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Forward Erin Settle (Mooresville, N.C./Mooresville) was named the Sun Belt Offensive Student-Athlete of the Week for her efforts in the Appalachian State University women’s soccer wins over Northern Kentucky and Davidson, the league announced Tuesday.


“We are very excited and are so grateful for the many people involved in the recovery and rehab of Erin,” head coach Sarah Strickland said. “It took so many individuals to get her healthy and back on the field. It is a true testament to Dr. Ekman, our former athletic trainer Eric Bengtson and her teammates that helped her along this journey, not to mention her strong faith and determination to return to competition.”


The Mountaineers started off the 2016 season with two wins this past week and Settle was a breakout part of them. Returning from an ACL tear that forced her out for all of last season, the redshirt sophomore scored a goal in each of the two opening weekend matchups, including the game-winning goal against Davidson on Sunday. All three of her shots were on goal to make her shot-on-goal percentage 100.


Her goal against Northern Kentucky put the match away 3-1 as Sarah Moon (Cornelius, N.C./W.A. Hough) fed her the ball from the right side to find Settle with an open lane to the net. The game-winner against Davidson came off a strong shot by Emmily Cowie (Davidson, N.C./W.A. Hough) that their goalkeeper couldn’t contain, rebounding out loose to Settle who blasted it home.


Although it’s early in the season, Settle currently ranks tied for first in goals (two) and goals per game (one) and game-winning goals (one) in the league. She’s also tied for fourth in points (four), tied for fourth in points per game (2.00).


The Mountaineers will be on the road for week two of the regular season, this time starting off against High Point on Friday, Aug. 26 at 4 p.m. Then the team moves to take on Radford on Sunday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. Appalachian State’s next home match is against Maryland on Sept. 4 for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

Senior forward Stephen Chapman (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford) was named to the 2016 Sun Belt Preseason All-Conference team, the league announced on Tuesday. Appalachian State men’s soccer also finished fifth in the Sun Belt Preseason Coaches Poll.


“We’re obviously thrilled that Stephen was recognized by the conference,” head coach Jason O’Keefe said. “Last season, he really showed the conference that he was one of its top offensive threats and we’re excited to see where he takes it again this season.”


Chapman was a main part of the attacking force and the most prolific goal-scorer for the Mountaineers last season, finishing the year leading the league in shots (63), shots per game (3.47) and tied for first in game-winning goals (three). The forward was named first-team all-Sun Belt at the end of last season after being named the league’s Offensive Student-Athlete of the Week twice. He was also named to the NSCAA All-Southeast first team.


The senior started 16 of his 18 appearances and led the team in goals (seven), points (15), shots, shots on goal (23) and game-winning goals while also finishing second in the Sun Belt in goals, goals per game (0.41) and finished third in points and points per game (1.24). His season-best effort came against ETSU (Sept. 9) when the Greensboro-native scored two goals off three shots to help Appalachian win.


Last season, the Mountaineers went 8-10-0 (2-3-0 Sun Belt) and made their way into the Sun Belt Tournament as the fourth seed. App State won its first conference tournament match against NJIT in the quarterfinals when the team scored two goals in the second half to win 2-1. In the semifinals, the Mountaineers had to face off against No. 1-ranked Hartwick. In a knockdown-drag out fight from start to finish, Appalachian held its own for 67 minutes before eventually falling on the one goal allowed by one of this year’s conference preseason co-offensive players of the year.


The Mountaineers begin the 2016 regular season Friday, Aug. 26 when they travel to play Cincinnati at 4 p.m. Appalachian then moves on to play at Bowling Green on Sunday, Aug. 28 for a noon kickoff.


