from Louisiana put App State ahead 15-12. Up 16-14, the Black and Gold went on a nine-point run that included two kills from Ambrose, two from Winterhoff, two from junior Madison Baldridge, and a pair of aces served up by McBean. A solo block from Winterhoff wrapped the 9-0 run and closed out the set for the Mountaineers, 25-14.

In the third set, App State posted four points in a row after kills from Winterhoff and Denny, followed by back-to-back aces from Winterhoff. The Mountaineers posted three consecutive points that included a kill and ace from Denny, to lead 8-5. After another 3-0 run, the Mountaineers led 17-13. The Ragin’ Cajuns met the Mountaineers at 20 all, but App State pushed ahead with back-to-back kills from Winterhoff. A block from Missroon and Denny brought the Black and Gold to set point and a kill from Denny sealed the set, 25-22, for App State.

Louisiana jumped out to an early 4-2 lead in the fourth set, and expanded the deficit to 15-4 after a 9-0 run. Two more 4-0 runs launched Louisiana to a 23-7 lead. The Mountaineers fought back, holding the Ragin’ Cajuns to four set points as Denny and Winterhoff went up for a block, the Ragin’ Cajuns made two errors, and Winterhoff served up an ace. Louisiana took the fourth set 24-13 after a kill from Kara Barnes.

In the fifth and final set, Louisiana jumped out to a 5-0 lead. App State steadily fought back, coming within three after a kill from Denny and block from Missroon and junior Meghan Dombrowski (12-9). Louisiana took the set, 15-12, and match, 3-2, to advance to Friday’s quarterfinal match against the West Division No. 1 seed, Texas State.