BOONE, N.C. –– Appalachian State University volleyball stumbled to its 12th five-set loss of the season in a 3-2 (25-20, 19-25, 18-25, 25-22, 11-15) defeat to South Alabama on Friday night.
The Mountaineers (4-24, 2-13 Sun Belt) were led by senior middle blocker Ashton Gregory (Yadkinville, N.C./Starmount/Furman) who finished with a team-high 12 kills. Jenna Talbert (Orange City, Fla./University) also collected double-digit kills and tallied 10.
Ashlyn Brown (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot/New Mexico State) ran the Mountaineer offense again and finished with 44 assists. Kati Stammen (Raleigh, N.C./Leesville Road) led the defense with 21 digs. Emma Longley (Raleigh, N.C./Cardinal Gibbons) and Brown finished with 16 and 12 digs, respectively.
The double-double for Brown was her eighth of the season.
Appalachian trailed by three late in the opening set 18-15 and used a 3-0 run to knot the score a 18-18. Down 19-18, a 6-0 run keyed by a Melissa McMath (Lexington, N.C./Central Davidson) and capped by a Jaguar error seemingly put the Mountaineers over the top in the first and they finished off USA 25-20.
In the second set, the Black and Gold fell behind early and trailed by as many as six at 18-12. App State would battle back to within one at 20-19, but a 5-0 Jaguar run ended the set and South Alabama tied the match 1-1.
Much like the second set, the Mountaineers fell behind by six midway through and the Jaguar lead ballooned to eight and South Alabama didn’t look back - winning the set 25-18.
Needing a fourth set win to force the decisive fifth set, Appalachian took off. Up 9-7, a kill from Longley catapulted a run by the Mountaineers that put App State up 17-10. The Jaguars would storm back and tie the set at 20-20.
A 5-2 run by the Mountaineers, highlighted by a kill from Cassidy Stephenson (Wilmington, N.C./Hoggard) clinched the set 25-22.
A set the Mountaineers have struggled with all season long was the achilles heal yet again. App State fell behind early 10-4 and despite scoring points, could not overcome and fell 15-11.
The Mountaineers will close the regular season on Sunday, Nov. 13 against Troy at 12:30 p.m.