Sitting atop the East division of the Sun Belt, App State (18-7, 10-3 Sun Belt) knocked off Georgia State (6-17, 3-10 Sun Belt) in straight sets on Nov. 2 at the Holmes Convocation Center.
The Mountaineers were led by junior outside hitter Emma Longley, who finished the game with 15 kills to go along with 12 digs. Longley has been the team leader in kills all year long and was a force again against Georgia State.
“We say it all the time in our gym: studs have to be studs,” head coach Matt Ginipro said. “She really bought into that. Her last couple of matches have been outstanding.”
Sophomore middle blocker Kara Spicer also totaled 11 kills on a .529 hitting percentage to go along with three service aces. Senior setter Becky Porter finished with a game-high 39 assists while also adding eight digs.
“Serving and passing has been a strength of ours all season, Kara especially,” Ginipro said. “When we started in the spring, we made serving a focus of ours because I didn’t think we were a very good serving team last year and we needed to be a better one. I think we’re doing a phenomenal job back there.”
The Mountaineers started the game on fire, dominating the first set. App State opened up their first 10-point lead at 14-4 on an ace by sophomore libero Emma Reilly and didn’t look back in the set, going on to win 25-14.
The second set was more competitive, and it was closely contested until the Mountaineers took their first lead of the set, going up 11-10. From there, they took control and went on to claim the second set by a score of 25-17.
The third set was tied up at nine points apiece before the Mountaineers took off and won nine of the next 10 points and claimed the third set by a score of 25-20.
The victory was important for the Mountaineers as they lead Coastal Carolina in the East division of the Sun Belt by only one game, with just three games left in the regular season before the Sun Belt tournament. App State controls its own destiny and Coastal will be unable to catch up if the Mountaineers are able to win their final three games.
“Our target on our backs is getting bigger every match that we play and Georgia State was playing for their tournament lives which they’re hosting also,” Ginipro said. “So we figured we were going to have a team that was going to push us because they want to get into the tournament. You never want to host a tournament that you’re not in.”
App State will take the court again on Nov. 4 for a Senior Day matchup with the Eagles of Georgia Southern University, before finishing up the regular season with away games next weekend at South Alabama and then Troy. The match is set to start at 12:30 p.m. and it will be the last chance this year to see the Mountaineers play at home.
Story By: Silas Albright, Sports Reporter
Photo By: Megan McCulloh, Staff Photographer