2016 Sun Belt Preseason All-Conference Team
Stephen Chapman (Appalachian State, Senior, Forward)
Frantzdy Pierrot (Coastal Carolina, Junior, Forward)
Rashid Alarape (Georgia State, Junior, Forward)
Louis Dargent (Coastal Carolina, Junior, Midfielder)
Thor Sveinbjornsson (Georgia Southern, Junior, Midfielder)
Jack Donaldson (Hartwick, Senior, Midfielder)
Jamie O’Grady (Hartwick, Senior, Midfielder)
Elis Bjornsson (Coastal Carolina, Senior, Defender)
Einar Einarsson (Coastal Carolina, Senior, Defender)
Kit Tregear (Hartwick, Senior, Defender)
Lenny Wilson (Hartwick, Sophomore, Goalkeeper)


2016 Preseason Co-Offensive Players of the Year
Jamie O’Grady (Hartwick, Senior, Midfielder)
Frantzdy Pierrot (Coastal Carolina, Junior, Forward)

2016 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Kit Tregear (Hartwick, Senior, Defender)


2016 Sun Belt Conference Men’s Soccer Preseason Poll (First-Place Votes in Parentheses)
1. Coastal Carolina – 35 points (5)
2. Hartwick – 31 points (1)
3. Georgia State – 23 points
4. Georgia Southern – 17 points
5. Appalachian State – 14 points
6. Howard – 6 points

South Mountain Athletic Conference:
East Burke: 3
Burns: 0


Draughn: 3
Chase: 0


Fred T. Foard: 3
Alexander Central: 0


Maiden: 3
North Gaston: 0


Mt. Tabor: 3
St. Stephens: 1


North Buncombe: 3
Patton: 0


South Caldwell: 3
Bandys: 2


West Iredell: 3
Bunker Hill: 0

Fred T. Foard: 3
Alexander Central: 2


Freedom: 6
Draughn: 0


Hibriten: 5
Avery County: 0


Maiden: 8
North Lincoln: 0


Patton: 5
A.C. Reynolds: 2

Tuesday, 23 August 2016 05:50

Hickory Crawdads Winning Streak Snapped

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The Hickory Crawdads had their four-game win streak snapped with an unusual defeat Monday night in Greensboro, as a 3-3 tie in the ninth inning was snapped on a balk that plated a run for the Grasshoppers resulting in a 4-3 'Dads defeat at NewBridge Bank Park.

The Crawdads and 'Hoppers entered the final frame in a 3-3 tie thanks to a two-run rally by Hickory in the eighth. Greensboro was able to get runners to the corners with two outs against 'Dads reliever Adam Choplick before Crawdads manager Steve Mintz brought in Tyler Ferguson to try to escape the jam and force extra innings. Field umpire Matt Carlyon called a balk on Ferguson one pitch into the next at-bat however, which forced in the runner from third base resulting in the 4-3 final score.

Offense was at a premium through the first half of the game, with an RBI groundout by Carlos Arroyo in the third giving Hickory a 1-0 lead. That score held until the fifth, when the Grasshoppers scored two runs on an RBI single from Casey Soltis and an RBI sacrifice fly by Giovanny Alfonzo to go on top 2-1. The 'Hoppers picked up another tally in the top of the sixth when Justin Twine doubled, Isael Soto singled to right, and Angel Reyes delivered an RBI groundout to push the score to 3-1.

The 'Dads bats were able to rally in the top of the eighth though, with Ti'Quan Forbes plating Josh Altmann on a two-out, RBI double to right before Ricky Valencia tied the game at 3-3 with an RBI base knock to center.

The Crawdads then took the field in the bottom of the ninth hoping to force extra innings. Choplick struck out Zach Sullivan to open the frame, but Soltis followed with an infield single followed by a passed ball by Valencia behind the plate to put the winning run in scoring position. Soltis advanced to third on a groundout for the second out of the inning, before Hickory intentionally walked Mason Davis and brought in Ferguson to pitch to Twine with runners on the corners. Ferguson would never get a chance to escape the inning however, as he was called for a balk prior to his second pitch resulting in the run scoring from third for the 4-3 final.

Choplick (2-2) took the loss for the Crawdads after allowing one run on two hits, three walks, and three strikeouts over his 1.2 innings pitched. Grasshoppers reliever C.J. Robinson (2-1) earned the win despite blowing the save in the eighth, as the right-hander gave up two runs on three hits and one walk during his two innings on the mound.

