App State volleyball swept by South Alabama in season-opening series


Andy McLean

App State volleyball fell to South Alabama in three games to open their season Oct. 9-10. The Mountaineers are back in action Friday and Saturday with a three match series against Georgia State.

Jhyrah DeLapp, Reporter

App State volleyball opened its 2020 season with a three-match series versus the South Alabama Jaguars. The first two games were played on Oct. 9 and the third on Oct. 10. 

Although South Alabama won all three matches, there were still some bright spots for the Mountaineers, according to App State head coach Matt Ginipro. He said the mistakes the players made were “fixable errors.”

The Mountaineers were originally slated to start their season on Sept. 25 against Georgia Southern in a three-game series. However, App State’s first five games were postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests among team members and contact tracing.  The Mountaineers only practiced once before the South Alabama series. 

“Everything that happened this weekend was execution, not effort, not fight, not desire, and coaches can coach execution,” Ginipro said. “I can’t coach somebody’s effort, I can’t coach their desire, I can’t coach their passion.” 

The Jaguars won the first two matches without the Mountaineers winning a set. App State senior outside hitter Lexi Kohut said the team felt “a little defeated” after those two losses, but that they “lit a spark under everyone,” firing them up for the third match. 

In the third match of the series, App State won the back-and-forth first set 25-19. The Mountaineers won a challenge of the Jaguars’ 20th point before freshman outside hitter Madison Baldridge scored the 23rd point for App State. 

“If you can get that 23rd and 24th point, it’s really hard to come back from,” Ginipro said.   

After the first set, the Mountaineers dropped the next three, losing the match by a score of 3-1 overall. 

After taking two weeks off because of COVID-19 infections on the team, Ginipro wanted his team to “just go play hard,” and he said he was “ecstatic” with the effort they gave. 

With limited crowd attendance, only the players’ families were allowed to watch in person. But, the small crowd still cheered loud enough to be heard throughout the Holmes Center. 

“I was really happy we were at least able to get our players’ families in,” Ginipro said. “At least your family is going to come because that’s the people they want to watch them play. It would be nice to have a bit more noise and energy in here but we can’t have that right now.”

After having just one practice to prepare before the South Alabama series, App State had two weeks to prepare for their next games: a three-match series with Georgia State starting Oct. 23 in Boone. The series scheduled at Georgia Southern for Oct. 16-17 was postponed. 

“Our thing is we just have to get one percent better every day,” Ginipro said. 

The Mountaineers’ first game against Georgia State starts Friday at 11 a.m., followed by another match at 6 p.m. The series finale starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The last two games of the series will air on ESPN+.