TROY, Ala. – Appalachian State volleyball clinched the Sun Belt East Division title with a 3-1 (25-20, 20-25, 25-23, 25-20) victory at Troy on Friday evening.
The division title is the first for the Mountaineers (20-7, 12-3 SBC) since the Sun Belt went to a division format in 2016. By virtue of winning the division, App State will receive a double bye and earns the second seed at the Sun Belt Tournament next week in Atlanta, Ga. The Black and Gold’s first match at the Sun Belt Tournament will take place on Nov. 17.
“I am proud of everyone,” said head coach Matt Ginipro. “Tonight was an up and down match, but we fought through it to come out with a victory and the division title.”
App State’s 20 victories on the season marks the 16th time the Mountaineers have reached the 20-win plateau in program history. The Mountaineers have also won seven straight matches, which is the longest win streak for the program since the 2015 season.
Troy (10-18, 4-11 SBC) jumped out to a 12-7 lead in the first set. App State battled back to tie the score at 17-17 and took the lead on the next point on a service ace from Becky Porter. The Mountaineers did not trail for the remainder of the set, posting a 25-20 victory.
The Trojans tied the match at 1-1 with a 25-20 victory in Set 2.
In Set 3, the Mountaineers found themselves down 23-21 late. App State answered with the final four points of the set, getting kills from Emma Longley and Kara Spicer to win the frame 25-23 and take a 2-1 edge.
The Black and Gold used a 5-0 run in the fourth set to turn a 7-6 deficit into a 11-7 lead. Following a Trojan point, Appalachian won four more points to open a 15-8 advantage. Troy pulled within three points, but could get no closer and a kill from Grace Morrison clinched the match and division title for the Mountaineers.
Spicer paced the App State offense with 15 kills. She added a match-high six blocks. Longley tallied nine kills and eight digs and Morrison added eight kills.
Porter recorded her team leading ninth double-double of the season with 40 assists and 10 digs. She also posted three blocks.
“We started off the season knowing this could be something special,” added Ginipro. “We felt that we could contend in the conference and put ourselves into position to win the division title. With a good week of practice and a strong mentality, we were able to keep our momentum going and look to continue it into Sunday and the conference tournament.”
Appalachian State will close out the 2018 season on Sunday, with a 1 p.m. EST contest at South Alabama.