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App State drops fourth consecutive after home series vs. JMU

Sophomore+middle+blocker+Maya+Winterhoff+%28left%29+and+freshman+right+side+Delanie+Grevengoed+contest+a+slam+against+James+Madison+Sept.+22.
Sam Fleming
Sophomore middle blocker Maya Winterhoff (left) and freshman right side Delanie Grevengoed contest a slam against James Madison Sept. 22.

App State volleyball opened Sun Belt play with consecutive home matchups against James Madison Friday and Saturday. 

In their first contest, both teams battled back and forth in the first set until the Dukes took a 11-6 lead. The Mountaineers tied the score at 19, before James Madison closed out the set at 25-22. 

The second set saw the Black and Gold fall behind early, forcing them to play catchup. Junior middle blocker Lauren Pledger and junior outside hitter Lulu Ambrose both produced back to back kills in the Mountaineers rally. After cutting the deficit to two, JMU took the set 25-21 despite a Duke error.

With their back against the wall, App State responded in the third set. With the score tied at five, the Black and Gold went on a 4-0 run featuring a pair of kills from Ambrose. The Mountaineers extended the lead up to 22-11, before the Dukes made a late push to being down 23-19. A pair of errors from James Madison sealed the set for the Mountaineers 25-19. 

Opening the fourth period down two sets to one, App State opened with a kill from senior outside hitter McCall Denny as JMU answered with their own 5-0 run. The Black and Gold battled to get back in the set, responding with two separate 3-0 runs to go down 15-12. Blocks from Ambrose and sophomore middle blocker Maya Winterhoff as well as a kill from Denny, got the Mountaineers within two at 19-17. The Dukes held on to close out the set and the match 25-21.

Denny posted her 22nd career double-double with a team leading 12 kills and 13 digs. Winterhoff finished with seven blocks and six kills while sophomore Kenady Roper recorded a team-high 16 digs.

App State’s second match with JMU was similar to the first, dropping the contest 3-1.

In the first set, the Dukes took a 19-10 lead after both teams fought neck and neck. The Mountaineers answered with their own 5-0 run thanks to kills from Denny and Pledger. James Madison countered with their own 5-0 run before closing out the set 25-19.

The Black and Gold started the second set with a 4-0 run to bring the score to 5-2 off back to back kills from Pledger. App State dominated the set as they had three separate 3-0 runs. The Mountaineers closed out the set 25-15 to tie the match at 1-1. 

The Dukes responded with their own dominant set after going up 13-8. Despite kills from Denny, Ambrose and freshman right side Delanie Grevengoed, JMU closed out the set 25-15 setting up a potential fourth and final set.

After tying the fourth set at 3-3, James Madison took a 10-6 lead before the Mountaineers scored three unanswered. After a 3-0 run from the Dukes, the Black and Gold fought back til they were down 19-18. Despite being within range, dropped both the set and the match 25-23.

“I am so proud of our team,” head coach Sarah Rumely Noble said. “We competed incredibly hard against a team receiving votes in the top-25. Our mentality and our fight always makes me proud.”

Denny recorded her sixth double-double of the season after posting 12 kills and 11 digs. 

App State drops to 9-4 on the season, losing their last four matches after starting the season 9-0. The Mountaineers travel to face Sun Belt rival Coastal Carolina Sept. 29-30 at 6 p.m. and 1 p.m. respectively. The matches can be streamed on ESPN+.

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About the Contributors
Ethan Smith, Sports Editor
Ethan Smith (he/him) is a senior journalism major, media studies minor. This is his third year writing for The Appalachian.
Sam Fleming, Photographer
Sam Fleming (he/him) is a freshman Computer Science Major, from Greensboro, NC. This is his first year with The Appalachian.
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