When the clock struck midnight on Wednesday, the 2018 Appalachian State volleyball season officially began. The Mountaineers had two practices on Wednesday, marking the start of a new season.
App State held an intra squad scrimmage at midnight to begin the new season. The Gold team, which consisted of Sydney Farthing, Sydney Hinds, Grace Kinsch, Anna Kincaid, Lexi Kohut, Grace Morrison, Becky Porter, Kara Spicer and Victoria Wilform posted a five-set victory over the Black team. After the scrimmage, Appalachian came together for an afternoon practice, focusing on serve returns, defense and attacking. Appalachian will continue to put in the work ahead of a scrimmage at Wake Forest on Aug. 17 and the season opener versus The Citadel at the UNC Asheville Tournament on Aug. 24.
Head Coach Matt Ginipro on the First Day
"I think we are at a great point after the first day. Last night was awesome. The kids showed off how hard they worked all summer and it was high energy and high execution for our first practice. This is a great group with a lot of pieces filled. Our setting is outstanding and our left side attack is going to be pretty strong. We are strong across the board and can play with a lot of different lineups."
Ginipro on the Trip to Lake Hickory
"Last year, we decided to go to Lake Norman. We went down there and trained at a volleyball club in Charlotte. We spent about five days there and practiced in the mornings, had lunch and enjoyed the lake and had team building events in the evening. That time we spent together proved to be valuable and we wanted to do it again this year. We couldn't find a place at Lake Norman, but found two great people who are helping us out at Lake Hickory. It's going to be very exciting and great for the team."
The Black and Gold welcome back nine players from last season's squad. The Mountaineers' top three leaders in kills last season all return in outside hitter Lexi Kohut (351), All-Sun Belt honoree and outside hitter Melissa McMath (342) and middle blocker Kara Spicer (299). Defensively, the Mountaineers welcome back three defensive specialists that registered over 200 digs last season in Emma Reilly (406), Sydney Farthing (265) and Sydney Hinds (204).
McMath on the First Day
"It was really great. Everyone came out and played hard and the game and pace was much faster than I expected. Last night at midnight, everyone was tired, but we just went for it and it was fun."
McMath on the Excitement of a New Season
"We all feel really good. This is the first time we have had everyone healthy. We have a young team with a lot of freshman that came in, but they are ready to go. As they continue to get adjusted, we will only keep getting better."
In addition to the nine returners, App State welcomes eight new student-athletes to the program. The group of newcomers features seven true freshman and one transfer from N.C. State in setter Becky Porter. The other newcomers include middle hitter Daryn Armstrong, middle blocker Amya Giger, middle hitter Anna Kincaid, defensive specialist Grace Kinsch, setter Jana Owens, defensive specialist Holli Smith and left side Victoria Wilform. In all, six of the newest members of the team hail from North Carolina, with Owens from Kansas and Wilform from South Carolina.
The Mountaineers will continue practices for the remainder of the week in Boone, before departing on Sunday to Lake Hickory for off campus training. Appalachian will scrimmage Wake Forest on Aug. 17 and open the season on Aug. 24 at the UNC Asheville Invitational against The Citadel.