BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State volleyball dropped a tough 3-2 (22-25, 25-18, 21-25, 25-19, 15-9) decision to N.C. State in the finale of the Appalachian Invitational on Saturday evening.
After four sets, the two teams found themselves deadlocked at 2-2 and went to a deciding fifth frame.
Back-to-back kills from Emma Longley early in the fifth broke a 3-3 tie and gave the Mountaineers (3-7) a 5-3 lead. The Wolfpack (4-5) countered with the next five points to jump in front 8-6. Following a kill from Daryn Armstrong, N.C. State scored four consecutive points to build a 12-7 lead. App State could get no closer the rest of the way.
The first set featured 10 ties and four lead changes. With the score tied at 17-17, the Black and Gold got a kill from Kara Spicer and an attack error to build a 19-17 lead. N.C. State cut the App State lead to one point at 23-22 late in the frame, but a kill from McCall Denny and an attack error from the Wolfpack gave the Mountaineers the opening set 25-22.
In Set 2, the Wolfpack used a 6-0 run midway through the stanza to build a 14-8 advantage. N.C. State took as large of a lead as eight points, eventually winning the set by a 25-18 count to knot the match at a set apiece.
N.C. State carried its momentum into the third set, scoring the first seven points to build a 7-0 lead. The Mountaineers chipped away at the Wolfpack lead and knotted the score at 18-18. Following a service error, the Black and Gold got four straight kills, with two coming from Armstrong and two from Longley to jump in front 22-19. A service error from N.C. State gave the Mountaineers the set 25-21 and the lead 2-1.
In Set 4, the Mountaineers jumped out to a 9-6 lead early on a service ace by Sam Bickley. The Wolfpack battled back to tie the score and opened a 17-15 lead. After the Mountaineers tied the score at 17-17, N.C. State won seven consecutive points to take control of the set and build a 24-17 lead. Following two App State points, the Wolfpack got a kill from Daniela McDonald to clinch the set 25-19 and force the deciding frame.
Longley tallied her fourth double-double of the season with a match-high tying 22 kills and 10 digs. For her efforts on the weekend, she was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Denny reached double for the first time in her Mountaineer career, tallying a career-high 10. Spicer added nine kills on a .368 hitting percentage and five blocks.
Bickley notched her third double-double of the season with 50 assists and 10 digs. Emma Reilly reached the 20-dig plateau for the sixth time this season, tallying 21.
App State totaled 55 kills in the contest and hit .147, while the Wolfpack had 64 kills and hit .226.
The Mountaineers will return to action next weekend with a pair of matches in Rock Hill, S.C. against Furman at noon and Winthrop at 6 p.m. App State will also battle Big Ten foe Maryland on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Columbia, S.C.