Mountaineer volleyball swept in conference opener


Hiatt Ellis

Senior setter Sam Bickley prepares to serve against Furman Sept. 9, 2022.

Ben Gosey, Reporter

The Mountaineers volleyball team returned to the hardwood last weekend opening conference play against James Madison. App State was swept in three straight sets against the Dukes in the tough outing. 

Prior to this, the Mountaineers played their last tournament of the season in the Hokie Classic. The Black and Gold split the tournament 1-1 with a five set loss against Western Carolina and a three set win against Norfolk State. 

App State opened conference play Friday, losing the first match in three straight sets. The Mountaineers and Dukes went back and forth in the first set as the lead swapped late in the set. The Mountaineers led 24-22 before a three-point surge from the Dukes took the lead. The teams battled in extra time before App State dropped the set 29-27.  

The second set continued the competitive play with the teams once again battling late into the set. The Mountaineers tied the set at 19 before the Dukes pulled away to win the second set. James Madison completely controlled the third set, closing out App State 25-14. 

Sophomore outside hitter Lulu Ambrose led the Mountaineers with 12 kills. Senior setter Sam Bickley and junior Sophie Cain each posted 16 assists. Defensively, two Mountaineers finished with double digit digs with freshman libero Kenady Roper and senior outside hitter McCall Denny each finishing with 13. 

The Mountaineers continued play Saturday, losing to the Dukes in three straight sets. The Mountaineers were dominated in the first two sets, losing the first set 25-20 and the second 25-14. In the third set, App State and the Dukes battled the entire set. Late in the set, the Mountaineers went on a 3-0 run to take a 23-22 lead. James Madison answered with its own run, however, to close the match 25-23. 

Ambrose led the team with nine kills. Cain led the team with 14 assists, with Bickley right behind at 12. Roper led the defense with 10 digs. 

The Mountaineers return to Boone as they prepare for a homestand against Coastal Carolina. The matches are set for Friday and Saturday with the tip time set at 6 p.m. both days.