Zupan making impact at Western Carolina; local athletes playing college soccer, volleyball

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While the college football season may get most of the attention during the fall as compared to some of the other collegiate level sports, you can’t take away the effort and dedication individuals are giving day in and day out with several local athletes making strides in soccer and volleyball.

Freshman Alyssa Zupan had a big week for the Western Carolina Catamounts volleyball team, who snapped a six-game losing streak Friday night in a 3-1 win over the Citadel.  Zupan had 11 kills on 32 swings with just one error, while also picking up five blocks. She had six kills in the match against East Tennessee State on Oct. 14, and led the Catamounts with 13 kills on 21 attacks, while committing two errors for a .524 attack percentage against Samford University on Oct. 10.

Aylssa Zupan. Photo courtesy- Western Carolina Athletics
Alyssa Zupan. Photo courtesy- Western Carolina Athletics

The former Hoggard High School standout is climbing up the stat column for Western Carolina as of late, second on the team in kills (174) and third on the team in sets played (87).

Across the Western Carolina campus, classmate Sayres McKenna (Hoggard) and sophomore Alexa Frankeny (Hoggard) have helped guide the women’s soccer team to a 6-6-2 overall record. McKenna has five total assists and one goal after setting up Kasey Cooke for a score in a 2-0 result on Oct. 9. The freshman has started 14 of 15 matches this season, while Frankeny has made 14 starts, tallying one assist for the Catamounts.

In Boone, Wilmington has a pair of local players competing in volleyball and soccer for Appalachian State. Freshman Ian Bennett (New Hanover) has seen action in 11 games this season, with one goal and one assist.

The Mountaineers’ volleyball team defeated Georgia State on Saturday 3-1 to remain unbeaten at 8-0 in the Sun Belt Conference, while improving to 15-4 overall on an 11-match winning streak. Sophomore Cassidy Stephenson had four kills in the result.

In 48 sets played this season, Stephenson is fifth on the team in kills (70) and second on the team in blocks (33).

Ryan Kawczynski (Laney) has logged over 1,000 minutes for the Queens University of Charlotte soccer team this fall, while volleyball players Jillian Born (Laney) and Brandi Thomas (Ashley) continue to see action at Lenoir-Rhyne. Carlie Smith (Topsail) has also been a key contributor to the Francis Marion volleyball team and sits third on the team in kills (194). Chelsea Frankeny (Hoggard) is rounding out her college career on the women’s soccer team at Charleston Southern.