With a 13-game winning streak on the line, the Mountaineers go into the weekend looking to stay undefeated in Sun Belt play. App State hosts UL Lafayette on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and South Alabama on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at the Holmes Center. The Mountaineers are currently 17-4 overall and 10-0 in conference.
Facing off against Lafayette for the second time, the Mountaineers look to repeat what they did on Oct. 3 with another sweep against the Ragin’ Cajuns (5-19, 1-10 Sun Belt). With only one win in the Sun Belt Conference, not much is expected in terms of challenges against App.
“Statistically, we’re on top of them. We just have to make sure that we execute,” head coach Matt Ginipro said.
However, even with Lafayette close to the bottom of the rankings, these Mountaineers know they can’t take anybody lightly.
“We know for a fact that they want to be the team that beats us,” Ginipro said. “Everybody that we play wants to be that one team that beats us.”
Ginipro went on to say that he continues to harp on the fact that they can’t take a single match off.
The players certainly understand that as each one individually has continued to improve in some way. Setter Paige Brown is continuing to put up big numbers as she is currently fifth in the nation in assists per set (11.82) and has 922 total assists.
In conference, Appalachian State could practically claim the leaderboards as their own, as outside hitters Jess Keller and Emily Corrigan hold the top two spots for kills per set, Ashton Gregory leads in hitting percentage (.358) and Paige Brown in total assists and assists per set.
On Sunday, App takes the court also for the second time against South Alabama (13-9 Overall, 7-4 Sun Belt). On Sept. 19, the Mountaineers dropped the Jaguars 3-1.
“I think they’re the same team we played earlier in the season just playing a little better” Ginipro said.
When it comes to strategy against the Jags, Ginipro said there’s no change in who’s getting the ball, just that they are executing better. A win against App would be crucial for South Alabama as they are just two spots behind in conference play.
The Mountaineers are going into the weekend both confident and eager as the Sun Belt tournament is just right around the corner, starting Nov. 19. If App continues its win streak, back-to-back games against Arkansas State on Nov. 8 and 12 will determine who will receive the No. 1 spot in Sun Belt conference play.
Story by: Noah Gerringer, Intern Sports Reporter