App State volleyball season concludes with early tournament exit


Taylor Ward

The Mountaineers huddle up during their 1-3 loss to Coastal Carolina Sept. 29, 2022.

Ben Gosey, Reporter

App State volleyball’s season ended Thursday after a close 3-2 loss to Louisiana in the Sun Belt Tournament. 

Early in the first set, the Mountaineers and Ragin’ Cajuns traded points until the Cajuns went on a 4–0 run to take control of the set 11-7. The Mountaineers responded with a 4-0 run, typing the set. The Cajuns took control late in the set with a 3-0 run, taking the lead 17-14. Louisiana did not look back from there, taking the first set 25-19.

App State came out in the second set quickly with a 3-0 run to take control of the set. The Cajuns captured the lead halfway through the set 12-11. The Mountaineers responded with a 3-0 run before completely dominating the set with a 9-0 run to close the set for App State, 25-14. 

The Black and Gold carried their momentum into the fourth set, opening with a 4-0 run taking the lead early. The Mountaineers controlled much of the set with the Cajuns tying it once 20-20. App State responded with back-to-back kills by freshman middle blocker Maya Winterhoff before putting the set away 25-22. 

The Ragin’ Cajuns completely dominated the fourth set. Opening with the lead 4-2, the Cajuns went on a 9-0 run to take the lead 15-4. Louisiana went on two more 4-0 runs before winning the set 25-13. 

The Mountaineers faced an early 5-0 deficit in the fifth and final set. App State fought within three late in the set, but Louisiana closed it 15-12, winning the match and advancing to the quarterfinal. 

Senior outside hitter McCall Denny led the team with 18 kills, Winterhoff pacing behind with nine. Junior setter Sophie Cain led in assists finishing with 17, senior Sam Bickley followed behind with 16. Defensively, the Mountaineers were all over the floor, with freshman Alyssa McBean leading the team in digs with 18. Cain and Denny paced behind with 14 and 11, respectively. Winterhoff led the team in blocks with four. 

The Mountaineers finished the season a much improved 18-10 under first year coach Sarah Rumley Noble. The Mountaineers also finished Sun Belt conference play 11-5. 

Before the tournament, Winterhoff was awarded Sun Belt Freshman of the Year after starting every game for the Mountaineers. Winterhoff led the team in blocks and service aces. Denny led the team with 347 kills, while Cain finished the season with the most assists at 573.