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Lulu Ambrose
Lulu Ambrose led the Mountaineers with 10 kills in the win.

Appalachain State Volleyball Wins Five Set Match Against NC A&T

The App State volleyball team opened action at the Black & Gold Invitational with a 3-2 (21-25, 26-24, 25-14, 23-25, 16-14) victory over North Carolina A&T on Thursday, marking its third consecutive five-set thriller and seventh consecutive victory on the season.

Junior Lulu Ambrose recorded a team-high 15 kills on the evening. Fifth-year senior McCall Denny notched her third double-double on the season with 13 kills and 15 digs. Freshman Delanie Grevengoed posted a career-high 13 kills. Redshirt freshman Katie Cruise led the team with 30 assists and four aces, while senior Sophie Cain posted 24 assists. Leading the team in the digs category was sophomore Kenady Roper, with 24. Junior Lauren Pledger and freshman Ava Leahy each notched eight blocks on the night.

App State outpaced the Aggies in kills (63-59), aces (9-5), and assists (57-56).

North Carolina A&T took a lead early in the first set, but the Mountaineers were determined to fight back, tying the score four times, meeting the Aggies at 18-18. The Aggies pulled away with a pair of 3-0 scoring runs to take the set 25-21. The Aggies jumped ahead to an early 6-2 lead in the second set.

The Mountaineers battled back with a 4-0 run that included a block from Pledger/Leahy and kills from Ambrose and Pledger. App State and North Carolina A&T went point-for-point until the Black and Gold broke away to lead 19-17 with a 4-0 run that included a Denny ace and blocks from Pledger/Ambrose and Pledger/Leahy. Matching each other point-for-point, App State managed to take the second set, 26-24, after kills from Denny and Pledger.

Gaining momentum and fueled by a loud Holmes Center crowd, the Mountaineers had a commanding third set after tying the score at 8-8 and breaking away for a 12-8 lead. The Black and Gold took a 20-13 lead after a block from Grevengoed/Pledger and held the Aggies to 14 points after closing the set with a 5-0 run that included a pair of kills from Denny and an ace from Cruise.

App State trailed North Carolina A&T early in the fourth set, erasing the deficit with an impressive 8-0 run that included a quartet of kills from Ambrose, kills from Pledger and Leahy, as well as a block from Leahy and sophomore Maya Winterhoff. The Aggies answered with their own 6-0 run to take a 20-17 edge. App State took a 22-21 lead after posting four consecutive points, but it wasn’t enough as the Aggies took the fourth set, 25-23.

In the fifth and final set, the Mountaineers met the Aggies at 4-4 with a kill from Grevengoed and at 5-5 after a kill from Winterhoff. Building off kills from Grevengoed and Denny, as well as a pair of North Carolina A&T errors, App State took a 9-6 lead. The Mountaineers kept a narrow edge over the Aggies until North Carolina A&T mustered a 3-0 run to overtake the lead 13-12. A block from Ambrose/Winterhoff tied things up at 13 all. The Aggies met the Mountaineers at 14 all, but kills from Winterhoff and Denny sealed the fifth set, 16-14, and match 3-2, for the Mountaineers.

The Mountaineers will host USC-Upstate at 11 a.m. on Friday for Education Day. All three matches on Friday will be free to attend and will be available to stream on ESPN+.

Full Black & Gold Invitational Tournament Scores & Schedule
Thursday, Sept. 7
App State 3, North Carolina A&T 2

Friday, Sept. 8
11 AM – App State vs. USC-Upstate {Education Day}
2 PM – North Carolina A&T vs. UNC Greensboro
6 PM – UNC Greensboro vs. USC-Upstate

Saturday, Sept. 9
11 AM – USC-Upstate vs. North Carolina A&T
2 PM – App State vs. UNC Greensboro