'Dads starting pitcher Emerson Martinez was given a no-decision despite throwing a career-long seven innings with three runs allowed on five hits, one walk, and five strikeouts.

Altmann finished the night 2-3 with a triple, a hit-by-pitch, a stolen base, and a run scored, while Forbes went 1-2 with an RBI double, two hit-by-pitches, two steals, and a run scored. Valencia also ended the game reaching base three times courtesy of an RBI single, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch.

The Crawdads (29-28/67-60) will now return to Hickory for a six-game homestand beginning Tuesday night at 7:00 pm against the Asheville Tourists.

Appalachian State University volleyball was picked to finish second in the Sun Belt Conference’s East Division, announced by the league office on Monday.

With the addition of Coastal Carolina to the league, the conference has split into two divisions: East and West. Overall, the Mountaineers earned the fourth-most points in the coaches poll.


“With divisional play, it will be interesting to see how the regular season pans out across the conference,” said head coach Matt Ginipro. “We’re excited to get the season started on Friday.”


Coastal Carolina edged Appalachian in the East Division with 70 points, while the Apps topped South Alabama (40 points), Georgia Southern (31 points), Troy (30 points) and Georgia State (24 points).


Defending conference champion Arkansas State earned the most overall points (72) and was picked to win the West Division. Behind the Red Wolves was Texas State (58 points), UT Arlington (45 points), Little Rock (39 points), UL Lafayette (24 points) and UL Monroe (14 points).


The Black and Gold’s returning Sun Belt first-team selection Ashton Gregory (Yadkinville, N.C./Starmount/Furman), was selected to the preseason all-conference team. Last season, Gregory finished third on the team with 312 kills and 3.15 kills per set (eighth in the league). She also led the squad with a .354 hitting percentage – good for second in the conference. The former Southern Conference Player of the Year totaled double-digit kills in 18 matches last season, including a season-high 20 against Iowa State.


“Congrats to Ashton for being named preseason all-conference,” said Ginipro. “I don’t think there’s a doubt that her performance last year earned her a spot on this list of talented players.”


2016 Sun Belt Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll (first-place votes in parentheses)

East Division
1. Coastal Carolina (10) - 70 points
2. Appalachian State (2) - 57 points
3. South Alabama - 40 points
4. Georgia Southern - 31 points
5. Troy - 30 points
6. Georgia State - 24 points

West Division
1. Arkansas State (12) - 72 points
2. Texas State - 58 points
3. UT Arlington - 45 points
4. Little Rock - 39 points
5. UL Lafayette - 24 points
6. UL Monroe - 14 points

The Hickory Crawdads battled through a lengthy rain delay and a barrage of singles by the hometown Greensboro Grasshoppers Sunday afternoon, but more than four hours after first pitch the 'Dads emerged with a 3-2 victory over the 'Hoppers at NewBridge Bank Park.

The Grasshoppers were the aggressor over the first five frames of the night, as they took a 1-0 lead and out-hit the Crawdads 8-2. The 'Dads tied the game at 1-1 in the sixth shortly before the rain started, resulting in a 1:38 minute delay. Hickory then took the lead with a run in the top of the seventh and plated another tally in the top of the eighth before the road team held on for a 3-2 win and a fourth straight victory overall.

Greensboro jumped out to a quick lead with a run in the first inning against Crawdads starter Wes Benjamin, as Aaron Blanton delivered a two-out, RBI single to right for a 1-0 'Hoppers advantage. The score remained the same all the way until the sixth, when the 'Dads were able to tie the game at 1-1 on a double by Frandy De La Rosa and a two-out, RBI single from Tyler Sanchez.

