Oct. 4, 2012
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina women's volleyball hosts Appalachian State Thursday evening in its Dig Pink match at the Ramsey Center at 7 p.m.
The Dig Pink match is put on in association with the Side-Out Foundation which raises awareness for breast cancer research. The volleyball team has set a goal to raise $1,000 to help out in the cause. To donate, fans can go to this link https://www.side-out.org/cb/ous/fundraising_page/2697 or donate at the match.
WCU (6-13, 2-2 SoCon) is coming off its first conference homestand of the season in which the Catamounts went 1-1, splitting with Elon (L, 0-3) and UNCG (W, 3-0). The Catamounts are 4-2 at home this season with the only other loss coming in its season-opener against Northern Kentucky. Appalachian State (5-13, 1-3 SoCon) also won one and lost one as the Apps defeated Elon, 3-1, then lost to UNCG, 1-3. Both matches were at home for the Mountaineers.
The Catamounts statistically continue to improve as the season progresses. WCU has jumped up to second in the conference in digs with 17.26 digs per set. Nationally, the Catamounts have jumped up 23 spots to rank 30th in the country - out of 323 D-1 teams - in digs per set.
Sophomore outside hitter Caitlin Piechota now ranks fifth - previously unranked - in the conference in kills with 3.39 k/s. Piechota has put up three consecutive double-doubles - in kills and digs - with all coming in conference play.
In the three weeks of conference play, WCU jumped from being ranked eleventh in the conference in hitting percentage to eighth over the past week. The Catamounts also jumped up a spot in assists to sixth and three spots in kills to eighth . Libero Morgan Cochran is third in the SoCon in digs with 5.20 d/s. In conference play alone, her average jumps up to 6.92 d/s, one of the main reasons Cochran has jumped up to rank 36th nationally in digs per set. This past weekend Cochran moved up to sixth all-time at WCU in digs with 1,219 career scoops. She needs 1,339 to pass Shari Harder for fifth.
-Scouting Appalachian State-
ASU has played 15 of their first 18 matches on the road this season and are winless in away games. Its only win on the road came in the neutral match against Houston on Aug. 31. In ASU's loss to UNCG, ASU saw four players tally double-digit kills including Jessica Eley who posted a career-high 14 kills, Dalton Tolliver (12), Emily Corrigan (12) and Lindsey Sauls (11). Corrigan posted a season-high 16 kills in the match prior against Elon.
As a team, Appalachian State leads the SoCon in blocks per set, averaging 2.25 b/s. Jessica Eley and Lauren Gray, individually, are two of the top blockers in the conference. Gray is tied for first in the SoCon while Gray is ranked third.
Defensively, Courtney Rhein is one of the best ASU's ever had in scooping up digs. Currently fourth in the conference in digs per set with 4.98, Rhein is on pace to set a new all-time ASU record in digs. The senior libero just needs 205 digs to become the all-time leader. Rhein currently ranks third.
Also, fans are encouraged to wear pink to the match and SAAC will be selling pink Pink Zone t-shirts for their Catamounts Against Cancer effort. The shirts are $10 and can be paid for with cash or check with proceeds benefiting Jackson County Relay for Life.
The Catamounts defeated Appalachian State in Cullowhee last year in WCU's final home match of 2011 in the two rivals' previous match-up, defeating the Mountaineers, 3-1. It was the first win for the Catamounts against their mountain-foe in Cullowhee since 2008. Tonight's match will be streamed through CatamountSports.com with GameTracker also available.