Last season the App State volleyball team finished 12-20 overall with a 6-10 record in the Sun Belt Conference. This year the team is 15-7 overall and 7-3 in the Sun Belt, putting them in first place in the East division. A big reason for this season’s turnaround is senior North Carolina State University transfer Becky Porter.
Porter, a starting setter, has recorded 797 assists so far this year, averaging 10.63 per set, making her second best in the Sun Belt. She has found a home at App State, and said she loves it in Boone. Dynamic is different here. I love it,” Porter said.
Porter credits her teammates for her success this season.
“There is a lot of opportunity to get assists because I set the ball every time it comes to my side,” Porter said. “I try to make the most of each play, get it to our hitters to put it away.”
Her sets aren’t the only benefits Porter brings to the table. Head coach Matt Ginipro, who has been at App State since 2007, credits Porter for being a leader.
“She got here in January and within a month the team looked to her as a leader. Becky has been a huge difference for us,” Ginipro said.
Ginipro said he knows the team was fortunate to get Porter this offseason, adding that it’s hard for most players to transfer as a senior, leaving them only one year to play. However, he knew Porter wanted to be on the court, and reached out to her and some of her former travel coaches in Charlotte.
“We knew she wanted to play, and she was familiar with our program. To have a six feet, two inches tall setter with three years of ACC experience is huge,” Ginipro said.
Porter isn’t the only star for the team this year. She has helped lead a group of sophomores who Ginipro calls a “big part of the team. They got older, and had a lot of experience as freshmen.” This group includes outside hitters Lexi Kohut and Grace Morrison, libero Emma Riley, and middle blocker Kara Spicer.
Ginipro also noted that junior outside hitter Emma Longley has been healthy for the first time in her career, having missed much of her first two years to injury. Longley leads the team with 291 kills, many of which come from Porter’s assists.
App State took on Coastal Carolina Oct. 19-21, winning both matches. On Oct. 19 they swept Coastal, winning three sets to none.
Ginipro said he allowed his players to make their own scouting reports for the games this weekend, allowing them to be better prepared for their opponent.
On Oct. 19, Porter had a team-high 33 assists, playing in all three sets. Longley finished with a game-high 12 kills, all of which came off of Porter’s assists.
On Oct. 21, the Mountaineers entered their matchup with Coastal having flipped the script in the East division of the Sun Belt, leading Coastal by half a game.
They strengthened their lead on the division with a 3-2 win and now have an overall record of 15-7 and 7-3 in Sun Belt play.
Porter played a big part as always in Sunday’s win, posting a match-high 49 assists. Her strong play continues to propel App State forward.
“I hope she ends with awards and a Sun Belt championship, and I think she is leading us there,” Ginipro said.
App State plays next on Oct. 26 at home against South Alabama.
Story by Franklin Bogle