The Hickory hitters picked up right where they left off in the seventh following the long rain delay, as Ti'Quan Forbes reached second base on an infield single and a throwing error by Greensboro second baseman Mason Davis before Chuck Moorman came through with an RBI base knock to right for a 2-1 Crawdads lead. The 'Dads scored their final run in the top of the eighth, when De La Rosa drew a one-out walk, LeDarious Clark singled to center, and Sanchez delivered his second RBI single of the game to put Hickory on top 3-1.

The 'Hoppers continued to battle though, with Greensboro scoring an unearned run on a bases loaded, RBI walk in the bottom of the eighth to cut the score to 3-2. Crawdads reliever Peter Fairbanks was able to work out of the jam and leave the bases loaded in the eighth however, before he ended the game on a lineout double play for the 3-2 Hickory victory.

'Dads reliever Christian Torres (2-2) earned the win with one scoreless inning out of the bullpen, while Fairbanks (1) recorded his first career save after allowing one unearned run on two hits, one walk, and three strikeouts over three innings pitched.

Greensboro reliever Marcus Crescentini (2-3) took the loss with two runs allowed, one earned, on five hits, one walk, and two strikeouts during his 1.1 IP.

Sanchez led the Hickory hitters with a 3-4 game including two RBI, while De La Rosa finished 1-2 with a double, a walk, a hit-by-pitch, and two runs scored.

The Crawdads (29-27/67-59) will go for the four-game series sweep over the Grasshoppers (26-29/64-61) Monday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Junior Erin Settle (Mooresville, N.C./Mooresville) blasted home a goal off a rebounded shot by sophomore Emmily Cowie (Davidson, N.C./W. A. Hough) to push Appalachian State University women’s soccer past Davidson 1-0 on Sunday afternoon.

“Today was a great win against an incredible Davidson team,” head coach Sarah Strickland said. “We overcame a lot of pressure and with a couple huge breakaway saves by Sam Steyl and a phenomenal goal from Jane [Cline] to Emmily [Cowie] to Erin [Settle] we got the result. This is an incredible group of young women and I am so blessed to be part of it.”

In a defensive battle that totaled 24 total shots, 13 shots on goal for 12 saves, the Mountaineers continued their strong start to the 2016 season, improving to 2-0. It’s the first time since 1999 that Appalachian has started the year 2-0.

Leading the Mountaineers attack was Jane Cline (Cornelius, N.C./Cornelius) and Morgan Mosack (Charlotte, N.C./Providence Day School) who each had four shots each. Cline finished with three shots on goal, while Mosack had one. Appalachian continued its attack by committee strategy by having six student-athletes get at least one shot. Settle, Cowie and Sarah Peatross (Winston-Salem, N.C./Mount Tabor) also had a shot on goal.

Appalachian once again shot a high volume of shots but had it dip slightly due to tough defense by the Wildcats. Where the Mountaineers did hold the advantage was in the set piece opportunities off corner kicks where they held a 7-3 advantage.

Junior Sam Steyl (Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell) improved to 2-0 as well, playing a full 90 minutes in the net for Appalachian and making some spectacular saves to allow the Mountaineers to win. Getting her second shutout in as many matches, Steyl so far has proven to be a dominant last line of the defense for Appalachian.

Davidson’s (0-2) Alex Carpenter played the entire match as well, putting up six saves with the one goal allowed in the intense goalkeeper matchup.

The Mountaineers will continue their four-match road trip on Friday, Aug. 28 when they go to take on High Point at 4 p.m. Appalachian will then travel to play Radford on Sunday, Aug. 28. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

A strong offensive outing by junior Taylor Cimbalist (Virginia Beach, Va./First Colonial) catapulted the Appalachian State field hockey team over the Limestone College Saints 4-0 on a rainy Sunday afternoon at the Brandon & Erica M Adcock Field Hockey Stadium.


“I was excited with how Taylor performed today,” said head coach Meghan Dawson about her junior midfielder. “ She understands the game really well and she provided a ton of leadership on the field, especially with having so many younger freshman on the field for the first time.”


