ATLANTA, Ga. — Appalachian State volleyball advanced to the Sun Belt Tournament finals with a 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 30-28, 25-23) victory over Arkansas State on Saturday afternoon.
The second seeded Mountaineers (22-7) will take on either top seed Texas State or fourth seed Little Rock on Sunday at 1 p.m., with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
App State will make its second ever appearance in the Sun Belt Tournament finals. The Mountaineers played in the championship match in 2015, falling to Arkansas State 3-2.
The teams were gridlocked at a set apiece as the Mountaineers won the first set 25-20, while the Red Wolves (21-13) grabbed the second 25-21.
In Set 3, Arkansas State jumped out to a 15-12 lead, only to see App State answer back with five straight points to take a 17-15 edge. The Mountaineers built a 21-19 advantage, but Arkansas State responded with four straight points to take a 23-21 lead. The Black and Gold tied the set at 23-23 and saved four set points to knot the set at 27-27. A kill by Kara Spicer gave the Mountaineers a 28-27 lead, but the Red Wolves came right back with a point to tie the score at 28-28. Victoria Wilform put the Apps back in front with a kill and block assists by Spicer and Wilform on a Red Wolves attack clinched the set for App State by a 30-28 count.
Arkansas State took a commanding 20-15 lead in Set 4. The Mountaineers countered with seven of the next eight points to jump in front 22-21. The Red Wolves won the next point, but App State got a kill from Emma Longley and an attack error by Arkansas State to open a 24-22 edge. Following a Red Wolves point, Amya Giger clinched the victory with a kill to give App State the set by a 25-23 count.
Three players posted at least 15 kills for the Black and Gold. Longley tallied a team-high 18 kills on a .326 hitting mark to go along with 10 digs. Spicer added 16 kills and Giger posted a career-high 15 kills on a .560 hitting percentage.
Becky Porter notched a double-double with 57 assists and a career-high 19 digs. She also recorded her 1,000th assist of the season in the victory. Emma Reilly also reached double figures in digs with 20.