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

Appalachian State Volleyball Wraps Up Black and Gold Tournament

The App State volleyball team swept UNC Greensboro in the final match of the Black & Gold Tournament on Saturday at the Holmes Convocation Center in Boone, 3-0.

Saturday’s win marks the sixth sweep for the Mountaineers this season, as the team has gone 9-0 (0-0 SBC) so far during the 2023 campaign. The program has recorded its best start since 2014, when it posted 13 consecutive wins from Aug. 29, 2014 to Sept. 21, 2014.

“I am so proud of this team,” said head coach Sarah Rumely Noble. “We talk all the time about showing up and doing the work and we did that this weekend. The fan support was incredible as well and it was a fun environment to play in all weekend.”

Junior Lauren Pledger, and sophomores Kenady Roper and Maya Winterhoff made the Black & Gold All-Tournament Team. Pledger, who also earned the Tournament MVP honor, posted 19 kills on the weekend with a hitting percentage of .567 through three matches. She also totaled 14 blocks and three digs. Roper posted 50 digs, averaging 4.55 per set this weekend. She also served up five aces and made four assists during the tournament. Winterhoff tallied 22 kills, five aces, three assists, and 10 blocks (two solo, 8 assists) over the course of the weekend.

Junior Lulu Ambrose posted a team-high 10 kills on the afternoon with a hitting percentage of .417. Winterhoff and freshman Ava Leahy followed with nine kills and three block assists each. Leahy also posted two solo blocks. Redshirt sophomore Katie Cruise recorded a team-high 15 assists, while Roper recorded a team-high 12 digs.

App State outpaced UNCG in kills (41-28), aces (5-1), blocks (8-1), and assists (33-24). The Mountaineers held the Spartans to under 20 points each set.

The Black and Gold took a commanding 6-0 lead in the first set. The Spartans struggled to catch up, closing the deficit to 13-9, but the Mountaineers padded their lead with a 5-0 run that included kills from Denny, Ambrose, and Pledger. Kills from Ambrose and Winterhoff brought App State to a 22-12 lead. App State took the first set, 25-15, after a kill from Winterhoff and Spartan error.

A Spartan serving error and trio of kills from Winterhoff and Ambrose put App State up 4-0 early in the second set. The Mountaineers extended their lead to 9-2 with kills from Ambrose and Leahy, a block from Leahy/Winterhoff, and ace from junior Alexis Hardison. UNCG managed to close in on the Mountaineers with a 4-0 run, cutting App State’s lead to 17-14. App State responded with a 5-0 run of its own, which included back-to-back kills from Ambrose and Leahy and an ace from senior Sophie Cain to push the score to 22-14. Leahy and Denny closed out the second set, 25-16, with a pair of kills.

App State and UNCG fought point-for-point early in the third set, meeting at 8-8 after a kill from Pledger tied things up. App State gained momentum, following Pledger’s kill with a kill from Winterhoff, ace from Roper, and block from freshman Delanie Grevengoed/Winterhoff to take an 11-8 lead. The Mountaineers scored four more consecutive points to jump ahead, 15-9. Leading 16-11, freshman Taylor McNear entered the match, making her first collegiate appearance, and served for the Mountaineers as they went on an 8-0 scoring run that extended the Black and Gold’s lead to 24-11. The run included kills from Denny, Pledger, and Leahy, as well as a block from Leahy/Pledger. A block from Pledger/Leahy capped the set, 25-12, and match, 3-0, for the Mountaineers.

App State will close out its non-conference slate with the Davidson Tournament on Sept. 14-15 in Davidson, N.C. The Mountaineers will take on Davidson at 6 p.m. on Sept. 14 and Wake Forest at 7 p.m. on Sept. 15.

Black & Gold Invitational All-Tournament Team
Lauren Pledger, App State
Kenady Roper, App State
Maya Winterhoff, App State
Maya Johnson, North Carolina A&T
Liselotte Spoormakers, North Carolina A&T
Madeline Timmerman, UNC Greensboro
Ady O’Grady, USC-Upstate

Tournament MVP: Lauren Pledger

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

Friday, Sept. 8
App State 3, USC-Upstate 0
North Carolina A&T 3, UNC Greensboro 0
UNC Greensboro 3, USC-Upstate 0

Saturday, Sept. 9
USC-Upstate 3, North Carolina A&T 0
App State 3, UNC Greensboro 0