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

Appalachian State Volleyball Sweeps Louisiana-Monroe, Advances in Sun Belt Tournament

The App State volleyball team opened Sun Belt Tournament action on Wednesday with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-22) sweep of the West Division’s No. 7 seed, ULM. East Division No. 6 seed App State will advance to the second round to take on the West Division’s No. 3 seed, Troy, on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. CT (5:30 p.m. ET).

“I’m super proud of our team,” said head coach Sarah Rumely Noble. “No one on this current roster has ever won a match in the conference tournament and so they’ve just been so driven and focused all week. I’m just ecstatic that we could get the win here today.”

Fifth-year senior McCall Denny recorded a team high 13 kills in addition to 11 digs for her 31st career double-double. Junior Lulu Ambrose recorded 11 kills on the afternoon. Sophomore Maya Winterhoff recorded a hitting percentage of .600 and totaled a team-high seven blocks (two solo, five assists) for the Black and Gold. Redshirt freshman Katie Cruise led the team in the aces (2) and assists category (17). In the digs category, sophomore Alyssa McBean recorded a team-high 20 digs.

App State recorded 12 blocks compared to ULM’s two. App State also led ULM in digs (59-52), aces (5-2), and kills (43-41).

App State went on an early 4-0 run in the first set to take a 6-4 edge over ULM. The Mountaineers built a 12-6 lead with another 4-0 run that included a pair of kills from Ambrose, a kill from junior Lauren Pledger, and an ace from Cruise. ULM tried to catch up, but the Black and Gold maintained an 18-12 lead after a block from freshman Ava Leahy/Winterhoff, which Leahy followed up with a kill. ULM cut App State’s lead to three (23-20), but Denny slammed down a kill that sealed the set, 25-21, for the Mountaineers.

The Mountaineers took an early 3-0 run with a kill from Denny, a block from Denny/Winterhoff, and a Warhawk error. ULM took a 6-5 edge after a 3-0 run of its own, but App State answered with a 5-0 run that included blocks from Pledger/Ambrose, Pledger/Leahy, and an ace from Winterhoff (10-6). A trio of kills from Leahy, freshman Delanie Grevengoed, and Ambrose, in addition to a block from Pledger/Ambrose, extended App State’s lead to 14-7. Building off a pair of 3-0 runs, App State jumped ahead, 23-11. An Ambrose kill brought App State to set point. Despite being held to three set points, the Black and Gold clinched the set, 25-16.

In the third set, App State edged ahead, 3-2, after a 3-0 run that included back-to-back kills from Grevengoed and Winterhoff. A pair of kills from Winterhoff, as well as a kill from Ambrose, kept App State ahead, 6-4. A kill from Leahy and an ace from Cruise gave the Mountaineers a 9-8 edge. After a 3-0 run from ULM, App State tied the score at 11 all. Meeting at 12-12 after a kill from Denny, Grevengoed/Winterhoff went up for a block to give the Mountaineers a 13-12 lead. Back-to-back kills from Denny and Ambrose kept App State ahead, 16-14. As the Mountaineers and Warhawks fought point-for-point, App State broke away for a 22-19 lead. A kill from Grevengoed and solo block from Denny brought App State to set and match point (24-21). A kill from Denny secured the set, 25-22, and the match, 3-0, for the Mountaineers.

The Mountaineers will take on the West Division’s No. 3 seed, Troy, in the second round of the Sun Belt Tournament on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. CT (6:30 p.m. ET). The tournament will be available to stream on ESPN+. Thursday’s match will be Troy’s first in the tournament after earning a first-round bye.

The Trojans went 14-12 (12-4 SBC) this fall. Troy had a rocky start to the season with six consecutive non-conference losses before it was able to muster a 3-1 victory against the College of Charleston on Sept. 8. The Trojans went 10-match win-streak that spanned from their SBC opener against Louisiana on Sept. 21, to Oct. 21. South Alabama broke the streak with a sweep of the Trojans on Oct. 26, before Troy defeated the Jaguars, 3-1 on Oct. 27. Troy posted a pair of losses against Texas State before splitting a pair of matches with Georgia Southern to close the regular season.

Tori Hester is one kill away from 400 kills this season for the Trojans and leads the team in the service aces category with 42. Following Hester in the kills category is Amiah Butler, who has 327. Janelle Stuempfig is one assist away from breaking 1,000 assists this fall. Jaci Mesa boasts a team-high 335 digs this fall, while Julia Brooks has tallied a team-high 82 blocks.

The winner of Thursday’s match will advance to Friday’s 4:30 p.m. CT (5:30 p.m. ET) quarterfinal match against East Division No. 2 seed James Madison.

2023 Sun Belt Volleyball Tournament Schedule
November 15-19, 2023 | Foley, Ala. | Foley Sports Tourism Complex

First Round Results
(6W) Arkansas State 3, (7E) Georgia State 1
(6E) App State 3, (7W) ULM 0

Second Round – Thursday, November 16
Match 3 – 11:00 a.m. CT – (3E) Georgia Southern vs. (6W) Arkansas State
Match 4 – 1:30 p.m. CT – (4W) Louisiana vs. (5E) Old Dominion
Match 5 – 4:30 p.m. CT – (3W) Troy vs. (6E) App State
Match 6 – 7:00 p.m. CT – (4E) Marshall vs. (5W) Southern Miss

Quarterfinals – Friday, November 17
Match 7 – 11:00 a.m. CT – (2W) South Alabama vs. Winner Match 3
Match 8 – 1:30 p.m. CT – (1E) Coastal Carolina vs. Winner Match 4
Match 9 – 4:30 p.m. CT – (2E) James Madison vs. Winner Match 5
Match 10 – 7:00 p.m. CT – (1W) Texas State vs. Winner Match 6

Semifinals – Saturday, November 18
Match 11 – 2:00 p.m. CT – Winner Match 7 vs. Winner Match 8
Match 12 – 5:00 p.m. CT – Winner Match 9 vs. Winner Match 10

Championship – Sunday, November 19
Match 13 – 3:00 p.m. CT – Winner Match 11 vs. Winner Match 12