RALEIGH, N.C. — Appalachian State volleyball came up on the short end of a tight five set contest, falling to Utah Valley 25-19, 23-25, 27-29, 25-23, 15-11 on Friday afternoon on the first day of the N.C. State/Campbell Invitational.
Melissa McMath paced the Mountaineers (4-3) with a season-best 25 kills on a .455 hitting mark. It marks just the second time in her career that she has recorded 20 or more kills in a match, posting a career-best 28 last season versus Georgia Southern.
Becky Porter dished out a career-high 62 assists, to go along with six kills, nine digs and three total blocks (one solo, two assists). On defense, Emma Reilly reached double-digit digs for the fifth time on the season, tallying 19. Sydney Farthing added 10 digs.
The Wolverines (7-3) took the opening set 25-19 and found themselves ahead 21-17 late in the Set 2. The Mountaineers stormed back with seven straight points to build a 24-21 edge. Following two points by Utah Valley, a kill from Spicer cliched the set for the Black and Gold and knotted the match at one set apiece.
Utah Valley built a 17-10 lead in the third set, only to see the Mountaineers score eight of the next nine points to tie the score at 18-18. The score would remain tight and a kills by Spicer and Wilform broke a 27-27 tie and gave Appalachian State the third set by a 29-27 score.
In the fourth set, the Wolverines opened a 13-7 lead, only to see the Black and Gold come all the way back and take a 17-16 lead. Utah Valley regained the lead and took a 24-21 advantage, but the Apps countered with two straight points on kills from Spicer and Wilform to trim the Wolverine lead to 24-23. A kill by Utah Valley’s Kazna Tarawhiti clinched the set by a 25-23 count and forced a deciding fifth frame.
In the final set, the Wolverines took a 5-1 lead. The Mountaineers stormed back again and jumped in front 8-7 on an attack error by Tarawhiti. With the score knotted at 9-9, the Wolverines scored three straight points to take a 12-9 lead. App State would pull to within 12-11, but Utah Valley scored the final three points to clinch the set and win the match.
App State totaled a season-high 74 kills in the contest and finished with a .247 hitting mark.
The Mountaineers will continue play at the N.C. State/Campbell Invitational on Saturday. The Black and Gold will play twice at Campbell against Wright State at 2 p.m. and the host Camels at 6 p.m.