The first half was saturated with back-and-forth possessions until Appalachian State jumped onto the board in the 31st minute. Cimbalist charged into the circle and smacked the ball into the net to give App State the 1-0 lead. Three minutes later, Cimbalist would score again, this time receiving a sharp pass from Savanna Sheridan (Hertford, N.C./First Colonial) to end the half up by two.


The beginning of the second half mirrored that of the first with many back-and-forth possessions between the two field hockey squads.


With five minutes left until the final buzzer, Cimbalist exploded again by slamming the ball past the goal line to score her third goal of the afternoon. Soon thereafter, Julia Wenz (Bayern, Germany/Stadtisches Louis-Schroeder Gymnasium) dished a great cross pass to Sheridan who tapped the ball into the net to end the match 4-0.


At the end of regulation, each team endured in five mock-shootout rounds where the Mountaineers came out victorious. Appalachian connected four shots and Limestone could only strike one.


Goalkeeper Rachel Gaines (Kettering, Ohio/Kettering Fairmont (Ohio State)) did not see a lot of action at the goal line during regulation thanks to the great defensive performance executed by the Black and Gold. Gaines deflected one shot on goal in the first period and totaled 70:00 minutes.

In the mock-shootout round, Gaines challenged each Limestone player and produced four amazing saves.


The Mountaineers consistently provided a strong presence against Limestone’s three goalies. In total, Appalachian outshot Limestone 31-1 with 14-1 shots on goals.


Appalachian State will open up the 2016 season with a home game against MAC foe Ball State at the Brandon and Erica M Adcock Field Hokey Stadium at 3pm on Friday.

Appalachian State University men’s soccer used a first-half goal by senior Stephen Chapman (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford) to defeat High Point 1-0 in its final preseason exhibition on Saturday evening.

“Tonight was another learning opportunity on the road against a very talented High Point team, which challenged us and asked questions of us all night long even down a man,” head coach Jason O’Keefe said. “I was very pleased to get a shutout in the end as we worked hard all night. The shutout is a true team stat. We need to improve in many other areas this week to get ready for our season opener at Cincinnati on Friday.”

Despite the Panthers holding the shots advantage 13-7, the Mountaineers were able to defend the net better, having five saves on the night. In the goal for App State was sophomore Jake Chasteen (Blowing Rock, N.C./Watauga), senior Jaron Bradley (Davidson, N.C./Hough (UNC Asheville)) and junior Mitch Kilmer (Frisco, Texas/Frisco (St. Mary’s)). Chasteen played the most minutes at 60:42 and led the team with three saves. Bradley played 15:25 and had one save, while Kilmer came in to finish the last 13:53 of the match, having one save as well.

The eventual game-winning goal came in the 24th minute when sophomore Daniel Avila (Smithfield, N.C./Smithfield-Selma) fired a pass from the top of the box to Chapman, who was 10 yards out. Chapman only needed one touch and the goal was scored, giving Appalachian the 1-0 lead.

With only seven total shots on the evening, senior Jordan Melia (Manchester, England/Rivington & Blackrod) and Chapman carried the attacking load for the Mountaineers, keeping the pressure whenever possible on the Panthers’ defense. Melia had two shots total and one on goal, while Chapman had four shots total with two on goal. Newcomer junior Andrew Goodman (Largo, Fla./Seminole (Cape Fear Community)) also had a shot to round out the attack from Appalachian.


The match was mostly a defensive showdown between the two teams, fought mainly at the middle of the field. Only a combined 20 shots, 10 corners and seven saves between Appalachian and High Point. The Mountaineers depth at the goalkeeper position and the middle through back positions allowed them to edge out the Panthers.

Once again, Appalachian was able to go deep into its bench to provide energy on the field and allowed for an unwavering intensity. The Black and Gold played 20 student-athletes over the course of the match and were able to not falter through the different rotations.

The Mountaineers will now head into the regular season with five road matches to start the 2016 season. First up is a trip to play Cincinnati on Friday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. Appalachian will then go onto to play at Bowling Green on Sunday, Aug. 28. Kickoff for that game is scheduled for noon.

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