BLACKSBURG/RADFORD, Va. – Appalachian State committed just four attack errors and only had three more kills than the Norfolk State volleyball team on Saturday morning, but the Mountaineers nevertheless came away with a 3-0 win over the Spartans on the second day of the Virginia Tech/Radford Invitational.
Later in the afternoon, Radford’s Maddie Palmer tallied 17 kills to lead the host Highlanders to a 3-0 victory over the Spartans in NSU’s last match of the tournament.
Competing at Tech’s Cassell Coliseum, Appalachian State hit .395 in the morning matchup to win 25-15, 25-11 and 25-22. Radford, meanwhile, won by scores of 25-19, 25-11 and 25-14 to drop NSU to 0-4 on the year.
Senior Jessica Johnson paced Norfolk State with 18 kills and eight digs in the match against Appalachian State but was responsible for 13 of the team’s 23 total attack errors. The Spartans had 35 kills for the match, just three less than App State’s total of 38, but NSU also had 23 errors while hitting .119.
Emma Longley led the Mountaineers (1-1) with 12 kills while hitting .524.
Johnson had 10 kills in the third set alone, NSU’s strongest set in the match. The Spartans held an early three-point lead after back-to-back kills by junior Hope Forsythe and senior Sydney Dailey made it 9-6. The Mountaineers eventually tied the score after winning three straight, and after an NSU timeout, Appalachian State pulled ahead slightly.
Not until the Spartans were down 21-18 were they finally able to again string together two straight points. Johnson scored six straight points – both for and against NSU – near the end of the match before the teams traded service errors to close out the match.
Forsythe served as a strong compliment to Johnson with seven kills on a .429 attack percentage and seven digs. NSU, though, failed to register a block in the entire match, while Appalachian State had four.
After a kill and service ace from Dailey early in the start of the match, NSU was never again able to win two straight the rest of that first set. That allowed the Mountaineers to slowly expand the lead, winning two and sometimes three and four in a row for the final 10-point margin.
It was an 11-1 run early in the second set for Appalachian State that put NSU into too deep of a hole. The Spartans only got as close as eight the rest of the middle set before giving the Mountaineers a run for their money in the final stanza.
Freshman Jill Aquino had 27 assists and six digs for the Spartans.
Alana Shoff and Cassidy Stephenson combined for 15 kills on 33 swings with zero errors for Appalachian State.
Johnson led NSU with eight kills in the second contest of the day against Radford. The Spartans, though, only hit .096.
The Highlanders (2-0) attacked at a .442 clip with 49 kills in the three-set match. Palmer added 10 digs for the double-double, while teammate Mallory McKnight had the second-most kills on the team with seven.
Norfolk State actually got off to a strong start in the match. The Spartans won three of the first four points and were up 7-3 after kills by Johnson and Forsythe and an error on Radford. They still led by two after a kill from senior Alex Irizarry, but Radford eventually tied it up and then scored five straight for a five-point lead.
NSU got as close as 22-18 after two Highlander errors and a service ace from Irizarry before Radford put the set away.
Palmer had eight kills in the first set and then seven more in the second. A pair of 7-0 runs in that middle stanza was too much for the Spartans to handle. In the third, Radford’s early 11-2 run, followed later by a pair of 4-0 spurts, kept the Highlanders in control as the match came to a close.
Irizarry led NSU with seven digs, while Aquino added 19 assists.
Radford held a sizeable edge in digs, 38-23, and blocks, 7-4.
NSU will play four matches next weekend at the UMES Courtyard Classic beginning on Friday.
Originally Published at nsuspartans.com