CULLOWHEE, N.C. - After falling behind 2-0, the Western Carolina volleyball team roared back to down former Southern Conference rival Appalachian State 3-2 Tuesday night in front of a raucous Ramsey Center crowd. As the crowd grew so did WCU's confidence as the Catamounts played one of their most balanced matches of the year despite being without the services of junior setter Jo-Leigh VerVelde.
Six Catamounts all contributed to the offensive attack with the lowest adding eight kills and the highest having 12. Sophomore Alyssa Zupan led the way with 12 kills while juniors Gabby Edmondson and Katie O'Connor each had 11. O'Connor added a team-high four blocks as well. Senior Lauren Saxby had her best match of the young season as she added 10 kills while junior Kaycey Cermin chipped in nine. The final Catamount attacker was freshman Abigail Veit who chipped in eight kills to go along with a team-high 24 digs.
Cermin, Zupan, Edmondson and O'Connor all hit over .350 for the match with O'Connor leading the way at .455.
The victory evened up WCU's 2016 record at 4-4 while the Mountaineers, who had lost just four of the previous 23 meetings with the Catamounts, dropped to 2-5 on the year.
Junior Reeve Reinsborough and sophomore Dakoda Hawkins filled in for the injured VerVelde at setter. Reinsborogh finished with 27 assists and 12 digs while Hawkins had 20 assists and 11 digs. Junior Meagan Sanchez continued her solid play at libero with 19 digs and five assists to go along with a team-high two service aces.
The Catamounts out hit the Mountaineers .261-.213 while out-digging the opposition 79-72.
After dropping the opening two sets 25-17 and 25-19 the Catamounts flew out of the 10-minute break and dominated the third set 25-14.
The fourth set was extremely close with 14 tie scores and five lead changes. Neither team took more than a two-point lead the entire set until Zupan put down the final kill of the period giving WCU at 25-22 victory.
The fifth set started out tight but a 4-1 run by the Mountaineers opened up a lead for Appalachian State. ASU took an 8-5 lead before the two teams switched courts. After the court switch, the Catamounts went on a 10-1 run to close out the match fueled by a boisterous crowd. Three straight kills after the switch including two from Zupan forced ASU to take its first timeout of the period. After the timeout, the Mountaineers scored their lone point of the 10-1 stretch which was followed by a pair of Mountaineer attack errors. A Saxby kill led to ASU second and final timeout of the period with the Catamounts leading 11-9. Four straight Mountaineer errors ended the match including one that was aided by a WCU block from O'Connor and Veit.
The Catamounts will now travel to Williamsburg, Va., for the Colonial Classic hosted by William & Mary Sept. 9-10.