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Maya Winterhoff
Sophomore Maya Winterhoff earns all-conference honors for the second time in her career.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Volleyball Wins in Five Sets

The App State volleyball team capped the weekend’s competition against ULM with a thrilling five-set victory on Saturday at the Holmes Convocation Center. App State defeated ULM, 3-2 (20-25, 24-26, 25-21, 25-18, 15-11). Saturday’s victory marked the Mountaineers’ fourth five-set victory as well as their second reverse sweep of the season.

“I am so proud of the grit of this team,” said head coach Sarah Rumely Noble. “We responded after being down 0-2 and found a way to win. It was a great way to end the weekend.”

After the match, the Mountaineers honored their seniors, Meghan Dombrowski, McCall Denny, Alec Quinn, Sophie Cain, and Madison Baldridge for Senior Day.

Fifth-year senior McCall Denny and sophomore Maya Winterhoff split the team-high in the kills category, both posting 13 kills on the afternoon. Denny recorded her 27th career double-double, posting 20 digs in addition to her 13 kills. Redshirt freshman Katie Cruise earned her fifth double-double this season with 27 assists and 12 digs. Winterhoff led the team in the blocks category, tallying eight (two solo, six assists). Sophomore Kenady Roper recorded a team-high 31 digs, while fellow sophomore Alyssa McBean recorded a career high six aces against the Warhawks.

App State led ULM in aces (9-5) and blocks (12-8).

In the first set, ULM came out hot, creating a 5-0 deficit that the Mountaineers had to catch up to. The Black and Gold met the Warhawks at 9-9 after back-to-back kills from freshman Ava Leahy and junior Lulu Ambrose, but ULM answered with a 5-0 run to take a 14-9 lead. ULM kept a steady lead through the set, clinching it 25-20.

The Warhawks jumped to a 10-6 lead in the second set, building on the foundation of a 4-0 run at the start of the set. The Mountaineers closed in on the Warhawks at 10-9 after a pair of kills from Ambrose, and took the lead with a 5-0 run that included kills from senior Madison Baldridge and Denny as well as three consecutive aces from McBean (14-11). App State extended the lead to 20-16 after an Ambrose kill. ULM erased the deficit and took a 23-22 edge with a 5-0 run, but App State answered with a kill from Ambrose that was followed by a ULM error (24-23). ULM met App State at 24 all before taking the set, 26-24.

App State and ULM went point-for-point in the third set until ULM took a 10-5 lead. With a 4-0 run that included kills from Denny and junior Lauren Pledger, App State managed to edge ahead, 13-12. Kills from Pledger and Leahy, as well as a ULM error, put App State ahead 16-13. As ULM worked to keep pace with the Mountaineers, the Black and Gold extended its lead to 20-16 with kills from Ambrose and Winterhoff. The Mountaineers closed out the third set, 25-21 with an Ambrose kill.

In a tight fourth set, App State took a 10-9 edge after a McBean ace and Winterhoff kill. The Mountaineers and Warhawks battled point-for-point, meeting at 15 all. The Mountaineers broke the tie with a 6-0 scoring run that featured kills from Leahy and Ambrose, a pair of Cruise aces, and a block from Ambrose/Winterhoff (21-15). The duo of Baldridge/Winterhoff posted a pair of strong blocks late in the set. Pledger sealed the set, 25-18, for the Mountaineers with a kill.

With App State and ULM tied at two sets apiece, App State recorded the first two points of the fifth and final set. ULM met App State at 4-4 and took a slight 5-4 lead. Pledger tied things up at 5-5 with a kill. App State took an 11-9 lead with a kill from Winterhoff and ace from McBean. Kills from Winterhoff and Denny brought App State to set and match point. ULM managed a final block before Pledger clinched the set for the Mountaineers, 15-11, and match, 3-2.

The Mountaineers will head to Huntington, WV for a pair of matches against Marshall on Oct. 20 and 21. Friday’s match will be at 6 p.m. and Saturday’s match is set for 2 p.m. Both will be available to stream on ESPN+.